“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As a former drug addict and criminal, I know that there are several programs, institutions, and even religions that strive to work rehabilitation or reformation in the lives of those who are struggling. The success rates of these establishments fluctuate to such a degree that it is hard to tell if the people coming out of them are going to remain “on the right path.”
The problem with rehabilitation or reformation is that their aim is to bring something or someone back to a former capacity, rank, or right. They may even work to make them better by the removal of faults or habits. However, the original product or person remains much the same as before. It can be easily recognized for what it once was, only now slightly better.
When an athlete is injured and has to go through rehabilitation, he works to return to his former state of ability, perhaps even to slightly surpass it. But, when his rehab is complete, none of his fans have trouble recognizing who he is, because he is in the same condition he was in before the injury.
As Christians, we have not been rehabilitated or reformed, but reborn. Once we have been with “the Healer,” Jesus, an unmistakable transformation occurs. We become a completely new and different creature. We become like Christ.
Our change is not merely on the outside through the removal of flaws and bad habits. We are not simply undergoing a change of location or status. Everything about us, to the root of our being, changes into the image and character of Christ.
When we have been with Jesus, people don’t even need to ask or wonder, they know we have been changed.
“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. (2) And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;” (Acts 3:1-2)
In Acts Chapter 3, we see the power of a life that has been transformed through Christ. The lame man that lay daily at the Beautiful gate to beg, was lame from birth. This speaks of his physical deformity, but spiritually we are all lame from birth:
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalms 51:5)
“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psalms 58:3)
When the lame man saw Peter and John about to go into the Temple, he asked them for money. This man had a serious problem and believed that if he could beg for enough money, his problem could be dealt with, if only for one more day. He was seeking a solution without knowing what to look for.
You may know someone similar in your own life, a drug addict, or alcoholic maybe. They know they have a problem; and they believe if they can talk you into giving them just a few more dollars to get a “quick fix,” then they will be ok.
“And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.” (Acts 3:4)
The lame man was looking for money, but Peter had to get his attention and direct his focus toward his true need.
“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6)
Christians should present Christ to the lost. That is all we have that can truly help them.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” (Acts 3:7)
Peter told the lame man to rise up; then he helped him rise up by extending a helping hand. The Christian should not only tell the lost about Jesus, but lead them with love to the healing of salvation. (See Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 10:13-15; Ezekiel 33:7-9.)
“And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. (9) And all the people saw him walking and praising God: (10) And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.” (Acts 3:8-10)
People should see a drastic change in the life of the saved man. His testimony opens the door for more converts (Acts 4:4). In verses 12-16 of Acts Chapter 3, we see that Peter gave all the credit for the lame man’s healing to God, giving Him the glory.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
The question is, “Have you been with Jesus?” Can people look at your life and see the transforming Power of God? Do they see a person, who was once spiritually lame, now leaping for joy and praising God?
If you have been with Jesus, then there is no question as to whether or not you will remain “on the right path.” God’s success rate is 100 percent. There is no fear of going back or of relapsing.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ… But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 10:39)
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14, 16)