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A Chance to Change

Andria Mae Arandilla is a BSED second-year student at Central Philippine Adventist College and she desires to learn more about writing.

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The world is getting so dark; it is full of sinful people, people who choose to do what is wrong rather than what is right. People engaging in criminal and unethical behaviour are never absent when we watch the news on television, listen to the radio, or even when we read the newspaper. Perhaps we will also hear in our neighbourhood about a husband who has violated his wife again, or an uncle who robs others, or a group of friends who are drunk and get into physical fights, or someone who is in and out of prison due to serious illegal charges. Did it come to your mind if these people were going to change? Is there a chance that they will come to know and choose Jesus?

GOD’S LOVE

Christ died not only for pastors, missionaries, the faithful, and the holy, but for all of us, including those we identified as criminals, robbers, drunkards, and addicts. In short, God came to earth to die for all of us; no one is excluded because we are all his children, he loves us, and he wants what is best for us.

God gave us freedom of choice; he does not want us to be forced to love him back, but rather to love Him for who He is; unfortunately, that freedom of choice has been abused by many. People who choose to sin, who choose the world over him, but the good news is that it is not too late, character change is still possible, there is still hope for them, and Christ can do it through the Holy Spirit.

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE

The characters in the Bible, like us, are not perfect; they have flaws and a past, and this is one of the evidences that change is possible.

We all know one of God's most well-known apostles, Paul, who was once Saul of Tarsus, is one of the witnesses that transformation is possible in a person even if some may believe it is impossible due to his or her background and past.

Just like Paul, one of the early church's persecutors, who tries to kill people he sees worshipping Jesus and imprisons people for their faith.

Who would imagine that a persecutor would become a preacher? Who would expect that a person who has the power to kill will become an apostle, and who would hope that a person whose mouth is full of treats will be spreading the gospel?

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Only God can create amazing things for his children. He is a God of love and chance. He has a plan for all his children. He will find ways for them to bring them back onto the right path.

He will use different and amazing methods and instruments for the lost to be found because it is the happiness of the father to see his lost child come back home.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

If you have a dark past, it doesn't matter to God anymore the time that you have received and accepted him, because for him you are a new creation and he will forget your past. What matters is the now, the present. Like Saul, Paul began his new life, a life with Christ, at the time he was given the name Paul.

Change of heart

What’s in our hearts will be seen and be the result of our actions. If our hearts are rotten and sinful, then so are our deeds. Changing is never easy and never will be, especially if we depend on ourselves. In Ezekiel 36:26 it says, "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you." Only God can give us a new heart and put a new spirit within us, and it means if we have a new heart, we will have a new purpose in life, a purpose to choose what is right, to choose Jesus, to serve him, to glorify him, and to live for him.

The question that needs to be answered is, how can God give us a new heart? How can he put a right and new spirit into our polluted souls?

We must invite and welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives. John 16:13 says, "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth".

When the Holy Spirit lives within us, we will realize how sinful we are, and in that way, we will ask for forgiveness for our sins and repent. After heartily repentance, God can renew us. He can give us a new heart that will lead us to choose to live righteously and to seek heavenly things.

Chance

We should not lose hope for those people we know that are still wandering around in the world right now. There is still time for them to know Jesus, or if it is us, we still have time to follow Jesus. Our God of Chances is our Heavenly Father who is still looking after his sinful and lost people to find their way back home. He is already opening the door and waiting for us to step in. He is now spreading his arms widely looking forward to embracing us.

God is a God of chance because he always has room for forgiveness. According to 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." That is how merciful he is. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

© 2022 Andria Mae Arandilla

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