Before and After
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...". Romans 3:23
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48
Between those two verses lies the plan of salvation, the true gospel. From sinner to saint, fallen to risen, the plan of salvation is a method of redemption, recovery and renewal. The Bible presents the eight steps the Christian must travel to attain the perfect life of Christ. It is this system, this plan, that keeps us perfect.
The life of Christ,
the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, shows us the Way to that perfect, sinless life. From the beginning of sin to the end of sin, the Bible reveals just how we can reach the perfect, sinless character of Jesus.
This Bible study is an attempt to guide a person through the biblical process of transforming the nature of man from sinner to saint. It is intended for use by those who are sick and tired of the old life they are living. If sin, and the life you are now living is hurting you and bringing grief to you and those you love, this Bible study is for you. If you are ready to change your life so you can receive all the blessings that God wants for you, now is the time. "No good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Psalm 84:11.
As with any instructional manual, you will get the most from these Bible studies when you cooperate with it and work the different sections that require your input and effort. You will only get out of it what you put into it. The more you put into it, the more you receive out. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men...". Colossians 3:23.
The writer of these Bible studies understands the sinfulness of sin. He has experienced firsthand the pain and suffering that sin endows to its recipients. The writer owned his own business and had a family with four wonderful children. Sin took it all away.
The writer has also experienced the truth
of scripture that says we can be new creatures. A new creature who no longer lives the old, sinful life; but the new life of Jesus. By believing the scripture, "...work out your salvation with fear and trembling," the writer learned to work out the life that God wanted him to live. All this through the power of Jesus and through faith in "God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." Philippians 2:12, 13
If you feel helpless to change your life, chained by circumstances and habits to a life of slavery and sin, I invite you to follow the path Jesus walked, and break the bondage that weighs you down. God is love! His plan does work.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
If you are using a good Bible you will want to keep and use for your studies and for giving Bible studies on what you have learned, please be very careful in marking in it.
Bringing a mind that is awake,
ready to think critically, will also be of great value. We will be mining for gold and precious information. Be prepared to dig deep. Set aside four hours a day, one hour in the morning, one hour at lunch, one hour at supper and one hour before bed to dig and mine in God’s Word. “Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord.” Isaiah 1:18. God is waiting anxiously for your intellectual communication.
The eight steps we will use in these Bible studies are the eight steps found in the book of 2nd Peter. Peter puts in order this step-by-step process of salvation. The other writers of scripture use portions of the eight steps as needed for their specific concepts. But Peter lays them down, step by step, in the order of sequence for the Christian growth.
As you travel through
these Bible studies gaining ever-increasing insight, think about what you are learning. Put your beliefs to the test of God’s Word and watch your spiritual life grow.
In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” Why salt? Because salt is a cleanser. It is used to both preserve and to cleanse. If you have a wound, you put salt on it to clean it and heal it. That is what this book is. It cleanses your wounds of sin and preserves your eternal life.
But remember, salt stings when you rub it into a wound. So will this Bible study. If you are not mature enough to accept the cleansing of Jesus in your life, don’t begin this Bible study.
"To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to Me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The Word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it." Jeremiah 6:10.
I pray that is not you, but that you will listen carefully to what you are about to read and study.
· Do you consider yourself in need of God’s training and instruction?
· What sins, habits and injurious activities would you like to change in your life?
· Who have you hurt through your sinful life?
· What texts were used in this section?
· What were the main points of each text?
do these points help you in understanding
1 Kings 8:47-50
47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, `We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly'; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy;
2 Chronicles 6:38, 39
38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.
9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent
Job 33:9, 25
9 `I am pure and without sin; I am clean and free from guilt...
25 then his flesh is renewed like a child's; it is restored as in the days of his youth.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong,
5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.
21 Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old
26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
13 " `Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.
23 They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.
3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2 Corinthians 4:16
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
1 John 3:9
9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
1 John 5:18
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.