Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Awaken to Renewal
The 2020 Awakening!
Terry R. Baughman
“According to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6 NKJV).
God loves people more than we do! In His divine favor and mercy He has extended the opportunity for salvation to everyone in the world. As John recorded, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). If He went to such great lengths to save us, why would He fail to restore and renew the fallen who had once received His grace?
God’s incredible plan of salvation spans the generations and His provision is without limits. Paul wrote that we, “being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend … what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” (Ephesians 3:17–19). It is only when we experience His love that we can begin to comprehend the dimension of His grace; then we can begin to know that which surpasses knowledge!
When we were sinners Christ died for us, so why is it so hard to accept His love when we have fallen short and given in to sin? (See Romans 5:8.) It was to believers that John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This assures us that even as believers we will fail; we may falter and fall, but God is faithful to forgive. Grace is the gift of God and it is freely given. Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Grace is not just for our initial experience of salvation, but continually embraced throughout our journey of life. We need His grace to save us and to sustain us until the day we are in His presence.
The message of grace does not condone sin and excuse our failings, but true grace lifts us from condemnation and enables us to become victorious over our sins. The Spirit of God works in us to transform us through the renewing of our minds. The renewal is part of God’s amazing work of transformation. The thinking of the world demands conformity, but the power of God transforms our thinking in alignment with His perfect will. Paul challenged us, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” He said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
The thrill of salvation and the joy in the New Birth experience is often assigned to new converts freshly touched by God’s grace and set free from the bondage of sin. However, the same ecstasy can be felt in the experience of renewal. The load of our own making can be just as burdensome as the sin we once carried. Our guilt, our shortcomings, our failings, and even our sin can become an overwhelming weight. There is hope in a fresh experience of forgiveness and radical relief in renewal. Awaken to grace. Accept His forgiveness and favor. Rejoice in the renewal of His Holy Spirit and walk forward in faith!
“Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).