Once you’re saved, you can start enjoying many of the benefits immediately. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) If you have Jesus, the kingdom of God has already entered you. You can begin living in the continual heaven of His love, peace, and joy right here and now!
You can also expect some pretty big changes in your- self! You’ll be a “new creation” in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Don’t be surprised if you actually feel different, think differently, view the world differently, and are happier than you have ever been before. “I have come that you may have life,” Jesus said, “and that you may have it more abundantly.” (3 John 10:10)
You may not be totally different, at least not right away, but you’ll soon notice a change in your spirit, in your thoughts, and in the direction your life is going. As you begin to get your answers and spiritual strength from the Lord and His Word, things you may never even have dreamed of will become possible, and with His help, you will now be able to overcome bad habits and personal weaknesses that you never seemed to be able to before.
Of course, how much you change and how quickly you grow as a Christian depends largely on how much you desire to change, how much you apply yourself to learning more about the Lord and His plan for your life, and how far you are willing to go with Him. It depends on whether you realize you need Him and His help, and ask Him for it. He says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” (Matthew 5:6) but those who are self-satisfied and don’t want His help go away empty-handed. (Luke 1:53)
What you do with this gift is up to you. A computer makes a good analogy. Suppose two people are given new computers with all the same hardware and startup programs. You would expect their computers to benefit them equally, right? Not necessarily! One person may only bother to learn the very basics and use the computer occasionally for a few simple tasks, while the other may really study the program manuals, keep adding new soft- ware, use the computer to its full capacity, and reap its full benefits. Which will it be for you?
No matter how good you are, God can make you better!
It’s not possible for you to change your own heart, but it is possible for God to change you by the miracle-working power of His Spirit. He’ll do things you can’t do!
This is what it means to be “born again” in the Spirit and to become a “new creation” in Christ Jesus, with old things having passed away and all things having become new. (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17) His coming into your life not only renews and purifies and regenerates your spirit, but it also renews your mind, breaking old connections and reflexes, and gradually rebuilding and rewiring it into a whole new computer system with a wonderful new way of looking at the world and new reactions to nearly every-thing around you. (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2)
It’s impossible for you to make such a change as this yourself. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Some changes are instantaneous, others take a while. But if you’re saved, you’ll be changed, because God changes people!—D.B.B.