Transformation to resurrection
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40.2
Hearing this morning about a drug-dealing criminal whose life was turned around when a former gang member invited him to church, brings home how finding faith really does amount to starting life afresh. It's a foretaste of the ultimate resurrection which all believers who put their trust in Jesus are guaranteed. The fact that it starts during this life, when a "lost soul" is restored, confirms Jesus mission to initiate this New Creation with his first coming. It builds our confidence in his promise to return and complete the process by reconciling heaven itself and earth.
While the change may be revealed in particularly vivid colours when it takes a person from one extreme to the other, less striking testimonies of conversion are no less real or significant. No one is perfect and therefore everyone has reason to fear judgment by God who is holy. To be reclothed in the righteousness of Jesus is, therefore, what we all need and, for all of us, it is the difference between salvation and condemnation, heaven and hell.
If any doubts linger in your own mind, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit, confess your sin and then confirm your rescue by making Psalm 40 your own "song of praise", giving God glory for his faithfulness and mercy. The change may be instant and dramatic or it may be a slow grind. Yet come it will and at whichever pace conforms with your need and God's purposes. In addition you can - indeed you should - pray for those you love and for those you don't because God delights to answer prayers which conform with his good intentions for the world and its inhabitants.