Recently, I came across a Latin phrase—non sum qualis eram—which means “I am not as I was” or “I am not what I used to be.”
In reality, every Christian should be able to say, non sum qualis eram. When an individual is regenerated by the power of the Word and the Spirit (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23), “he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then he is expected to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24), and “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4c).
Everyone who is in Christ becomes “a new creature” (cf. Galatians 6:15). The word “new” (Greek: kainos) means new in quality, not just in sequence. Hence, a Christian has a qualitatively different life from his past. A transformation of life does occur when one is regenerated as a child of God. His “old man is crucified with him (Christ), that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6). A Christian would, from then onwards, “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:22-23; cf. Colossians 3:9-10).
The transformation wrought by the new birth is not only an instantaneous spiritual miracle, but also entails a lifelong process of sanctification. In the life a Christian, extensive changes will happen – old beliefs, ideas, values, plans, loves, desires, etc. will be replaced by the new spiritual realities that accompany salvation. God plants new perspectives, desires, loves, inclinations and truths in His redeemed child. Though he lives in the same body with all its sinful propensities, a new aspiration and pursuit (which are after the righteousness of God) begin to thrust him forward (cf. Galatians 6:14). He will also be daily nourished and established by the truths and providential working of God through the Spirit, so that he may live a life that constantly separates him from sin and ungodliness while conforming him to the image of Jesus Christ. His ignorant, darkened, carnal, defiled, materialistic and hardened pre-conversion life is now enlightened, sanctified and loving. Though he once pursued wickedness and sin, he now follows after righteousness and holiness. Hence, constantly being changed, he can say, “I am not what I used to be.”
Every Christian will be changed daily because he desires to be more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Perfection in this life will always be a goal, never an achievement. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). A Christian knows that he is far from being perfect. So, he eagerly pursues perfection with all his might. The Christian life is a lifelong process of spiritual growth. Hence the commandment to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
As Paul testifies, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14). Christ-likeness is the prize that every Christian must pursue. He looks forward to tomorrow with the desire and assurance that with God’s help, he shall be more like his Master.
Let us therefore press on, knowing that everyday we shall be gradually molded to become more Christ-like, till we see Him face to face. Paul affirms so: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The apostle John also agrees: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
Greeting and Report from Rev. Reggor Galarpe
Blessed New Year to you!
By God’s grace, we are pressing on in the work of the ministry in this brand new year.
Yesterday (6th Jan), we had our 2nd-semester opening of GBI. The Lord has encouraged us by sending new students to study. There’s one from Cavite City (near Manila) who arrived early morning of last Sunday. He was referred to us by Dr Jose Lagapa. He is from a Bible-Baptist church, but is willing to study Reformed Theology and Calvinism.
Then another brother, also from a Bible-Baptist Church here in Cebu, enrolled for a few subjects. For some time, he has been attending our prayer meeting and worship service with his wife. And to my surprise, he came yesterday for the Prayer and Registration, and enrolled for a few subjects. Add to it, the missionary/preacher of True Life BPC in Trinidad, Bohol also enrolled, taking a few subjects. Our two brothers from Bukidnon (Johnnyrey and Warly) had arrived safely yesterday morning, just in time for the opening. Praise God!
All in, we have 17 students being enrolled this semester, 4 of whom are full-time.
Pastor, as I think about it, it’s no doubt the Lord’s way of encouraging us to press on with the ministry of GBI. I could see that Eld. Eliezer Ortega, Pr. Edsel and Dn Samuel were also encouraged to see this development. Praise God!
I am sending you a photo taken after the registration. On Eld. Eli’s side is our brother Kenneth Guillas from Cavite City, and next to him is Greluz Damos (both Bible-Baptists). Next to Pr. Edsel is Pr Rodolfo Gayon (True Life BPC Missionary in Trinidad, Bohol). Except for Sis. Juvy, the sisters are studying part-time. Please do continue to include us in prayer.
Lastly, thank you very much for the support and blessings received. Kindly extend our greetings and thanks to all our brethren for their prayers and support.
All glory to God!