AbstractThe concept of inner change is not only the ultimate goal of counselling; it is also a central concept of the gospel. Biblical counselling entails a Scriptural understanding of the nature of change and aims at helping the counsellee change his/her inner life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Change is the essence of the process of sanctification, entailing “putting off” (laying off) sinful ways of life, renewing the mind, and ”putting on” (“clothing” oneself) with godly ways of life (Eph. 4:22 ff.; Col. 3:8 ff.; Rom. 12:1-2). Although believers have a new identity in Christ, they still suffer from the effect of sin and have to grow in sanctification. Often the believer has not been instructed about changing previous irrational and unbiblical beliefs, behaviour, and habits, and he/she thus still integrates these negative results of sin into his/her new life. Unless old patterns are replaced with new ones, the counsellee can revert to sinful habits, unbiblical beliefs and behavioural patterns. A pastoral counsellor thus needs to teach the counsellee that God has made provision for him/her to change. A worldly anthropology-psychology is entirely opposed to the Biblical doctrines of sin and sanctification. Effective Biblical counselling depends on a Biblical anthropology and world view. A Biblical counsellor should promote holiness and a lifestyle in accordance with Biblical guidelines, thus shaping the counsellee to the likeness of Jesus Christ. When a Biblical counsellor ministers the Word of God in a life-transforming way, then God himself changes the counsellee from the inside out. A counsellor may not ignore sin and its effect as it will limit the effectiveness of counselling in facilitating lasting change in the life of a counsellee. It is important that a Biblical counseller understands the nature of change and is equipped with knowledge about, and the character of change.
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