Tag Archives: new creation

Starting over

This means that anlightstock_1665_small_user_3963721yone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! -2 Cor. 5:17 (NLT)

What does it mean to start over? Every year, around this time, millions of people resolve to change certain aspects of their lives. Some succeed, many fail. Most resolutions fall short because there was no commitment to real life change. Goals without real resolve don’t produce movement or real transformation.

I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions. It’s always seemed to me that if I really wanted to change something about my life, I shouldn’t wait until a certain time of year to do it. The time is now! I get why people do it, though. The start of a new year on the calendar signifies a new beginning, a chance to start over. That’s a great time to make some choices towards a better life. There’s a much better chance to start over, though.

God’s Word says that when we place our trust in Jesus, He forgives us, cleanses us from our sins, adopts us into His family, and gives us a new identity. We get a chance to not only begin a new year, but begin a whole new life. The slate is not just wiped clean, the slate is gone completely. Our identity is not what it once was. Our identity is now in Christ. I’ll dig deeper into that idea as we go on. It’s important.

Starting over is a choice. I became a new person when I was saved, but only after I made a decision to embrace my new identity did I see revolutionary growth in my life. Maybe that’s you right now. Maybe you’re like me. You crossed the line of faith, and you’re forgiven, but you’re not seeing some of the expectations you had coming true for you. For me, that brought a lot of confusion and made me question my conversion. I hope that this one-year journey we’re going to take together puts to rest any doubts you have about your salvation.

Decide today to start over with the new life you’ve been given. Even if you’ve been saved for years, it’s not too late. Take the first step in the journey of discipleship and do as the disciples did when Jesus bid them, “Follow me.” This new life is from Him, for Him, and about Him. It’s a wild ride, and it’s all worth it.

Trade in your heart for a new one

Ephesians 4:17-19 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

The new birth that comes with following Jesus brings with it a certain transformation. The Bible speaks in many places of the new life, the new self. We are made a new creation after salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and the old is made new. We have received a heart transplant as well:And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

It’s only because we’ve received a heart of flesh, one that’s moved toward God instead of being hardened to Him, that we are even capable of maturing and doing His will.  But why do we so often act as though we’re still a hard-hearted nonbeliever? Why do we act as if our lives haven’t been transformed, insisting on living out our old ways?

The Apostle Paul says that those without God act with hard hearts towards Him because they’re ignorant. They don’t know yet of His love and they don’t know Him intimately. But we do! We who have been called and adopted into His family as His very own children know that He is good and we know how to follow Him. So, we ought to do it. We ought to live like the new creations we are, who are being conformed into what God created us to be.

If you haven’t traded in your heart of stone for a heart of flesh, take the step. Do it now. If you have, act like the child of God that you are. Live according to His purpose for you. Give yourself to Him. It’s such a better life than the one you left behind.

Romans: Make War

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

 It is once again reiterated in this verse of Romans 8 that living in the flesh means death and living in the Spirit means life.  You have to ask yourself then; how can I make sure I’m living in the Spirit?

The Apostle Paul uses an interesting phrase here by saying “put to death the deeds of the body” and you will live.  How can we put the deeds of our own bodies to death?  How can we cease to live according to the flesh, which is such so easy to find ourselves doing?  We can’t just say we’re living for God, we have to walk in His ways.  It’s not a one time choice, it’s a daily matter of picking up our cross and following Him.

Contrary to popular view, the Christian life is not promised to be easy or painless.  In fact, it can be more painful than living in sin.  Each and every day of a Christian’s life, he or she must choose to make war against the nature of the human.  To live according to the Spirit is a choice that results in help and guidance from the Lord, but it also must mean we consciously make war against the sinful flesh we live in.  We want to do this, but we should do that.  We shouldn’t do this, but we’re inclined to do just that.  It’s a fight, but it’s not one we wage alone.

God is on our side.  Nothing else can come up against us and win.  Make war on the flesh.  Choose to live according to the Spirit.

Romans: We are not debtors to the flesh

Romans 8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

It may seem, as we read Romans 8, that Paul drones on a bit about the same thing.  You’re not dead in your sin anymore once you’re in Christ.  If the Holy Spirit dwells in you, you’re not dead any more, but alive in Christ. Flesh is death, Christ is life.

Yet, even as the chapter goes on, Paul digs in even more on the issue – it must be important.  The new life that begins with salvation means the end of the old life.  We often agree with that intellectually, but don’t embrace it in reality.  Paul probably faced the same thing with his original audience and he emphasized once again that in your new life you’re not a slave to sin.  It doesn’t own you anymore.

Christian, get it.  You don’t have to give in to all the things that call your name.  You don’t belong to them, you belong to the King of Kings.  Yes, of course we’ll all still sin because we’re flawed and broken.  But that doesn’t mean we have an excuse to live like we did before we became a new creation.  You don’t owe anything to your old life.  Leave it in the past and put on Christ.