Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)
As we emerge from winter, we enjoy seeing everything come back to life. The trees sprout leaves, the flowers blossom, and the grass turns green. What once appeared to be completely dead, reemerges from its winter slumber in all of its glorious splendor. If we didn’t know better we would think that God is bringing forth new life for the first time. However, we have experienced the seasons. We know that as winter approaches, all of nature falls into a death like state. However, we know that it will only last until Spring. Spring is a time of new creation, the bringing forth of something new, from what appears to be dead. This is a beautiful picture of what God does in a human life when a person commits their life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This month we will explore the different aspects of the new creation we become when we accept Jesus Christ.
If Anyone –
The Gospel is not limited to a select few. It is for everyone. All races, ethnicities, nations, and countries fall under the gracious offer of salvation in Jesus Christ. We are not to limit the Gospel’s reach based on our own biases and prejudices. We as Christians are to cultivate a “giving” and “going” mindset so that the message of salvation in Jesus can be heard throughout the world. This will prepare the way for our Lord’s return. Jesus said, “…this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness TO ALL the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14)
Is In Christ –
Christ is the focal point of the Gospel message because he is the crucified God. He is “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8) “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) The Scriptures make it exceedingly clear that salvation is to be found in Christ and Christ alone. In a world of religions, Christ is unique. Not only did Christ die for our sins, he also was raised again from the dead. No other religious leader in the history of the world can come close to matching those feats!
He is a New Creation –
Something miraculous does in fact occur when someone accepts Christ as Lord and Savior. We have heard it described as being “born again”. At the moment of salvation, God implants the seeds of eternal life within a person’s heart and life. The Holy Spirit brings about a clear understanding and application of the Gospel to the individual receiving salvation. God takes away our heart of stone and gives us a living heart that is flexible and open to His will. Day by day, we are cleansed, renewed, and sanctified. We follow Christ in baptism, and in so doing, reenact the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. In so doing, we are declaring that we have died to sin as a principle of living and are now living obediently for Christ.
Old Things Have Passed Away –
A person who has made the decision to follow Christ should never be the same again. Christ died so that our lives can be transformed. He did not die to leave us in our sins. We should be making daily progress in acquiring Christ-like character and practical holiness. A Christian, though, is by no means perfect. We still have a sinful nature lurking within that does not easily give up its claim on us. When a person comes to Christ, the battle lines are drawn. In one corner is the old sinful nature, which gains its power from the fallen world, the sinful nature, and the Devil. In the other corner is the Holy Spirit who has sealed you as a child of God. Spiritual growth occurs as we submit ourselves to the Spirit and the Word in a loving fellowship of believers called the church.
Behold, All Things Have Become New –
You may not feel like you are becoming new. We all experience setbacks. We fall into old patterns of thinking and living. Christianity can be messy business, but don’t be too quick to give up. The same Lord who died for you, sent the Holy Spirit to live within you to enable you to grow spiritually and do the will of the Lord. Keep moving forward. When you fall, get back up. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When you fall into sin, confess them to Jesus and turn from them, but then move forward. You see, Christianity is fundamentally a message of amazing, undeserved Grace. God understands your weakness and wants you to stay in the fight!
Pressing forward together with you in this wonderful journey.