Ephesians 4:17-24, 2 Corinthians 5:17
Carl Belcher considers the importance of becoming a new creation.
'So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.' (Ephesians 4:17-24)
Every now and then, we may find ourselves looking at our reflection in the mirror and asking, "Just who am I really?" Often the answer to that question can be, "I just don't know."
The root cause of this, is mainly that the world projects onto us expectations that to 'be' someone you have to achieve something, or be or look a certain way. The world and religion says WHAT you do determines WHO you are and your status. If you succeed, then you are successful. If you fail then you are a failure. So we end up chasing after success, in order to impress, or be accepted.
But the gospel says WHO you are determines WHAT you do. If you know who you are in Christ, then that determines the way you live.
We don't live a certain way to get God's approval, (that's going back to the 'what we do' = 'who we are' mistake). Instead, we are identified in Christ through grace alone, through faith alone and the finished work of Jesus.
'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.' (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Notice that this encouragement to the Corinthian church says, 'He IS a new creation' and not, 'He SHOULD be a new creation.'
The difference between religion and the gospel of Jesus Christ is that religion says we need to be better, but the gospel says we need to be new. We don't need to improve who we are, we need to have that part killed and be brought to life in Christ!
As one of my favourite authors C.S. Lewis perfectly put it, 'Jesus is not seeking nice men, He is seeking new men.'
God it not looking for a tweak to the old life, but a new life with Jesus, for Jesus and in obedience to Jesus.
If you are in Christ, then you are new. So, my question to you today is are you new?
The amazing reality about the gospel is that it isn't a list of do's, (do this and do that), to be right before God. It's a list of done's. Jesus has already made the way for us to be forgiven, made whole and live the life we were created to live. The first three chapters of Ephesians are about our identity, but the next two chapters are about how we live now that we have a new identity. Paul says, if you're new, don't live like you're still dead.
Have you been living in the do's? Caught up in thinking you need to please God, rather than live out of the identity of being in Christ who has done it all?
My prayer for you is that as you surrender yourself to God, you may hear who He says you are echoing through every part of your mind, body and spirit.
You are a new creation.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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