2Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
I memorized this scripture reference early on in my Christian walk. It was a verse that helped me to see that my old life was dead and buried with Christ and my new life has been resurrected with Him. Recently I have been challenged to re-visit this verse several times and study what it means to truly have my old life pass away and my new life before me.
To have my old life pass away doesn't simply mean to now try to live a good wholesome life. It means I am freed from the bondage of sin and legalism and all those things that the devil tempts me with and I now live in Grace. I have the freedom and strength to say, "not today Satan! I am a new man in Christ." Living the old life on many occassions brings personal pleasures that are tempting to the flesh and sometimes the temptation is too much for our flesh to resist. But we have been freed in Christ through the Holy Spirit to resist the temptations and live righteous through Christ.
Though often times we will stumble, there is forgiveness to those who turn and repent. God is a just and loving Father who always welcomes His children back into relationship with Him. Repentance and forgiveness of sins is such an awesome gift. I have been reading through much of the Old Testament over the past several months and am so grateful for the cross. Jesus took our sin and defeated it on the cross so we don't have to bear the punishment ourselves. He is our propitiation for sin. (Can I get an amen!)
But this verse is far more than my old life being dead and buried. It is also about my new life being born again in Christ. My old life was centered around me and what made me feel good. My new life is now centered around God and pleasing Him. A God-centered life where I can live in the Spirit and be in constant fellowship with Him. I now have the mind of Christ which allows me to not desire the things of the flesh. (1Co 2:16) I have Christ living in me (Gal 2:20) and now I live by faith in the Son of God.
Being a new creation in Christ is not a one time event. It is a lifelong process of surrendering our life to Him and learning to walk in the spirit each and every day. To do that we need to desire the things of God rather than the things of the world. Walking in the newness of life (Rom 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.) as to please Him.
Being a new creation and being united with Christ should cause us to look at the way we are living our life. If we are allowing sin to have dominion over us then we are living in the flesh and missing out on the spiritual blessing of being a new creation. Here are just a few things one can do to keep close to the Savior and be assured that they are walking in the spirit rather than walking in the flesh.
- Read the Word of God
- Listen to the Word of God
- Meditate on the Word of God
- Find a quiet place to pray
- Fellowship with other believer's
If you aren't sure where to begin, below are some resources to get you started.
- The ESV online Bible has daily reading plans that can help out every believer. http://www.esvonline.org It also has audio so you can listen along as you read God's word.
- Another great Bible resource is the Blue Letter Bible. http://www.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm
- Want to go deeper? Try the BLB Institute. Free online Bible School to help you go deeper in your studies. http://www.blbi.org/
- More free Christian online studies can be found here. http://rbc.christiancourses.com/
- If your church doesn't have MP3's you can download and put on you MP3 player then try out this link. http://www.sermonaudio.com/main.asp There are thousands of free sermons you can listen to throughout the day and hear God's Word rather than the latest sport scores or talk radio.
- Daily devotionals help you get close to God by reading encouraging words from godly men and women. Many can be found here http://www.backtothebible.org/index.php/Devotions.html
- MP3 Sermons, conferences, articles, free books, and more are available from Desiring God. http://desiringgod.org/resource-library
- Are you into reading the classics? Then Christian Classics is the place to go. http://www.ccel.org/
- Bible study software for your computer that is free. http://www.e-sword.net/index.html
The entire purpose of providing these resources is so we can become closer to the Savior every day. Filling our time with television, secular radio, movies, and trashy novels will never give us the mind of Christ. I encourage you today to start a reading program that gets you into the Word, listening to the Word, and changing your life habits so that you can have victory in all things through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May you become that new creation God so richly desires for you to be.