"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)
One of my favorite events to serve at is Water Baptism where people make a public declaration of their personal decision to follow Jesus. As pastors, we have the honor of walking them through the significance of baptism and have the joy of reminding them that because of the work of Jesus Christ they are a new creation. He has removed the old...the old habits, the old attitudes, and the old desires of the flesh...and made them new. To see the joy they experience as they realize they are completely forgiven and completely new is something that always blesses my heart. This amazing experience came to mind as I read 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Paul reminds the people of Corinth that because of the work of Jesus on the cross and His victory over death He now offers them the gifts of forgiveness, eternity, and a new life. The Gospel Truth that you are completely forgiven AND completely freed from the old AND made new are works that only God can do, and He has done them in you! Thank You Jesus! It’s also important to know that this work is done within us and it is done “with” us. You see, when Jesus makes us new we don’t instantly become perfect. His work was done, yet we still have to choose to live as a new creation. We have to choose to align our thoughts, our choices, and our actions to this new identity, this new perspective, and this new purpose. The passing of the old doesn’t guarantee perfection, but it does pave the way for it.
Today, may this reminder of being made new bring a fresh joy and gratitude for Jesus’ work, and may it cause you to examine if you are living in this newness.
So how are you doing at living as a new creation? Do the old habits still sneak up from time to time? Do the old temptations still get you every now and then?
Being a new creation means that you are changed AND you continue to be changed. Don’t get discouraged! Rather, continually submit yourself to God, and re-submit as needed. Receive the gift of being new, and re-receive the gift as needed. And then choose...choose to live in the newness by choosing to live for Him. Avoid the old places of sin, control the old attitudes of self, tame the old emotions of your flesh, and discover the joy of being a new creation.
Jesus, thank You! Thank You for Your forgiveness, and thank You that You have made us new. Help us to choose to live as new each moment, and when we stumble help us to quickly return that we might experience the joy of living as a new creation in You and for You. In Your name, Amen!