Thursday, January 17, 2013

You Are a New Creation in Christ

"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 the biggest challenges of life as a Christian is when we still find ourselves struggling with the same sins year after year. There begins to set in this gnawing question: "If I'm STILL struggling like this... am I even a Christian?"

Our gut reaction is to freak, and renew our commitment to fight harder. "Okay, I need to STOP ______. Why do I keep failing? I need to repent and grow in this area. More accountability, more Scripture, more books, more fighting." The problem is that this approach..... doesn't work. We've got things backwards! We've been duped into believing that our new actions are what give us a new identity. But the gospel says that it's our new identity that causes us to have new actions.

Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that those who are in Christ are new creatures. "The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." This teaching is all over the Bible! Jesus, speaking with Nicodemus, explains in John 3 how those who are in Christ are born AGAIN. They are new people! And God prophecies hundreds of years before Christ through Ezekiel in chapter 36 that He will give His people a NEW heart made of flesh and not of stubborn stone. New hearts! New affections and motivations and loves. A new identity. Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians that they had new identities. After listing off a laundry list of sins they used to do, he boldly proclaims "...And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11) YES!! Such WERE some of you. But not anymore! You were washed, sanctified, justified. You have a new identity in Christ.

Here's the challenge: Believe that you are a new creation in Christ. Here are three practical applications for what that looks like in your life:
  1. You Have a New Identity: You are no longer the porn addict, the arguing jerk, the girl obsessed with her body image, the depressed cutter, the outcast loser. You have a new God-given label! Beloved. Precious. Redeemed. Adopted. Justified. Accepted. Approved in Christ. So be defiant! Laugh at your feelings. This new identity is true NO MATTER WHAT YOU FEEL. Shout it to yourself. Tattoo it on your body. Write it in your Facebook profile. Use it to introduce yourself. 
  2. You Have a New Power: The best the world can offer for life-change is to work really hard at behaviors, and THEN you might be able to remake a new identity. But God gives us a new identity by GRACE, and that makes our behavior change. So what's our power? The gospel, not will-power. So walk in that power, walk with swagger and confidence in the Holy Spirit at work in you. You have been set free by the VERY power that raised Christ from the dead. You now walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Rejoice!
  3. You Have New Actions: Because of your new heart, new identity, and new desires, you will have new actions. How can you not? You've been completely remade in Christ! Start studying the Word to see what kind of new actions those in Christ have. Colossians 3 is a great place to start. Start using your body and mind and emotions for righteousness (Romans 6). It's almost like being given a superpower like flying or telekinesis or shooting flames out of your eyes. Wouldn't you be excited to start doing those fun new actions? In Christ, we have the Holy Spirit, and He is infinitely more useful and powerful than all the superpowers in the world. 
The old sinful person is dead. The new person in Christ has been reborn. Your sin is nailed to the cross, and is breathing out its last. A new day has dawned, and you have been raised to new life in Christ. Walk in it, Christian.

New in Christ,
The Relentless Fight

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