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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New Life

22 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;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

The Christian life is a completely new kind of life. It’s not just the old life dressed up a bit where the regenerate believer– poor sinner that you still are – must spend your time and effort trying to be good so you can become something you're not. It’s a whole new kind of life that grows out of the fact that God really has done something wonderful for you in Christ. He's really saved you out of your old life of sin, and brought you to a whole new life in Christ. That old person you used to be is gone forever (2 Cor 5:17) He or she died with Christ, and by the power of His resurrection, a new life has risen to take place of the old. Romans 6:5-11 says it this way:

5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

(and then the pay off verse....)

11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Now that's the truth about the person who is born again through the supernatural grace at work in the Gospel. You are a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). You've died with Christ to your old life and have been raised up with Him to walk in a completely new life.

For that reason, the Bible constantly commands us to consciously take up the new life we have been given "in Him."

"Be who you are!” is God’s command to the Christian; not “Try to become something you’re not!” The Christian doesn’t pretend to be holy. He or she really is holy in Christ -- set apart by Him and for Him to live for His glory. My goal in life now is to live out the truth of what God has done for me in Christ. That means that I am being truest to my (new) self when I’m walking with Jesus and living in His holiness to the glory of God, confessing my sins when I do stumble while being renewed day by day through His power at work in me.

That’s why the apostle commands us, in Ephesians 4, to do three things. Notice how these go together

1) He says, “Put off your old self.”
You’re no longer that person you used to be. So just like you would throw away an old pair of jeans that are full of holes and no longer fit, take off that old life and throw it away. It no longer fits who you are in Christ. (See Ephesians 4:17-24)

2) He says, “Get a new attitude about yourself.”
Let the Bible (not the world) tell you who you are and teach you how to live. Believe what God says is true of you in Christ, and then act on it. (see Romans 12:1-2)

3) “Put on your new self” which is your “true self” in Christ.
Begin to live and act like someone who really does belong to God; who really has been redeemed by Christ; and really is indwelt with the Holy Spirit of Grace. Why? Because all that's really true, if you've been born again by the power of the Gospel and brought to faith in Christ.

It is through these “baby steps” -- as you set your mind on being what God really has made you in Christ -- that you begin to see the power of this new life at work in you. Through faith in Christ and what Christ has actually done (both objectively on the cross and subjectively in our lives), you and I are being equipped to live out the life that is truly ours because of Him!

Loving the journey as we learn what it means to walk together with Him!

Pastor Scott Lee