Summary: The salvation provided in Jesus Christ makes us a new creation and provides for us a life transformed by the power of God. #1 in a 4-part series.
Title: Becoming A New Creation
Series: New Beginnings for the New Year
Text: 2 Corinthians 5:12-21
Introduction: The Power Of The Gospel
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation” Romans 1:16).
People want to change. All advertising is based on the presupposition that people want things different from the way they are. They want to look better, feel better, think better, and live better. They want to change their lives but, except from an external standpoint, they are unable to do so.
Only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to change people and deliver them from sin, from Satan, from judgment, from death, and from hell. Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” And that name is Jesus Christ.
So God’s Word, which is all about Jesus Christ, can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We are sinful and unable to remedy our condition, but from God comes the incredible, limitless power that can transform our lives. (MacArthur, J. “Truth for Today : A Daily Touch of God’s Grace.” Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman, 2001. Page 12.)
Note: All those who profess to know Christ speak of salvation, but many know little else. But the Scriptures speak of a change that takes place in an individual when they are saved; a change that is so dramatic that it simply cannot be explained. It is the kind of change that makes a drunk sober, a drug addict clean, and a prostitute pure.
Understanding this, it is little wonder why so Christ speaks of so many who profess salvation, but never possess salvation. No one can encounter the living Christ, experience the change that He alone makes possible, and be the same person they were before.
Today I will either encourage you, or challenge you. If you truly know Christ in salvation, you will be encouraged to understand all the implications that salvation brings. If you are, however, a professor and not a possessor, you will be challenged to the very core of your religious beliefs. Religion has never taken anyone to heaven. Only genuine salvation in Christ will accomplish that.
I. I AM A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Illustration: Futile Renovations
London businessman Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs.
Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash around the interior.
As he showed a prospective buyer the property, Clegg took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage.
“Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said. “When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site.
Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we become God’s, the old life is over (2 Cor. 5:17).
He makes all things new. All he wants is the site and the permission to build. (Ian L. Wilson. Cited online at http://www.bible.org.)
A. I Am Indwelt By The Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9-11
1. My whole being, nature, life, and behavior have changed because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 3:4-9)
2. I was dead in trespasses and sins, but now I have been made alive. (Ephesians 2:1)
B. I Am Circumcised “Without Hands.” (Colossians 2:11-15)
Illustration: Surgery for the “New Born”
Several years ago an orthopedic surgeon performed an operation on my son to repair a torn ACL. The operation didn’t restore his knee to its original condition, but it did allow him to walk, even though he still experiences pain from time to time.
Recently my wife had surgery to remove a ruptured disk in her back. Once again it was successful, but she, too, was not restored to her original condition. She was spared much of the pain she was experiencing, but her back will never again be like new.
Then it was my turn to have surgery. I tore the meniscus in my left knee, and part of it had to be removed. Yet again a successful operation alleviated the pain I was experiencing. But my knee will never be what it once was.
There was another operation, however, that was performed on me that was “without hands.” It was a spiritual operation performed by God the moment I was saved. I was sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) and made alive (Ephesians 2:1), being raised with Christ through faith (Colossians 2:12). I put off the body of the sins of the flesh (Colossians 2:11), and have been forgiven of all my trespasses (Colossians 2:13). This operation no doctor can perform. It can be experienced only by submitting to Jesus Christ in faith. This is the “new birth,” and it didn’t make me better, it made me an entirely “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).