Summary: From 2 Corinthians 5:17 we discover that we are not just spruced up sinners, but we are actually new creations in every way. The old is gone and the new has come.
Walk as a New Creation (Our Spiritual Walk #7)
Happy New Year! 2014 is on its way out – and 2015 is fast approaching. How many of you have already chosen your New Year’s Resolutions? I found a list of the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014: (According to a study at the University of Scranton)
10 Spend More Time with Family
9 Fall in Love
8 Help Others in Their Dreams
7 Quit Smoking
6 Learn Something Exciting
5 Stay Fit and Healthy
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
3 Spend Less, Save More
2 Get Organized
1 Lose Weight
That same study said that … while about 50% of the population makes New Year’s resolutions … after 6 months, less than less than 10% have kept them!
Today we’re going to talk about an on-going resolution that every Christian needs to make every day … Walk as a New Creation! God’s Word tell us that so many things become new when we begin to follow Christ … but no list is enough to contain the magnitude of the change.
It’s not just things ABOUT us that change --- WE ourselves have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is a good verse to sum it up: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Some folks think of their faith in Christ as something new that gets added into their life. “Everything I used to be remains, but add in Sunday-morning church attendance and some Bible-reading and so on.” But the scripture says that we, ourselves, are made entirely new (a new creation) and that the old has gone.
1. The OLD has gone
So, what, exactly, IS the OLD that is gone? Here’s a short list of some specific things that are part of the OLD self.
• sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, idolatry; anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language (Colossians 3)
• foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures (Titus 3)
• gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. (Ephesians 2)
These 3 sections of scripture are addressing Christians about “the way you used to live,” or “the way you used to be.” These lists describe the OLD that has been put to death. These are habits of behavior, but they go deeper than just actions. These are actions that come from the attitudes of the deepest self … from underlying selfishness and greed that makes people a slave to their own passions. For Christians, these OLD attitudes and actions have been put to death.
A beautiful explanation of this is found in Romans chapter 6. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
Christian Baptism represents our complete identification with Christ in His death and in His resurrection. For the first century Jews, this was a new meaning to a familiar ceremony. For many years, Jews practiced a form of baptism for proselytes to the Jewish faith. If a non-Jewish person wanted to declare their allegiance to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they submitted to baptism. When they came up out of the water, they were looked upon as “new men” in the eyes of the Jewish assembly. They had left behind the false gods of their former life and took on a new, Jewish, identity.
For the Christians of the first century, baptism represented a change that was more than merely changing religion or national identity. Romans 6 explains that the physical act of baptism symbolizes a very real spiritual transformation. We are baptized into his death … in other words, we die with (or IN) Him. His death is applied to us. This means our old mortal SELF has been consigned to the grave. The old is gone and the new has come.
2. The NEW has come
As we come up out of the water, we join Christ in his resurrection. “…like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Jesus came out of the grave as a NEW CREATION. He had shed his mortality. We join with Him in this resurrection to a NEW life.
This is more than a change in outward behaviors. It’s a change in our spiritual identity. Something that was dead in us has been brought to life. To understand this, let’s go all the way back to the beginning … in other words, to Genesis.
Genesis 2 gives a poetic retelling of the creation of man. Verse 7 says, Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. The words for “breath” and “spirit” are often interchangeable in scripture. We see from the beginning that the human SPIRIT gets its LIFE from God’s Spirit. We were created to live in connection with God’s Holy Spirit. Without that connection, we are spiritually dead.