Making a Difference By Beginning a New Life
By Dr. Tom Walker
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Since we are living in perilous times, we need some people who can make a difference in this sinful and wicked time in which we find ourselves.
Everything in the spiritual realm begins with personal salvation. There are several things we know about salvation from the Scriptures. Let me give you some of what the Bible reveals about our personal redemption.
It is a free gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” “Grace” is God giving man what he does not deserve or merit, while “mercy” is God holding back what mankind actually deserves. It is clearly evident that God delights in mercy because Micah 7:18 says, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy.”
It is a satisfying gift. Psalms 107:9 reminds us, “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” The word “satisfieth” has this meaning: it is something satisfies you; it gives you something that you want or need. Since there is so little satisfaction found among people today, that makes satisfaction a rare and important matter. Too many folks today are failing to be satisfied since they are looking in the wrong places for what will not satisfy their longing soul.
It is a permanent gift. Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The only life God offers to the believing sinner is “eternal” life; He has no temporal life to offer in the spiritual realm. One day the believer may die physically, but since he has eternal life, he cannot die spiritually. What a precious and wonderful salvation we received from a generous and loving God! We are going to take a few minutes to think about what becomes new according to 2 Corinthians 5:17.
New Position- In Christ
The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ.” It would help us greatly and thoroughly bless us if we understand what it means to be in Christ.
It involves how God sees us. We need to remember how God looks at us. Since we have believers, He sees us clothed in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember in the Garden of Eden how our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned against the Lord. As a result of that sin, God clothed them in animal skins, which is a picture of Christ shedding His atoning blood at Calvary so we might be freed and released from our sin (Genesis 3:21). Animal skins were provided for Adam and Eve after they had sinned. God has made provision to set all sinners free who would come to Him for release and forgiveness from them.
It also involves what we have done with the Gospel. Christ made salvation possible for all men who would repent and believe (Jn. 3:16). He makes an offer of salvation and gives every man a degree of light who comes into the world. John 1:8-9 reveals: “He (John) was not that Light but was sent to bear witness of that Light (Jesus). That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Every person born into this world is given a degree of light. What he does with it will be determined by how much additional light a person receives. The more light you respond favorably to, the more you are given. We either receive Christ or reject Him; man does have a choice in the matter.
It involves a switch. Suddenly, when we were born again, we were hidden in the righteousness of Christ. It is only when we are in Christ that the sin debt we had is canceled, our relationship with God is restored, and our eternity is secured. John 20:31 declares, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
New Person in Christ
Notice the words “a new creature.” The word for “creature” is also translated in our KJV as “creation”. “Creature is translated creation in five verses in our New Testament (Mk. 10:6; Mk.13:19; Rom.1:20; Rom. 8:22; 2 Peter 3:4; Rev.3:14). In each instance, it speaks of the creation of the creating ability of God. Fabricating and founding in original form is what is expressed.
Twice in the Bible, there is a reference to a “new man”. Ephesians 4:24 commands us: “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” It is God when we are born from above that creates a new man and a new nature inside of us. Due to what God does within us, it should not surprise us that we take on a whole new person. The old person is still there, but there is a new man created by God on the inside, producing heavenly, godly desires in us.
The other reference to the new man is found in Colossians 3:10 where the Bible says, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” The new believer has a new man to put on (the new self). The new self is constantly being renewed (present-continual tense) in order to keep it victorious over sin. The new self was created to be like God. We become more and more like the Lord as our new natures are refreshed, as we yield to the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost.
III. New Passings In Christ
Note the words “Old things are passed away.” What do those five words suggest to us?
The words “passed away” means go away or to go by. What has passed away in the one who receives new life from Christ?
Old thoughts have passed away. I am not saying we never have evil thoughts, but they are not welcome to stay in the life of a true child of God. We do not submit to them like we did before our conversion. We are told what to think about in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” What you think will determine what your life will become.
Old principles have passed away. As new creatures, we have principles that govern our lives that are so much different than before we were saved. To accurately define a principle, we know it is a basic rule about what is right and morally good. Our values drastically change when we receive a divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). For instance, the Apostle Paul, before he met Christ on the Damascus Road, had no problem with persecuting Christians. He even delivered them to their deaths. Values changed after he met Jesus and he began to love those whom he once hated. He poured out his life to propagate the Gospel of Christ that he once hated.
Old companions have passed away. Instead of running with people who would tear down our faith if they could, our companions become people who love the Lord and His Word. Due to the change in Paul’s life, his companions became Gentiles who loved the Lord. Paul felt like David as seen in Psalms 119:63: “I am a companion of all them that fear thee and of them that keep thy precepts.” That is exactly how Paul the Apostle felt.
Old aims have passed away. Once we really know the Lord. We aim to do all we do to the glory of God. Paul said, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Before conversion, we lived to gratify ourselves instead of glorifying God.
Since the old things have passed away, new practices have entered into our lives. What was not true of us before our salvation experience, is true of us now. We love the church and want to attend it; we love the Bible and want to study and obey it; we love sinners and want to see them saved; we love the Lord and want to wholly follow Him.
If you make a difference in this ungodly society, that will begin at the time of your salvation, after you have repented of your sin and trusted Christ as your personal Savior.