Saturday, September 4, 2010
Living as a New Creation
I hear people say that the old ways are the best ways. This generalization is seldom true. I don’t like the old ways that computers worked as much as I like the new ways. I don’t like the old ways of getting information from newspapers, tv and radio alone as much as I like getting it from the internet which allows anyone to report.
This is true in my relationship with Christ. I think often of the things I did before I came to Christ. I know I am forgiven but I am ashamed of these acts of sin. I can’t change them. I can accept forgiveness.
I think I misunderstand my life as an improvement rather than something new. I can remain in my shame if I am an improved model of something that is flawed. I can’t own my shame if I have been made into a new creation. I am not that person any more. I have been changed by the presence of Christ. I think differently. I act differently. I have a different heart. My mind has been renewed. I understand spiritual things. I bear little resemblance to the person I was before.
Sometimes it seems as if those sins are calling to me. They are either shaming me or trying to lure me back to repeat them. They seem comfortable from the outside. This is because I carry the memory of what I was with me. My memory does not make me who I am. It tells me who I was. It remembers things with nostalgia so that I remember things better than they were. It forgets the slavery and remembers the security of Egypt just like the Israelites in the desert. They remembered things much differently from what they once were. They wanted security more than they wanted the insecurity of walking with God. This thought always longs to bring me back to what I was.
Yet, that would be the ultimate failure. I am not the same person. I would not fit in the world I once lived in. I would be disappointed in myself. I have tasted the goodness of the Lord. Only the abandonment of my faith would allow me to continue in my former self. I would have to cut off the friends, church and other spiritual activities in order to go back to what I was. I can’t help but believe that I would know the truth but seek to live in a lie for the sake of sin. I really don’t think I could live that way.
However, I see people who seem to have gone back to what they once were. I wonder if they were ever truly made new or if they just got so close that they said the same things as believers. They tasted His goodness but never truly made the commitment to it. They walked so closely to the Lord that they appeared to be with Him. They were somewhat like Judas. They may not have betrayed Jesus to be crucified but they betrayed Him when they went back to their former life.
That is not becoming a new creature. It is an improvement that doesn’t last. Heaven doesn’t have merely improved individuals. The inhabitants of heaven have been changed. They have been made new. They cannot go back to what they were even if they commit the same acts.
I must always remember that I have been made new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.