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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Everything Changes When You Become a Christian

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

There are many scriptures that I have read often but have failed to grasp the full meaning. Each time I read them something new is revealed. And so it is with 2 Corinthians 5:17.

I wanted this scripture to say that my relationship with Christ changes how I act all the time. I wanted it to say that I was incapable of acting like the person I was before I knew Christ. I wanted this scripture to stand alone as the proof of my transformation into a totally new being who stood for Christ. The result was failure in my ability to perform up to the standard of that scripture.

The first phrase which changed my thinking was "in Christ." That has come to mean a great deal more to me than formerly. I understand it to mean that I have identified with Christ so strongly that He is not only in me but I am in Him. I understand it to represent the covenant relationship we have. I understand it to be like a symphony in which I play my instrument in accord with the conductor. I am a part of the music but not the only part and can no longer play without direction.

Of course, I always focused on "new creation" but failed to understand it. This was my hangup. This creation is instantaneous but is not fully realized instantly. For instance, I married my wife in a ceremony over thirty-six years ago. I went in as her fiance. I left as her husband. I was changed completely because my relationship changed me. I had new responsibilities and a new way of acting that I did not have before. I could have walked away from her before the ceremony without legal ramifications. I could have chosen to forget her financial needs before the wedding. I could have back out of the relationship. That changed after the ceremony. I had new privileges and responsibilities that changed me from the inside out.

I learned how to be a better husband as time went on but my relationship with her did not change. I was and am her husband. I have been made into a new creation in a sense. What was there before was gone. I could not indiscriminately hang out with the guys. I could not think anymore without thinking of her needs.

My wife has never forced me to do these things. I did them because I love her and have a marital relationship with her. I just do them. I can't imagine doing anything else.

Have I ever messed up? Of course! I have done things that have hurt her and made her angry. I have done them because of my selfishness. I have regretted them and have apologized. I want the relationship to be whole.

Everything changes when you become a Christian. You are no longer able to be the person you were before. You can act like you are but it only causes you pain because you have hurt the One you love. You have been changed so much because you have become a new creation. The old desires don't fade away but they no longer provide enjoyment.

Say it to yourself: "I am in Christ. I am a new creation. The old things before Christ that gave me pleasure will not give me pleasure anymore. The new has come!"

2 comments: said...

This you said, You can act like you are but it only causes you pain because you have hurt the One you love. , is interesting, and is worth thinking about.

Perhaps, it is NOT on becoming a Christian, we no longer is able to do the things we formerly did (we surely is able to, not impossible),  but it is such things would pain us in a new way, for we have come into a new love relation between God and us.  Before entry into salvation, it is God loving us, but there is no love relationship, for we have NOT loved back.  It hurts BOTH us and God, for it hurts when there is a relation underpinning.

Isn't it true, when we truly have recognized there is a relation, we will feel pain/hurt when we do an unkind or wrongful act against "the someone".  If you think about it, in many places, in NT scriptures, the underlying thread has been that there is a relation that God wanted us to see and embrace.  

For example, talk of the body/church is telling us, we are in the relation of being brethren.

When we embrace Christianity, we embrace God as the Creator of us, men, making us, believers, and the non-believers, in the relation of being fellow pinnacle creation of God, and so, we ought to love fellow men, even when they are non-believers. 

Isn't it true, the one who easily does unkind or wrongful act against another, he does NOT recognize a relation with the person, or that he does not value the relation much.  Only when we recognize a relation and place importance in it, that we would consider putting ourselves in the shoes of the other person.  The call to love our neighbors as ourselves, is in the same light. 

When we come into salvation, we come into the realization, alignment and embracing of God ordained relations.  And the thread through the relations, is love unto righteousness ('ahab love). 

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Deb Willbefree said...

Loved this analogy and will be revisiting it. As usual, perfect timing. Deb