“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
These words were written by the Apostle Paul.
If you know anything about Paul you know he was once a persecutor of the Church of Christ. He went from town to town arresting Christians, possibly even murdering some. He says in Acts 22:4:
“I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,”
Acts 22:4 NKJV
But God had other plans for Paul. As Paul traveled to Damascus with orders from the high priest to arrest Christians there, he had an encounter with the Risen Lord that radically changed him and the trajectory of his life.
Paul went from a persecutor of Jesus to a proclaimer of Jesus. He had been made new. Paul’s old life of sin and selfishness; the life with murderous attitudes of hate was instantly changed.
Where there had once been hate, there was now love.
Where there had once been unbelief, there was now belief.
Where there had once been pride, there was now humility.
Where there had once been strict obedience to human traditions, there was now submissive obedience to God’s Spirit.
Paul had been made new.
A new heart.
A new mind.
A new belief system.
A new attitude.
A new Spirit within.
The Amplified Version states that Paul had been “reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit” because there had been a “spiritual awakening” in his life.
Travel back with me to high school English. Re- is a prefix. A prefix appears at the beginning of a word to give it a new meaning. The prefix re-means back or again.
Now, what is a spiritual awakening?
To awaken means to rouse from sleep.
Before we become a Christian through belief in Christ Jesus we are asleep in our sin. The Bible refers to this as being dead in our sin.
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.”
Colossians 2:13 NLT
When we realize the depravity of our souls, the depth of our sin, and our need to be saved from ourselves; we begin to awaken to the truth of God. Our spirit begins to listen to the wooing of His Spirit and we call out for salvation. This spiritual awakening shifts our mindset and gives us the mind of Christ.
Now remember the meaning of re-; back or again. Accepting Christ as our Savior puts us back in our original state of being innocent before God through the shed blood of Jesus. God places His Spirit within us and we are made a new creation.
Here are four ways we are made new:
1) We are given a new mind with new attitudes.
When we accept Christ as Savior we exchange our mind, corrupted by sin, with His mind.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:
“Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 2:15-16 NLT
What does the mind of Christ look like?
Jesus thought of others before Himself.
Jesus thought about the coming Kingdom of God.
Jesus thought about serving rather than being served.
Jesus had the attitude of humility and selflessness.
Being made new gives us the mind of Christ enabling us to think God’s way.
2) We are given a new heart.
When we accept Christ as Savior our stubborn, unresponsive heart is exchanged for a tender, responsive heart.
The prophet Ezekiel spoke for God when he said:
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Ezekiel 36:26 NLT
What does our new heart look like?
We are compassionate toward others.
We are broken over our sin.
We are humble.
We seek the good of others over our own.
Being made new gives us a tender heart enabling us to love like God.
3) We are given a new belief system with new behaviors.
When we accept Jesus as Savior we exchange our old belief system for a new one which manifests itself in our behavior.
Paul reminds us of the things our old belief system caused us to do:
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT
What activities do we engage in through our new belief system?
We remain sexually pure.
We are honest and trustworthy in all we do.
We remain sober.
We are unselfish in our dealings with others.
Being made new gives us a new belief system enabling us to live like Jesus.
4) We are given a new Spirit.
When we accept Christ as Savior God exchanges our old, sinful spirit with His Holy Spirit.
“Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.”
Galatians 3:2 NLT
What does the Holy Spirit in our lives look like?
We have power to overcome sin.
We have power to withstand temptation.
We have power to stand firm in trials.
We have power to come boldly before God’s throne.
Being made new gives us God’s Holy Spirit enabling us to live holy lives through His power.
Have you experienced this transformation?
What’s one way you’ve been made new through Christ?
Until next time,
Keep gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!
God keep and bless you,
God places His Spirit within us and we are made a new creation.