When we think of the cross, one of the first thoughts that often comes to mind is our sin. Jesus died to take away our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But the truth is that the cross accomplished so much more than we can even comprehend. We had an old life, one that was lost in sin and doomed to death because of that sin. But now we have access to a new life, one that is hidden in Christ Jesus our Savior. And when we are born into new life… everything changes.
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Before Christ, mankind had a serious problem with sin. But that wasn’t our only problem. Yes, we struggled with specific sins and obeying God’s commands, but the Bible tells us that we were actually in bondage to sin. The enemy had a hold on our lives, and we were unable to break free from his power. We also had a death problem – both spiritually and physically. Needless to say, we needed Jesus!
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Old Self vs New Self:
- Our “old self” was crucified with Jesus on the cross. This ended sin’s power over us. We are no longer enslaved but have been set free from sin!
Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. – Romans 6:6-7
- Our “new self” lives by the Spirit of God – with God’s laws written on our hearts instead of on stone.
But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. – Romans 7:6
- Our “old self” was corrupted. Our hearts were deceitful and couldn’t be trusted. But in Jesus, we are given the mind of Christ. We have access to a “new self” – one that is righteous, pure, and embodies the truth of God.
That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. – Ephesians 4:22-24
- It is our responsibility to take off our “old self” and put on our “new self.”
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. – Colossians 3:9-10
The enemy no longer has any authority in our lives, and we are no longer slaves to his ways. The Bible also tells us that God provides a way out of all temptation we could possibly face. (1 Corinthians 10:13) This is good news indeed!
But even though Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for us to be made new, we must put forth the effort to put on this new self and to never revert back to our “old self” ways.
Never forget: We have been given the Holy Spirit to empower our lives. He is more than capable of teaching us and strengthening us to live the new life God has given us!
“But what about sin? Why do Christians still sin if we have been set free from its power?”
When it comes to believers, one of the enemy’s main tactics is to tell us that our old selves are still alive and well – that somehow they still have power in our lives and that we will always struggle with our old sinful natures.
But that is a lie… and I know it’s a lie because it contradicts the Bible’s teachings to believe that our sinful natures are anything other than crucified and dead. (Romans 6:1-14)
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. – Galatians 5:24-25
The key is to continually live by the Spirit. When we abide in Him and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our lives, we are living in the “new self” that Christ purchased for us on the cross. When we allow ourselves to be influenced by the world, however… that is when the enemy likes to entice us with our “old self” way of living.
So if the enemy is trying to convince you that your sin nature is still alive, active, and powerful in your life, remind him of this spiritual truth: Our sinful nature was crucified. He is a dead man, and we are alive in Christ! And a dead man is no match for our new, Holy Spirit-empowered selves!
In His mission to save us, our Messiah made a way for us to have new life. We were dead in our sin, and now we are alive in Him.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.