When you first become a Christ-follower, you feel different. You know in your heart and mind that you’re no longer the same. But physically speaking, nothing changes. You don’t look different on the outside. You still look like you, and you still function with the same set of abilities and the same personality. Yes, your actions may change… but ultimately, you are still uniquely you. Because of this, the enemy loves to tell us that we aren’t brand new. He wants us to believe the lie that we aren’t changed… that we are still the same sinner we always were. But that’s not what the Bible teaches. Here’s what it really means to be a new creation in Christ Jesus.
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We have been given a new heart…
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” – Hebrews 8:10
The Bible tells us that our old hearts are deceitful and can’t be trusted. (Jeremiah 17:9) But when the Holy Spirit invades our lives, we are given a spiritual heart transplant. (Ezekiel 36:26) God’s laws are now written on our hearts. So instead of working hard to outwardly obey God, our obedience now comes from within us. We can love and honor Him with a pure heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. And our wants and desires begin to match His as we grow closer to Him in our daily walk.
We have been given a renewed mind…
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NIV)
The Bible tells us to regularly renew our minds in Christ. This is something that prior to salvation, we could not do. Sure, there are those out there who teach the “power of positive thinking” and how we can shape our worldview by thinking differently. But this is VERY different from being able to renew our minds through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We have been given the mind of Christ. We know longer have to operate my man’s wisdom, but we can operate using God’s wisdom, which is far superior (and the only wisdom we can actually count on!)
God gives us a new perspective…
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV)
Now that you have been raised with Christ, you are given the opportunity to see the world in a new light. You no longer have to live in fear and dread of the future. You can trust God and His plan for both your life as well as this world. And you can also see others (as well as yourself) the way God sees mankind… valuable and loved.
You have been given life…
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” – John 5:24
The Bible tells us over and over again that we have passed from death into life. Once dead in our sin, we are now alive in Christ. This eternal life we have been given isn’t just about being in heaven one day. You are alive NOW in Christ. You are a different person than you used to be.
God gives you supernatural strength…
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. – Ephesians 6:10
The Old Testament is filled with passages concerning the strength that comes from God. He gives us physical strength when we are weary. He gives us emotional strength when we are drained. And He gives us spiritual strength when we are facing the enemy. But just as this verse in Ephesians 6 suggests, being “strong in the Lord” is a choice we must make. Paul tells his readers to make the conscious choice to walk in the strength of God and to put on the armor He has given us.
God gives us what we need to change our actions…
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
As a Believer, your life should outwardly look different than those without Christ. In fact, James 2:17 tells us that faith without good deeds is dead. The good news is that God has given us His Holy Spirit, and He gives us self-control and the ability to say ‘no’ to temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Now, that doesn’t mean we are instantly perfect. We still have the ability to choose whether we walk by the flesh or by the Spirit, and we don’t always make the right choice. But when we walk by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can and will experience the fruit of that.
We have been given a new purpose…
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
Your purpose is no longer about your career or your family… in fact, it’s not about you at all. Your new purpose in Christ is to proclaim to the world that light has come. (1 Peter 2:9) The kingdom of darkness has lost, and the Kingdom of Christ has won!
This is what it means to be a new creation: the old is dead and gone, and the new is alive and growing daily in Christ.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.