2Cor 5:17 (KJV) Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
As New Year’s Day approaches, we all have a tendency to reflect upon the events that have taken place in the previous year. At the same time, we find ourselves turning our attention to the many worldly opportunities that the coming year may hold for us. It is during this time of celebration that we attempt to place our past behind us and receive a wonderful eternity filled with great hope and blessings.
Although this earthly experience of a new beginning is profitable, there is an even greater time of new beginnings that is offered to us in the pages of the Bible. This is not a temporal “new beginning” that must be experienced on a yearly basis, but it is a one-time spiritual type of new beginning that permanently places our past behind us and opens us a future that is filled with unending hope, peace, security and victory.
I would like us to look at this wonderful time of “new beginnings” that is graciously offered to us through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. We find this teaching summarized in 2 Cor 5:17…
“Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature:…”
In our text, we can see that this new beginning is described as becoming “a new creature”. This helps us to understand that this new beginning is so complete it is as if we have been remade, or “born again”.
This new birth is not a physical rebirth, but it is a spiritual rebirth brought about through the intervention of God through the Holy Spirit’s application of the Word of God (John 3:3-7, 1 Pet 1:21-23). The path to this new birth is good news that finds its origin in heaven (1 Cor 15:1-9). This good news is the central theme of the entire Bible, which clearly explains that:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth and, motivated by love for His people, willingly died on the cross. As He died, Jesus was the sinless substitute, bearing the sin and the judgment that was meant for His people. (Rom 5:6-8, Gal 1:3-5, 1 Pet 2:21-24, 1 Pet 3:18)
2. The Lord’s body was then buried in the tomb for three days and three nights while His spirit wen to heaven (paradise) to be with the Father. (Matt 12:40, Matt 27:57-66, Luke 23:43)
3. Following the three day and three night time period, Jesus’s spirit re-entered His body. He came out of the grave and displayed to all that He was victor over sin and death. (Luke 24:1-8, Rom 1:4, Rom 6:9, Eph 2:6)
4. Multiple witnesses saw the resurrected Christ, giving us undisputable proof that this resurrection took place (1 Cor 15:5-9, John 20:19-26 etc etc). All of this gives us assurance that the Biblical account of Christ and His work on our behalf can be trusted and unquestioningly applied to our lives.
As we close today’s devotional, let me speak particularly to those who have never received this new birth and the new beginning that it entails… the need in your life is self-evident.
The Lord of all the heaven and earth has been very good and gracious to us all. The rain that falls upon our heads; the food we have to eat; our physical existence and the life that we enjoy; our families; our friends; and our health are all undeserved gifts that He gives to each one of us. Because of this He deserves our honor, praise and obedience.
Sadly, all of us have failed to give Him what He deserves. He gave us instructions to live by, instructions which would allow us to live lives of prosperity and enjoyment. All of us failed to follow those instructions… we have all sinned against Him. We have withheld from Him what He deserves… our complete and total dedication to Him. We have placed ourselves in a horrible position of rebellion against the very One who has loved and cared for us unconditionally.
So, what can be done? How can we be delivered from this horrible condition into which we have placed ourselves?
1. The Bible tells us we must understand our great need of Him and the great failures that we have committed. In other words, we must change how we look at ourselves and Jesus. We must see ourselves as He sees us, rebellious, indebted creatures who are unable to obtain salvation through our own merit.
We must see Him as He is, our Saviour and the Master of our lives. This can only be accomplished by believing what the Bible says about His person and the work that He performed on our behalf.
2. And then, by turning away from the many failures of our attitudes and actions, we come to Christ in an attitude of trust and submission. It is only then that we can find rest for our souls.
This is the call of the gospel message. This is the revealed will of God for your life. This is the great path that leads to salvation, forgiveness and a new beginning in Christ.
May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.
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