Renewal

Colossians 3:9-10

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

The last several devotions have discussed how we are a newcreation at the moment of our salvation and that we are given a new attitude and new self.  What Colossians tells us is that we must work to maintain our new self in top condition.

It makes sense that even if we are given something new that it is subject to wearing down.  A new car will quickly wear out if it isn’t properly maintained.  We live in a sinful world and even if we are a new creation, we still operate with sin all around us.  Not until we are called to heaven and given a resurrected body will we not be subject to sin and wearing down.

In order to keep our life in the best condition, we need renewal.  God is ultimately the one who does the renewal but we have an important part to do in this.  Keeping up the car analogy, God is the mechanic to our life – making sure that everything stays in top running shape.  But the mechanic can’t do the work unless we take the car to him.

We are renewed in knowledge of God.  We work to get to know God better.  The Christian life is a relationship with God.  It is not a one step process.  Salvation is the starting line, not the finish line.  The more we get to know God, the better our relationship is going to be with Him.

The more we are renewed in knowledge, the better our new life is going to be.  God will keep us well maintained so that we can enjoy the life that He meant for us.

New Attitude and New Self

Ephesians 4:22-24

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

As is discussed earlier, at the moment of our salvation we are a new creation.  The old has passed away and what God replaces it with is new and better.

Despite this transformation that takes place, we still must work at our new attitude and new self.  Even with the help of the Holy Spirit, the Christian life is still a constant struggle of resisting temptation.

Being made new is a two part process.  It is like changing clothes.  If we have dirty ones, we must first take them off before we put new ones on.

Our old self is corrupted by our sinful nature and desires.  It wants to do whatever it is that we know we shouldn’t do.  The more we resist it, the weaker the old nature becomes.  If we feed our sinful desires though, our old self will continue to give us trouble.

In addition to casting off our old self, we must put on a new self.  This begins in the mind.  All that we do stems from our mind.  This is why it is so important to train our thoughts on godly things and not sinful ones.

The more we train our mind, the more our new self will manifest.  It is created to be like God, holy and righteous.

A New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

How wonderful it is to know that we are a new creation in Christ!  Jesus in our life means a complete change for us, not just a partial or short term difference.

For starters our sins are forgiven.  They are wiped away; we are washed whiter than snow.  But we are given the Holy Spirit as well.  The Holy Spirit helps us to fight temptation.  He helps us to recall the teachings of God and spurs us to learn more so that we can obey even better.

We are also given a new attitude.  The guilt from our sins that we carried has been lifted from our shoulders.  The relief that God is watching over us should almost overwhelm us.  Our worry should be removed as God cares for us more than anything in the world.

We also await a physical change.  One day we will be resurrected and given a glorified body just as Jesus had after His resurrection.  There will be no more sickness or disease.  Our bodies won’t be subject to the aches and pains that we currently experience.

When God makes us a new creation, He makes everything about us new.  The old things that aren’t worth keeping are done away with, they are gone and forgotten.

Ministers of the New Covenant

2 Corinthians 3:6

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Continuing with the theme in “Raised to Life” and “The New Way”, we find that we are ministers of the New Covenant.  We are not ministers of the letter of the law but rather the Spirit of the law.

As Christians, we have a moral obligation to stand for what is right.  Just because Jesus fulfilled the law does not mean that we have no obligation to continue to do right.  The New Testament contains lots of teaching about right and wrong.  Our obligation to obey did not cease with Christ’s forgiveness.

As ministers of the New Covenant though, we should preach a gospel of law and grace.  We should instruct people to repent of their sinful ways.  If the Bible calls something sin, we have every right to call it sin as well.

But as competent ministers we must also teach grace.  Sin is sin and should be stopped.  But Jesus is the solution to sin.  Forgiveness is only found in Him.

We want sinful lifestyles to stop but the only way to accomplish this is through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus.  The passing of laws won’t stop sin.  Flooding the airwaves with teaching of the consequences of sin won’t stop it.  Only when lives are changed by Jesus Christ will the sin in those lives stop.

The New Way

Romans 7:6

But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The last devotion discussed how we died to what once bound us.  We are given a new life and are not controlled by the sinful nature that we once had.

2 Corinthians 3 tells us that the law brought death.  The truth of the matter is that we have never been able to follow the commands of God and God knew this from the time that the law was given.

The law wasn’t given in order to crush us underneath rules that we couldn’t follow however.  It was given so that we would see our need for a savior.  This is the difference between Christianity and all other religions.  There is nothing that we can do to make up for our sins.  No amount of good deeds or prayers will take away our sin, only Jesus can do that.

Because Jesus has taken away our sins, we are under the new way of the Spirit.  This does not mean that we should do as we please and that the law means nothing to us now.  Instead it means that we have been given the Holy Spirit and are capable of living up to the law.

Even with the Holy Spirit we still choose not to obey sometimes.  Fortunately we still have the forgiveness of Christ.  We are not crushed under the weight of the law any longer but are under grace in the new way of the Spirit.