“A New Creation”
How to have a happy rebirthday 

By Jon W. Quinn

It is a wonderful thing that occurs when a genuine conversion takes place resulting in someone becoming a Christian. It is something meaningful and significant. Though many of the effects may not be immediately apparent, what should be observable is a great joy on the part of all believers, especially the new convert. Then, as time goes on, and changes begin to occur in the person's life and the new life becomes more noticeable and pronounced. Perhaps not everyone will appreciate all the changes taking place in their friend or relative. But there is quite an effect.

But sometimes the significance of becoming a Christian appears to be lost. Perhaps the cost of discipleship has not been really considered. Perhaps the motive was not entirely correct. Sometimes even the convert fail to completely appreciate the significance of being a Christian; both the privileges as well as the responsibilities. When this happens, young-in-the-faith Christians might fail to grow as they should. They might retain some of the world's habits and goals that are in conflict with living for Jesus. In the parable of the Sower, Jesus talks about this being a possible outcome… one who is faithful for a while but then falls away.

It never hurts for a Christian to reflect, and ask such questions as: “What did I do in God's eyes when I became a disciple of His Son, Jesus?” Is what God sees and what other believers think they see in me the same thing?
The fact is this: God intends for us, by the power of a new, spiritual rebirth, to become new creatures. That is what God ought to see in all of us.

In Newness of Life
Christian is a “New Creation” . When a new Christian rises out of the water of baptism, he does so to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4-5). Old things have passed away, and new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17; 14-16).

It is not that there is mystical power in the water. The power was, is, and always will be with God and the blood of His Son Jesus. Without faith, the water is nothing. Only when coupled with the Spirit is the water effective in the spiritual realm at all.

The man or woman becoming a “new creation” of God is made possible by undergoing what Jesus referred to as “being born again”. This new birth produced by responding by faith to the Word of God - (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:22-23). It simply does not happen apart from responding from the heart to the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is through the gospel, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit works on the heart of man. “Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5; see also Titus 3:5-7). When the response to the gospel is obedience from the heart, then one rises from the water of baptism to walk in newness of life. That is when and where the new creation begins and the old creation, ruined by sin, is left behind.

But things are not perfect. The new creation continues to reach for perfection. There is wonderful, powerful divine assistance to those who live by faith. This includes the man or woman of faith being “renewed day by day” even in the midst of the ruin and decay of the world (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). This renewal is ongoing, involving the renewal of one's mind (Romans 12:2).

From Death to Life; From Darkness to Light
Jesus described those who hear His words and believe in Him as having “passed out of death into life” (John 5:24-25). Paul also referred to the state of those alienated from God as being “dead in sin” and how that those who have been saved by grace through faith are now made “alive” unto God (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:12-13). We now have the promise and prospect of life eternal, given through God's Son. “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13).

This same state is not only described as passing from death into life; but also as “from darkness to light”. These are simply two different metaphors describing the same thing. The goal of preaching the gospel is to turn people from darkness to light (Acts 26:18). Disciples are told that though once they were in darkness, now they walk in the light (Ephesians 5:8). The metaphors of life and light represent purity, goodness, righteousness, truth and blessing (Ephesians 5:9; Colossians 1:12,13).

A New Loyalty of a New Creation
A Christian is a “converted” person. Conversion inherently involves change, particularly a change of loyalties; from serving sin to serving God (Romans 6:16-18) and/or from serving idols to serving God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). A Christian is converted to Jesus Christ. This conversion is well exemplified by the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Now, the new disciple acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:36; 1 Peter 3:15). Above everything and everyone else, including self, the disciple chooses first to follow Jesus. When one makes that choice, Christ will become the focus of that person's life (Galatians 2:20).

This kind of loyalty to Jesus will result in a new life being lived. It is a life in which God blesses the individual through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:6-7). It is a life in which one finds strength to live the new life (Philippians 4:13). It is a life in which one has new focus and goals (Colossians 3:1-3; Hebrews 12:1,2).

It is not that we are oblivious to this world and it's responsibilities… to family, neighbors, possessions, jobs, etc. But rather that all of these relate to the new center and foundation of our new lives, our relationship to and service of God (1 Corinthians 10:30,31; 1 Timothy 4:3,4).

Conclusion Each and every person who claims to be a Christian ought to abound in newness. That is the evidence that our profession is true. May the promise of a new creation and a new life in Christ challenge us to examine our loyalties and ensure that we are truly walking in newness of life.

From The Bradley Banner 1/25/2009
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
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