The New Man – Part 5 – Sacrifice and Conclusion

August 30, 2007

In closing, I would like to focus on the sacrifice we make of our lives to Christ. We must die to our old self in order to be made new in Christ Jesus. It costs us something – truly in costs us everything we used to be.

The Lord said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39). In another place he said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15).

D.L. Moody put it this way: “If He laid down His life for us, is it not the least we can do to lay down ours for Him? If He bore the cross and died on it for me, ought I not to be willing to take it up for Him?”

To be made new, we must surrender completely. I am included in this – I must have surrendered completely in order to have any hope of being made new in Christ Jesus. Living a surrendered life is not easy, but the Lord still promises that his yoke is easy and his burden light. The Christian is truly free, though the world may see chains of another sort – chains of persecution or hardship or pain. But the Christian is free because they are free from sin. The Christian knows that they are citizens, not of this world, but of heaven. There is such joy in knowing that this world is not all there is. And in the end, I will see my Lord face to face!

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).


The New Man – Part 4 – Discipleship

August 29, 2007

The bottom line is this: when someone becomes a Christian, their life is completely changed. To be saved is to be free from the power of the sinful nature. The only reason why the Christian may still struggle is because they have believed the lie that they will always be a sinner, and live accordingly.

How can you be a new creation and still a sinner? These two contradict each other. The new creation cannot be new if he is still old. The old nature is the sinful nature, but the new nature is one of life.

This does not mean that the Christian cannot sin – let me be very clear that this is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that the Christian is free from the power of sin, and must walk in this truth by faith.

To be a Christian is to be included in Christ – to be one with him, your sin covered by his blood and receiving the victory that he won by triumphing over the grave.

Being in Christ, the Christian will look like Christ in thought and conduct. The Lord Jesus uses this illustration: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:43-45). In other words, a Christian looks like a Christian. Just like an apple tree will always grow apples and not pears, so a Christian will look like Christ, and not the deceiver, Satan, being held under his influence and living in sin.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer said, “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” A disciple is a follower of Christ, and discipleship is the act of following Christ. These things we have been discussing is what it is to follow Christ. Without following Christ and being like him, one cannot be a Christian.


The New Man – Part 3 – Emancipation

August 28, 2007

The Emancipation Proclamation is an interesting piece of American history. It was a decree passed not by the parliament, but proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln as a declaration. He had the authority to do so. It is especially interesting because it came in two parts – the first in September of 1862, and the second on January 1, 1863. The second part was a reminder and reiteration of the first: a decree had been given that slavery was to be abolished, but people were still living as slaves. Certain states had not yet freed their slaves, and they were now commanded to do so. Finally in 1865 slavery was abolished with the introduction of the 13th amendment.

The Christian life can sometimes be like this. When we become Christians, we have been set free from the bondage of slavery to the sinful nature. Yet so many Christians act like they are still in slavery. It is like they need a second (and third, and fourth….) reminder that they are really free.

The Bible gives an emancipation proclamation in Galatians 5:1: “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery;” and in Romans 6:16-18: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

One day we will be set free from these mortal bodies and be in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ. But we are free NOW. Listen to the Word of the Lord. Believe it for what it says. And walk in it to the full. You are free from the power of the sinful nature if you are in Christ Jesus. You’re free! Do not walk as if you are still a slave.


The New Man – Part 2

August 27, 2007

At its very root, salvation is a second chance at life. To receive salvation is to be saved from the sinful nature, to become a new person, and to literally have a new lease at life. The old person is steeped in sin, depraved and unable to reach God. The new person has died to the old, and has become new because of this. The new person has become new because they have received Christ – and this means that we are “in Christ.” Being seated in Christ, we receive a new nature, that of holiness, not of sin. Romans 6:19b-23 says, “…as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Allow me to use a poem by Kathleen Wheeler, called A New Leaf, to illustrate what it is like to get a second chance from God:

He came to my desk with quivering lip–
The lesson was done.
“Dear Teacher I want a new leaf,” he said,
“I have spoiled this one.”
I took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
And gave him a new one all unspotted,
And into his sad eyes smiled,
“Do better now, my child.”
I went to the throne with a quivering soul–
The old year was done.
“Dear Father, hast Thou a new leaf for me?
I have spoiled this one.”
He took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
And gave me a new one all unspotted,
And into my sad heart smiled,
“Do better now, My child.”

Just as the child could ask the teacher for a new piece of paper, when we come humbly before God and repent of our sins, he forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Repentence is very important here. It is actually key. The boy had to surrender the soiled piece of paper to get a new one. The narrator of the poem gave the past year to the Lord in the hope that he would give her a second chance.

The victory comes when we realize that we do not only have a second chance, but the actual power and authority to not only do better, but to live up to the standard of holines that God has called us to. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” This is possible because we are in Christ, and because Satan is below Christ’s feet, and we are in Christ, Satan is also below our feet (Ephesians 2:6).


The New Man – Part 1

August 26, 2007

Editor’s Note: We humbly apologize for missing Thursday evening’s post. Our power was out due to a severe thunder storm. We will now resume our regular schedule. Thank you very much for your support and continued reading of our blogs. We hope you have been blessed by them.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (1 Corinthians 5:17).

We hear all about being born-again – “I’m a born-again Christian,” “I got saved,” and so on. But what exactly does that mean? What does it mean to be a new creation in Christ Jesus? What does all this Christianese jargon mean? Is it really just jargon, or does it have a real meaning in my life? I want to take a couple of days to explore the Scriptures and answer these questions, getting to the bottom of how exactly this impacts our existence.


The Spirit of the Antichrist

August 22, 2007

“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour… Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:18, 22-23).

“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:2-3).

Here we have a couple of tests so that we can discern the spirit of the antichrist. An antichrist is someone who is against the Lord Jesus Christ. The man of lawlessness, as described in 2 Thessalonians 2, will declare himself to be God (v. 4). These are the signs:

1. The one who denies that Jesus is the Christ – Christ means Messiah or Savior. The one who denies that Jesus is the Savior of the world is a liar.

2. The one who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh – This can take a couple of forms:

a) The one who denies that Jesus lived at all.
b) The one who denies that Jesus was human, claiming he only appeared human but was really only spirit.
c) Most importantly, the one who denies that Jesus is God Almighty, come in the flesh (John 1:1, 14).

Many antichrists have already come into the world, claiming to be God, and setting themselves up against the Lord. Beware of these false teachers, false prophets, and false christs. Do not be deceived. Don’t fall for their lies.


Wanting or Untried?

August 21, 2007

“But I have only taken this as the first and most evident case of the general truth: that the great ideals of the past failed not by being outlived (which must mean over-lived), but by not being lived enough. Mankind has not passed through the Middle Ages. Rather mankind has retreated from the Middle Ages in reaction and rout. The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried” (G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With The World, chapter 5).

I’ve heard the last line of this passage quoted often, but I have never heard it in context until I read it today. The context sheds some great light onto what Chesterton was talking about.

Usually when this sentence is quoted, it is referring to people refusing to believe in the claims of Christianity based on difficulty of doctrine. But the quotation as Chesterton wrote it is talking more about history than doctrine.

It is true that if you look only on the history of Christianity, you will find all sorts of atrocities, murders, intrigues, and heresies. You will find all sorts of people misrepresenting the gospel message, but unfortunately the misrepresentation is usually not as obvious as the evil deeds, and people are mislead into believing that the deeds actually reflect biblical Christianity.

It is true that if you look at the history of Christianity, you find all sorts of difficulties as a result of evil men doing evil things in the name of God. This is the difficulty being referred to, that which causes people to refuse to even look at Christianity seriously. This is a shame.

For it is not that Christianity at its historical and theological root is wanting. As has been discussed in other posts, history is actually on the side of the Bible. Likewise it’s theology is logical, although it may seem illogical if not looked at through an honest light of the reality of the condition of the souls of men. I am convinced that anyone who honestly seeks after the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ will find that truth, and if it is tested it will indeed be found to be True. The problem is that the history of the living out of Christianity has been flawed to say the very least. I cannot deny that. And these flaws have caused many to outright reject the message of the cross.

If you are one of these, I encourage you to look not at the way people have distorted the truth, but at the true truth itself. Examine not the lives of men but the message of the gospel. Put everything you can think of under the microscope. God will show himself even there.


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