How’s that new creation going? You know, this one:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).
Can you recognize how much of the old has really passed for you yet? Do you still struggle? Have you given up that the change you really desire will only occur in heaven?
“Sin and why I love it” was the answer my aunt occasionally gave when people asked what her husband had preached about during the Sunday service. While it was meant to be a funny juxtaposition of what shouldn’t be preached from the pulpit, it is also a reverse challenge to better obey as new creations.
New creations don’t love their sin. They don’t plot and find ways to increase it in their lives. They don’t justify it by trying to twist, ignore, or condemn Scripture. Where their Master leads, they follow.
Yet, it often amazes me when I, who should follow like a sheep, have turned into a stubborn donkey who needs bit and bridle to be led. Occasionally, I might be as useful to other followers and the Lord just as Balaam’s donkey was (Numbers 22:21-35). According to 1 Peter 2:20, it is a credit to be beaten for the right reasons. However, there is nothing praiseworthy about disobedience.
We all too often judge others for their actions and ourselves for our intentions. God judges faithfulness and obedience to Him by actions (See Matthew 21:28-31; ). One action we can all take as new creations is ask for God's help to purify us.
New creations should flow with and to obedience the way rivers flow into the ocean. With Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, He is both the origin and the end of our power to do so.
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21 ESV)
Obedience brings blessing:
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28 ESV).
We are challenged to grow in obedience. This love grows for God and His ways because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our obedience to God grows as we better understand His faith and mercy towards us every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
How grateful we should be for His mercy and grace. Seeing this, we should seek His commands and find out how rapidly we can obey.
But “Sin and why I love it” seems to step into our lives.
Lord, give us wisdom and courage to grow closer to you in love and obedience.
What do I love more than God? What do I struggle with related to sin that I believe God cannot change? I’d like to think nothing. I’m not going to write here how the Holy Spirit convicts me just as I wouldn’t ask for you to share.
But I will ask you to pray about these things.
Trust me, though, even if some of the people around you are clueless about your sin, Scripture says we don’t have a chance keeping them hidden from the Lord (Numbers 32:23; Luke 12:2; Luke 8:17; Revelation 21:8). Thank God for 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
As a new creation, I need to listen and obey. When I see a pattern of disobedience, then I need to pray for wisdom on how to proceed – flee or fight? Something else? Too often, we may think we are alone in this battle, but we are not.
Instead, perhaps we haven’t prepared for the battle we know is coming as it says in Proverbs 21:31 ESV, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.”
What do I mean? Here’s an example from the blog “Arguing With the Potter,”
Dr. Gary Smalley in Change Your Heart, Change Your Life shared the story of how memorizing and meditating on God’s Word, specifically Scriptures related to lust, allowed the defeat of the sin he practiced in his heart. He was in his seventies when this victory occurred. He said the process took about three weeks.
He knew the battle had been won, as I remember, when he and his young granddaughter were at a hotel soaking in a Jacuzzi. Two young women came in wearing the tiniest of bikinis (See “The Power of the Bikini” for some history and biblical advice on bathing suits).
“Granddaddy, they look just like Barbie dolls,” his granddaughter whispered. It wasn’t until a few moments later he realized his only thoughts about them were whether they were saved or not and whether their parents, especially their fathers, treated them with love and respect.
He cried with joy because of the victory God granted Him through the power of His Word.
Have you considered that dwelling in God’s Word regularly is the primary means by which we can learn more of God’s thoughts and ways and how to act in them?
Smalley, as an older new creation, had known he would face the battle. But until he prepared his heart with the Word of God, he fought without the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). All of this is nothing but a call to personal holiness through the power of Christ and His Word.
A true and faithful Christian does not make holy living an accidental thing. It is his great concern. As the business of the soldier is to fight – so the business of the Christian is to be like Christ!
– Jonathan Edwards
Let us act righteously, boldly according to God’s will through the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Lord, redeem us through your power to help us faithfully obey. Amen.