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“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).

NEW BEGINNINGS SHOULD BE WELCOMED INTO OUR LIVES. It is an exciting, strengthening experience to turn a corner and make a fresh start — and there is no more powerful new beginning than obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Christ, our starting over is so deep and complete that we are said to be a “new creation.”

Having died with Christ in baptism, we walk in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). And what does that mean? Paul described it in Colossians 3:1–17. We have new goals (v.1), new thoughts (v.2), and new habits (vv.5–16). With Christ as our Lord, we live under a new authority (v.17). And most important, having been forgiven of the sins that separated us from God, we live with a new hope (vv.3,4).

At baptism, we commit ourselves to actually living like what we have become: a new creation. Growing to maturity in Christ takes time. We can be encouraged by the fact that God will be patient. He will provide the help that is necessary. But if we don’t open our eyes and see what needs to change, we’ll be hindered.

Unfortunately, most of us fail to see how radical the surgery needs to be. We see ourselves as “good” people — we may stumble now and then, but basically, we think we’ve lived without any very serious errors. Yet nothing could be further from the truth (Matthew 3:7–9). We need more than a little polishing up; we need to be destroyed and completely rebuilt. There is only one word to describe what must be done: “re-creation.” If we’re going to be fit to live in God’s presence, we’re going to have to be “re-created.”

But in Christ, what needs to happen can happen. What God offers us is absolutely unique. There is nothing else like it in the world. So Peter appealed to his hearers in Jerusalem, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (Act 3:19–21).

“In the natural world it is impossible to be made all over again, but in the spiritual world it is exactly what Jesus Christ makes possible” (Oswald Chambers).

Gary Henry — +

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