Something Old, Something New

Every time I go to the mall, especially a new one I’ve never visited, every once in a while as you walk the main halls you will see a giant map. They usually have some kind of mark to identify “You are here.” And then they show you everything around you and in the whole mall.

Knowing where we are is the only way to know how to get to our destination. Otherwise we would be lost and it would take forever to get there. We would probably end up accidentally finding I destination that way. But there is a better way to get to our destination.

Before we can get to where were going, we need to know where we are. We need to know where we came from. To practice holiness, we need to understand who and what we are in Christ. Christian identity is essential to successful godly living.

Sure, it helps to know the rules. It helps to know what God expects. But if we don’t understand the process of getting there, we will spend our wheels and make ruts in the mud. And most of us will end up presenting the fact that we haven’t gotten anywhere.

The Bible is clear on who we are, our past, our present, and our future. The moment we become followers of Christ, we are declared holy by God. But the journey to become holy according to his declaration is a daunting task if we do it on our own.

Who are we? The New Testament writers make a clear break between what we used to be before we met Christ and what we are now. They call it the old man, literally, or the old life and the new life (Ephesians 2:1-4; Romans 6:1-14). Paul tells us we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

One of my pet peeves is when Christians tell me, “I’m a sinner saved by grace.” I feel like this is an excuse to sin even every once in a while. And then we know that Jesus will forgive us so everything’s okay as long as we ask for forgiveness.

But this isn’t the vision that Jesus has for us. Sin should be extremely rare among believers. The Bible describes us as dead to sin. If you shoot an animal dad and poke it you don’t get a reaction. Temptation should not so easily entangle us.

We may not become completely perfect in holiness while still on this earth, but we are called to be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16). If God commands us to do something it is possible. We need to strive to be holy like God.

Instead of saying, “I’m a sinner saved by grace,” why don’t we say, “Because of Jesus I am a saint saved by grace?” Instead of struggling with temptation and sin every moment of every day, why don’t we live the victorious life over sin?

I know it’s not easy but this is the goal and the high standard God has set before us. By the help of the Holy Spirit and through obedience to his leading we can live victorious over sin and spend our time pleasing the Lord.

But if we’re going to live that kind of life, we need to realize that the old life is the old life. That’s the past and that’s not me anymore. I am a new creature with new desires, new thoughts, and a new heart. My desire is no longer selfish but is set on pleasing the Lord.

My challenges are different than they were in the past. Back then, my only desire was to do what I wanted. But now my only desire is whatever makes God happy. What can I say, think, and do that will put a smile on God’s face?

I’m no longer an object of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3) but a child of God. I have a different family full of encouraging Christians on the same path. When we realize who we are in Christ we don’t have to do the things we used to do. We don’t have to listen to the world.

I challenge you to live with this perspective in mind all the time. We are in the world working for Jesus, but we are not of the world. We are of the kingdom of God. We are God’s agents behind enemy lines. We are the influencers rather than influenced by the world.

The work God has given you and me to do is way more important than struggling with sin and just keeping our heads above the water. Jesus didn’t give us victory to barely get through the day. He gave us victory and authority to live for him abundantly every day.

Would you think about this perspective? Leave a comment and tell me what you think about changing our perspective for victorious, probably living.

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