Jesus said that to become a Christian we must be “born again”.
John 3:3 (HCSB) 3 Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”. That phrase implies that we cannot simply remodel our current lives; we must start over.
2 Corinthians 5:15 –17(HCSB) explain what happens when we put our trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord: 15 And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
Jesus used the illustration of birth because we understand that when a baby is born, a new creation is evident. Live birth is followed by a transformation over time from infancy to maturity.
The bible says we were “slaves” to sin Romans 6:16(NLT) Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
But then we were release from slavery to sin and now we are slaves to righteous living. Romans 6:18 (NLT)18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.
We are brought to life. We are “created anew in Christ Jesus”
Ephesians 2:10(NLT)10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. God changes our desires, outlook, and focus as we turn from self-worship to God-worship.
Many people try to bypass this transfer of ownership and instead try to “clean up their act,” “turn over a new leaf,” or start going to church in an effort to feel like a Christian. However, willpower can only take us so far. I like to call that “Sin-Management” Jesus did not come to reform our sinful flesh; He came to kill it
Luke 9:23(NLT)23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
Romans 6:6–7 (NLT)6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin..
The old and new natures cannot work together, nor can they peacefully coexist
Romans 8:12–13(HCSB)12 So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live
The flesh must die before we can experience the new life Jesus offers us.
Romans 8:13 (HCSB)“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”.
Paul here is making a contrast between believers and non-believers. Non-believers are those who “live according to the flesh.” By contrast, believers are those who “by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body.” Often in the writings of Paul, flesh and spirit are contrasted. To live “according to the flesh” is to have your mind set on the flesh and to have a mind that is hostile to God and does not submit to His law. This, in a nutshell, is the life of an unbeliever. Romans 1—3 is a vivid description of what “living according to the flesh” looks like. The person who lives his life according to the flesh will die. This is not speaking of physical death because that is the fate of all people as a result of sin. Paul is speaking of eternal death in hell.
The new creation is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17(ESV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” The word “therefore” refers us back to verses 14-15 where Paul tells us that all believers have died with Christ and no longer live for themselves.
2 Corinthians 5:14 (NLT) Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
Our lives are no longer worldly; they are now spiritual. Our “death” is that of the old sin nature which was nailed to the cross with Christ. It was buried with Him, and just as He was raised up by the Father, so are we raised up to “walk in newness of life”
Romans 6:4(ESV)4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
That new person that was raised up is what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 5:17 as the “new creation.”
To understand the new creation, first we must grasp that it is in fact a creation, something created by God. John 1:13 tells us that this new birth was brought about by the will of God. We did not inherit the new nature, nor did we decide to re-create ourselves anew, nor did God simply clean up our old nature; He created something entirely fresh and new. The new creation is completely new, brought about from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God ex nihilo, from nothing. Only the Creator could accomplish such a task.
Second, “old things have gone.” The “old” refers to everything that is part of our old nature—natural pride, love of sin, reliance on works, and our former opinions, habits and passions. Most significantly, what we loved has passed away, especially the supreme love of self and with it self-righteousness, self-promotion, and self-justification. The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward self. The old things died, nailed to the cross with our sin nature.
Along with the old passing away, “the new has come!” Old, dead things are replaced with new things, full of life and the glory of God. The newborn soul delights in the things of God and hates,detest,loathes the things of the world and the flesh. Our purposes, feelings, desires, and understandings are fresh and different. We see the world differently. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though we may have read it before, there is a beauty about it which we never saw before, and which we wonder at not having perceived. The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God. There are new feelings toward all people—a new kind of love toward family and friends, a new compassion never before felt for enemies, and a new love for all mankind.
The things we once loved, we now detest. The sin we once held onto, we now desire to leave behind,never to go back to it. We “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9), and put on the “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
The believer by the Spirit puts to death the deeds of the body. In other words, through the working of God’s Holy Spirit, who only dwells in believers, the believer engages in the process of sanctification or growing in holiness. The believer, in contrast to the non-believer, has his mind set on the Spirit and submits to God’s law. It is important to note that the believer is not completely free from sin. Putting to death the deeds of the body is a continual process that the believer must engage in on a daily basis. The point is that one of the marks of a true believer is that he is daily putting to death the deeds of the body. This person, the one who puts to death, the deeds of the body and its sinful nature will live. Again, this is a reference to eternal life, or heaven.
Colossians 3:5(HCSB)5 Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Looking at the context of this passage and noting the word therefore, we must look at what preceded this verse. In verses 1–4, Paul exhorts the Colossians to seek the things that are above and to set their minds on heavenly things.
Colossians 3:1-4(ESV)If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Why? For we have died, not physically, but figuratively to sin and the old life, and our lives are now “hidden with Christ in God” (verse 3). If this is the case, then what are we to do? The only way the believer, whose life is hidden with Christ, can be heavenly minded is if he puts to death those things that are earthly in him. Again, we should not understand the contrast between heavenly and earthly as to mean we should have our heads in the clouds and our feet off the ground; as the expression goes, “He is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good.” It is similar to the spirit/flesh contrast Paul made in Romans, with flesh being understood as “sinful nature.”
What is it that Paul wants us to put to death? Sinful desires and actions such as sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness, which is equated with idolatry. The person whose life is characterized by these things is said to have the wrath of God upon him (verse 6). Paul notes that this was the way of life of his readers (verse 7). Colossians 3:6-7(HCSB)Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, 7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. 8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.
Gossip, Rumor,Slander,Backbite,Talebearer, Rail, Revile, Profanity, coarse joking,all parts of filthy language. Words become profane when sacred meanings are treated in a common and trivial fashion.The principle involves taking the sacred name of the Lord and vulgarly transporting it into the domain of the secular. This concept finds a manifestation in various ways in America’s crude modes of expression.Those who engage in this behavior do nothing but stir up trouble and cause anger, bitterness, and pain among friends. Sadly, some people thrive on this and look for opportunities to destroy others. And when such people are confronted, they deny the allegations and answer with excuses and rationalizations. Rather than admit wrongdoing, they blame someone else or attempt to minimize the seriousness of the sin.
Ephesians 4:29-32(HCSB)29 No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him[p] for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. Paul’s warning here does include using obscene or vulgar language that tears someone down, reflects worldly motives, or in any other way that’s unfit for a redeemed way of life. But “foul language” primarily refers to slander, gossip or any other speech that tears someone down. Paul refers to the dangerous power of words, all words, when used to dehumanize another human being. Gossiping about a fellow church member, dropping a belittling comment on a blog or Facebook post.
All believers were at one time unbelievers and were under the wrath of God. In other words, you were like that; now you’re like this. You were walking according to the flesh; now you’re in the Spirit. Because of this, put to death those things that were of the flesh. Grow in holiness and sanctification.
What about the Christian who continues to sin? There is a difference between continuing to sin and continuing to live in sin. No one reaches sinless perfection in this life, but the redeemed Christian is being sanctified (made holy) day by day, sinning less and hating it more each time he fails. Yes, we still sin, but unwillingly and less and less frequently as we mature. Our new self hates the sin that still has a hold on us. The difference is that the new creation is no longer a slave to sin, as we formerly were. We are now freed from sin and it no longer has power over us. Now we are empowered by and for righteousness. We now have the choice to “let sin reign” or to count ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”
Romans 6:11-12(HCSB)11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires.. Best of all, now we have the power to choose the latter.
In Romans 1, Paul says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power that saves us, the gospel being the good news that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. When we enter into the Christian life by faith in this good news, we see our faith grow as we come to know more and more about the God who saved us. The gospel of Christ actually reveals God to us as we live to grow closer to Him each day. Romans 1:17 (ESV) says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” So part of the Christian life is diligent reading and study of the Word, accompanied by prayer for understanding and wisdom and for a closer, more intimate relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.
Every human being is composed of body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT) 23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
Before we have a relationship with God through new birth, we live primarily controlled by our soul(mind, will and emotions) and body(flesh). When we transfer ownership of our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ, He sends His Holy Spirit to regenerate our Spirit. At salvation, He pours into our hearts and then the spirit inside us so that we can now communicate with God. Whereas, a person was formerly directed by the sin nature, he or she can now be directed by the Holy Spirit who works to transform us into the image of Christ.
The Christian life is also supposed to be one of death to self in order to live a life by faith. Paul told the Galatians, Galatians 2:20 (ESV)“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”.
Being crucified with Christ means that our old nature has been nailed to the cross and has been replaced by a new nature which is Christ’s. It means sacrificing our own desires, ambitions, and glories and replacing them with those of Christ. We can only do this by His power through the faith that He gives us by His grace.
The Christian life is also supposed to persevere to the end. Hebrews 10:38-39 And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” 39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.
This scripture addresses this issue by quoting from the Old Testament prophet Habukkuk: “Now the justified in Christ shall live by faith; But I will take no pleasure in the one who turns away” God is not pleased with one who “turns back” from Him after making a commitment, but those who live by faith will never draw back, because they are kept by the Holy Spirit who assures us that we will continue with Christ until the end
Ephesians 1:13-14(NLT)3 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
So the Christian life is one lived by faith in the God who saved us, empowers us, seals us for heaven, and by whose power we are kept forever. The day-to-day life of faith is one that grows and strengthens as we seek God in His Word and through prayer and as we unite with other Christians whose goal of Christlikeness is similar to our own.