Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).
On January 22, 1999, the Lord delivered me from drug addiction. He removed the desire for drugs and alcohol and replaced it with a deep desire for Him. He began a good work in me—one that He promises to complete until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:5). My deliverance was so immediate and drastic, it was obvious to everyone who knew me that the Lord had done something miraculous!
Yes, my new life is a bonafide miracle. And if you are in Christ, so is yours! As a Christian, the Lord says that we are “new creations,” equipped with new hearts that will desire new things and will live a new life.
When is the last time you really thought about that? When you do reflect on it, what do you think? Do you walk in that truth or do you think things like, I'm definitely better, but I’m not sure about new?
While it’s difficult for some of us to believe this amazing truth because we still see sin in our lives, I want to encourage you to change your thinking. Yes, we still struggle with sin, but we are new, not perfect. Because of the very fact that you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re not the same person.
Consider these three beautiful truths:
- Christians have new hearts.
- Christians have new desires.
- Christians have new life!
A New Heart
“I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26).
The first thing God does when He saves us is to give us a heart that’s sensitive to His Spirit and able to be shaped by His Word. Considering that we are told to guard our heart, for out of it flows the issues of life (Prov. 4:23), it makes sense that the Lord begins His work there. Maybe you think things like, I’ve got so much growing to do . . . or My heart still ain’t right! . . . or I don’t feel new.
Well, beloved, feelings are real, but they are not facts . . . and the fact is that the moment you and I confessed with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believed in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we were saved. From that day forward, we are being made new. Pretty astounding, right?
Oh, this was good news to me, because nineteen years ago, I desperately needed to be made new! And truth is I’m still in need, and I'm still being made new. Our justification is instantaneous, but our sanctification is a process, so press toward the mark and be patient with yourself. He is taking us from one degree of glory to the next (2 Cor. 3:18).
With A New Heart Comes Freedom
Before the Lord called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), we were slaves to sin. Sin was our master, and it was a taskmaster! Consider the number of times you said, I’m not going to do that again or I’m not going to respond like that again, but found yourself unable to exercise any control.
For some reading this, you may remember indulging in sexual sin and even being soul-sick over it, but yet you had no power to resist. Or some of us were so completely self-centered in our thinking that we had no regard for others. Or perhaps you were consumed with jealousy and covetousness or anger and unforgiveness.
I remember wanting to be free from drugs and its accompanying sin years before I stopped. And when the Lord delivered me from those most obvious signs of my total depravity, I still struggled with heart issues: resentment, lying, greed, lust. Before the Lord’s grace in my life, I had no choice but to “be that person.” My friends, that’s bondage.
Here’s the good news: The Lord died to set us free! His Word says that those whom the Son sets free will be free indeed (John 8:36). Do you believe God’s Word? We will not be perfect this side of glory, but we are being perfected (Heb. 10:14). We aren't yet what we're going to be, but we aren't what we used to be either. God says we have actually been reborn. My prayer is that we would believe God and embrace our new life, live free from regret of our sinful past, and walk boldly as children full of His Spirit.
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). Delight means to be pleased greatly, captivated, charmed, thrilled. Does that describe your relationship with Christ?
The fruit of being captivated, greatly pleased, charmed, and thrilled by Him is that He will actually give you the things you desire. You will want new things . . . godly things . . . things that are consistent with the new person that the Holy Spirit is crafting. We will want things that the Lord would be pleased to give us.
That doesn't mean we won't ever be tempted with fleshly desires, because we will—we are still sinners. But the deepest desire of our heart will be to please the Lord, so we will war against our flesh that wants otherwise. We will resist the devil until he flees (James 4:7).
Beloved, we are walking with Jesus now. We are “dead to sin” and have different desires. What a beautiful reality—that as a Christian, we are dead to things that we used to live for. Romans 6:10–11 says, "The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Oh, I hope you get that! Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe! So when the enemy tempts you with your old sin of choice, remember that "you are dead to that."
When I stopped smoking cigarettes thirteen years ago, I remember a good friend telling me that if I find myself thinking, I want a cigarette, that I should simply say to myself, That's crazy, you don't smoke! Why would I want a cigarette if I don't smoke? Likewise, why would you want that sin when you are dead to that? Again, we are in a process, we will still battle ungodly desires, we are to be careful to “make no provision for sin,” and we fight, knowing that the power that is in us enables us to “want” it without giving into that desire. We are now free!
A New Life
If our hearts are new, and we now want new things, and we are doing new things— that equates to new life, loved ones!
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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 (Rom. 6:1–4).
What does it mean to “walk in newness of life”? This new life is something that we have to participate in. It’s a gift we have been given, but we must live it out. Even though the good work has begun, we are in a maturation process and it takes time to grow. At the moment of conversion, the Holy Spirit, who is our helper, came to live within us. He is the source of our power. But we must “be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Beloved, if you don’t get anything else, please get this: You and I are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Do you see that? God’s workmanship . . . we are something that God is preparing, shaping and molding for His purposes.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, the apostle Paul launches into a list of sins that characterize the life of one who is not saved—called the unrighteous—and in verse 11, he says this: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
We are not supposed to dwell on or glorify our sinful past, but I believe that God highlights those sins and reminds us that we were once slaves to those things for a reason. But thanks be to God that He came on a rescue mission, and we are now called “the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Listen, our lives are not to be characterized by sin. We have new hearts and new desires and new life in Christ. “The old has passed away, BEHOLD, all things have become new!”
John MacArthur says that “maturing means we will sin less but we will feel worse.” What he means is that we won’t be sinless (not this side of glory), but walking with the Lord creates intimacy and closeness. Therefore, the light of Christ shines brighter and hits all the cracks and crevices in our lives. We have been given new hearts that have become intolerant to sin. More and more, we lose the ability to be okay with even the slightest sin. A harsh word becomes a big deal. A good deed left undone becomes something that bothers us. No more “big sin and little sin.” God hates it all, and so do we!
My friends, my desire is that if you are a woman who came to the Lord having had a very sinful and sorted past, that you would know that you are no less pure than the little six-year-old girl who came to know the Lord at VBS.
If you are the six-year old who came to the Lord in VBS, I want you to recognize that you needed to be saved and redeemed as much as the sixty-year-old ex-prostitute, and you should give God praise for that.
If you are a sister who did not come to the Lord as a virgin, you are still marriage material. And if you are a sister who has kept yourself pure and deeply desires a husband, know that you are fully new and complete in Christ alone.
If you are the one who had a child out of wedlock but are now part of the Bride of Christ, you are not disqualified. And if you got married at eighteen, have four beautiful children, and are still married to the same man, Christ must still have first place in your heart.
The truth is, Christian sister, we all have been washed in the blood of Jesus and He says we are clean and that He is now our treasure. Go forth as a redeemed daughter of the King—glorifying Him with your new life!