“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).
“In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:22-24 NASB).
“…since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Colossians 3:9b-10 NASB).
So many Christians struggle when it comes to walking the walk. The only thing I can think of as a solution is for us to simply take God at his word. In the above verses we are told in Christ we are a new creature needing to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. What, you might ask, does that really mean? Well, I’m glad you asked, and what it means is we are to start seeing ourselves the way God sees us with or without any outside confirmation.
According to the scriptures God created man in his image and likeness. What this means exactly, I think is sometimes lost on us; so let me put it this way. God is Spirit and created us so he might reveal himself. We were meant to be a visible expression of the invisible God. In fact Colossians says, speaking of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” The good news here is that Jesus was never meant to be alone in his role of expressing God. You see, he was to be the “firstborn among many…” This means through his death, burial, resurrection and ascension, and our union in him, we too are to be restored to our original purpose which is displaying the image of God.
As a Christian the Holy Spirit of God has moved in to our lives in a very real and tangible way. The Bible encourages us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is…” (Romans 12:2 NASB). You see what Paul is telling us over and over throughout his letters is we are a new creature in Christ, but many of us have yet to truly embrace this as true. We have grown so accustomed to living our lives by being led around by our feelings, when it comes to being a Christian we can’t seem to let go and simply believe what God says about us. The main reason is because we don’t always “FEEL” like a new creature. I like to tell people sometimes when I wake up in the morning I don’t “FEEL” married, but I am. Salvation is sort of like that. Just because you don’t feel it at any particular moment doesn’t change anything.
How does this new creature behave then, you might ask. The answer is found in every letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the early church. In fact his usual method of writing was to tell his readers who they were in Christ (Holy, blameless and perfect) and then move on to tell them how the new creature behaves. You see without knowing who and what we are in Christ first there is no way we will behave or live like it. The more I study Paul’s writings the more I am astounded at his genius. Of course I know God is the inspiration behind it but it was through Paul’s character and intellect that he expressed these things. This is yet another example of what I’m talking about here. Paul’s whole life had been transformed after his meeting with the risen Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, and the nature of the new man shined brighter and brighter through him from then on.
Holy, blameless and perfect you say! I’m not perfect! I’m only human! You see this is the type of thing I’m talking about here. We are so accustomed to seeing ourselves as dirty, rotten scoundrels we struggle when we read things such as “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before him…” (Ephesians 1:4 NASB). He has “raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…(Ephesians 2:6 NASB). “In him you have been made complete…(Colossians 2:10). “For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14 NASB).
When all is said and done, being renewed in the spirit of our mind means that we believe what God says about us as his new creation. Being a Christian means God placed us into Christ and we have been eternally joined to him through his death, burial, resurrection and ascension. If he is the exact representation, or express image, of the invisible God and he now dwells in us, by way of his Spirit, we too have been made complete. We have been restored to our proper place as the image bearer of the one and only invisible God. Our job, if you will, is to let the invisible God become visible to all that see us walking in our new found freedom won for us by Jesus Christ on the cross.