New life in Jesus

Out with the Old then In with the New

It’s that time of the year when people want make resolutions to do something new…or do they want to stop doing the old?

Doesn’t it make sense to say out with the old, then in with the new? For how can we create new habits without getting rid of the old ones? Or at least how could the new habits be of any benefit unless we quit the old ones?

This is why before … :

  • we can experience a new birth (Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. – John 3:5)
  • we can be given a new heart and mind (For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.Hebrews 8:10….see Ezekiel 36:25-27 also)
  • we can enjoy a new future (Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. – Colossians 3:2-4)

…we must repent of the old… :

  • way of living (Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.Colossians 3:5-6)
  • way of thinking (And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.Romans 12:2)
  • fate we were heading for (And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.Luke 13:2-3)

After all, if we don’t make room for the new resolutions by clearing out the old habits then how can we expect to see any difference in our life? Unless we see a difference for the better the wrong thing becomes more resolute! This is why we must clean out the old of 2015 before we bring in the new of 2016.

Happy New Year! EA

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We Are Living Letters

Paul told the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 3:2,“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

The context of the quoted verse deals with someone obviously questioning Paul’s “authority or permission” to speak or come to the church at Corinth, so Paul responds by saying the changed hearts and lives of the Corinthian Christians were letters of approval in and of themselves.

The walking and living letters of the people were the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s approval and work though Paul. The changes in their lives were brought on by a power above and beyond the ability of a “mere man.” It happened because of the changing power of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16-17). They had become people who were born of the “incorruptible seed, the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23); and that seed had produced its fruit in their heart with a change visible to their family, friends and neighbors.

So what does the “epistle of our life” say to others? A brother by the name of Marshall Keeble once put it like this, and continues to on a copy of his sermon I have, when he said “every one of you sitting there tonight wrote a letter today, I don’t know what you put in it, if you might’ve cussed it’s in there….

His point was related to the one that the apostle Paul was making: we are living epistles and we put everything in it from the letters to the punctuation and people are reading what we write!

So what’s in our letter? Can the people we know tell there’s power in the gospel by the influence it has on our lives? Can they see the restraint it places on certain areas while at the same time seeing the freedom given by it? Can they see that we wear Jesus? (Galatians 3:26-29)

There’s not a single person that calls his or herself a Christian that can boast of having a “perfect epistle” read by all and written all by themselves, but Paul is saying that our letters of life are meant to read differently from the letters written by those who live in the world (Ephesians 5:1-21).

Christians must make a deliberate choice to change the way we live everyday. We still see the “red marks” on our paper but we are willing to admit to them and then allow the “teacher” to correct them. We try to do better and we trust in the blood of Christ to be the “correcting fluid” that blots them out (1 John 1:1:7-9).

What’s in our heart and what stays in there is up to us. We are the evidence of the power of the gospel or we are not. The gospel is not written in stone like the Old Covenant, but one that’s meant to be written on the tender flesh of our heart; and Christ had it written through His blood so we could have it written there.

Let the example and love of Jesus write a new chapter of life for you today – obey the gospel of Christ and be a living letter for Jesus. EA

““Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:36-42)