Summary: New Year's: We all get excited about new things and a fresh start, but this message speaks about another kind of new beginning, which is receiving a brand new spiritual life as a child of God!
As you all know, the New Year is upon us. The entrance of the New Year is an exciting moment for most people, and I think this is because we look forward to and anticipate having new experiences. We look at the New Year as a fresh start on life, and we somehow feel that this coming year is going to be a whole lot better than the last one. We’re leaving the past behind and looking ahead to a brighter future.
We feel that maybe we failed at dieting last year, but this year we’ll succeed at losing those fifty pounds. We feel that maybe we didn’t get that raise that we wanted last year because we didn’t impress the boss, but this year we’ll do a whole lot better at our job. In our spiritual life we might feel as though we failed in setting aside time to read God’s Word and pray, but we’re certain that we’ll succeed this year.
New Years is a time of new beginnings, and we all get excited about new things! A great many of us see this New Year as a new start on life, and as a joyous thing; however, this morning I want to speak to you about another kind of new beginning and another kind of fresh start. I want to talk about something that’s a whole lot more exciting than a New Year. I want to speak to you about receiving a brand new life. More specifically, I want to talk about receiving a brand new spiritual life as a child of God!
We get really excited when we think about gaining a fresh start on life, but what if I told you that you could do something greater than just improve your physical life? What if I told you that you could be transformed into a new creation? That would be exciting news, amen? Well, the Bible tells us that we can indeed become a new creation, and I want to share that awesome news with you right now!
A Spiritual Metamorphosis (v. 17)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
In verse 17, we see a wonderful promise made: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” So, we see here that if we’re “in” Christ we will receive newness of life. But what does it mean to be “in” Christ? If you are in Christ, then you’re a Christian. The word “Christian,” though, is not a title for a certain belief system that you possibly held since you were a child, and it’s not a word that means someone who goes to church once a week. It’s someone who tries to live his life as though he was actually an extension of Christ Himself.
The word Christian means, “little Christ,” and it denotes oneness with Christ Jesus. It is someone who lives his entire life for Jesus. Go back to verse 15, and you’ll see where it says, “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” Therefore, if you call yourself a Christian, then remember that you’re someone who’s supposed to be living your entire life for Jesus and not for yourself. So how is this done?
According to Romans 6:3-5, being “in” Christ is becoming as one with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It’s doing as the apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20 when he declared, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” A Christian is a person who has crucified his flesh or his sinful nature; or rather, he has “put it aside” in order that he be raised, or resurrected, into newness of life with Christ Jesus.
The way that we crucify the sinful nature is to admit to God that we’re living in sin, for Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We must then ask forgiveness for our sins and admit that we believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins when He died on the cross. We must also believe that Jesus rose from the grave in order to conquer the sin and death that has been reigning in our life. If we do these things, according to Romans 10:9, we will be saved.
When we’re saved, it means that we’ve been rescued from the death of sin. If we will confess our sin, then according to Job 33:25-26, our “flesh shall be young like a child’s” and we “shall return to the days of [our] youth.” If we’ll just allow Christ to forgive us of our sins, and then start living our life for Him, then we’ll be transformed into a new creation in a spiritual sense.