The most beautiful gift that God has given us is salvation through the death of His son Jesus on the cross. Without it, our life would be meaningless. But beware, there are areas of our life that will not have changed after our salvation!
Born again Christians all know this verse and appreciate it very much. “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 NKJV). Our spirit was dead, we had no relationship with God. But thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, our spirit received life, and we can now declare ourselves children of God (John 1:12), heirs of the promise (Romans 8:17), and we have access to the throne of grace. (Ephesians 2:18).
But when this verse says that “all things have become new,” it talks about the spiritual part of our life. If we had black hair on the day of our salvation, it will still be black after we make our declaration of faith. Our body does not change. If we weren’t very good at math before our salvation, we won’t become Einsteins the instant we give our lives to God. Our intelligence does not change. And on the same note, many of our habits will not change in an instant. Yes, the Spirit of God who comes to dwell in us on the day of our salvation can deliver us from some issues right away. But in most areas of our lives, the work has only just begun.
Before our salvation, since our spirit was dead, we made our decisions based on our carnal desires (the body) or our emotions or intelligence (the soul). Once saved, we must now let our spirit take control. And that requires a “reprogramming” of our command center, a big change in our ways (Romans 8:9-11). In biblical terms, this reprogramming is called “the renewing of our mind”. “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24 NKJV).
To renew our minds, we must fill our minds with the Word of God by studying it regularly. We also need to keep our thoughts in Christ by continually praying. We can stay in the spirit by worshipping God and putting our talents at His service. When we have a decision to make, we need to take the time to think about: What does my body want? What do my emotions desire? And what does my spirit want? It is when we make the decision to follow our spirit that we will truly walk in newness of life. But it takes practice!
Remembering that we are in a process is necessary to motivate us to develop our disciple’s ear (Isaiah 50:4), to be ready to follow Christ (Luke 9:23). But it also encourages us to believe in the forgiveness and healing that flows from the cross. If we have been sincere in our repentance, even though we do not feel forgiven, we can believe that this sin has indeed lost its hold on us (Romans 6:22). If we are tempted again, it is because our habits have not yet changed. We can therefore refuse the condemnation from the enemy. Just because we still feel the desire to sin does not mean that we have not been forgiven or delivered. When Christ delivers us, He does it completely. Then all we have to do is change our habits.
So let’s reject thoughts like “You haven’t really been forgiven … You haven’t really been delivered … You aren’t really saved …”! When temptation comes, let’s instead proclaim our new identity in Christ and take authority over our thoughts. “My habits are changing, but I am 100% forgiven and have all authority in Christ to resist temptation and to deny these doubts!” Today, let us refuse discouragement. We are born again but in the process of greater maturity.