“So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of a new creation” 2 Cor. 5:17
Rick had grown up in the family church, always doing the right things, what was expected of him by his pastor father and grandfather. He was the “good boy” they could depend on and were proud of. Many times they would totally embarrass him by asking him to testify in church or youth group about some super-Christian exploit of devotion to God. Obediently, Rick responded with a pious smile and contrite heart. On the outside!
Rick was not evil nor was he a new person. Rick had never actually felt the need to ask Christ to change him since he seemed to be pleasing everyone the way he was. Why change if I am sort of perfect he thought. Only his best friend Erick knew the truth and Erick would never tell.
Life as he knew it came to a screeching halt at a major youth camp jamboree, uniting hundreds of teens from the state. Rick was the head counselor and senior staff. Dependable Rick. Not saved. No faith in Christ but certainly dependable.
Rick’s dad, on the second night, called his son to the microphone to give yet another testimony to encourage everyone. That was the fateful night. Striding to the mike, smiling at his dad, Rick knew it was time for the truth.
The applause died down and Rick paused, looking at the crowd of teens awaiting his words of wisdom and then his father. He bowed his head and said, “I have no faith. I have always been a good person, doing everything expected of me but I have no faith in Christ. I have never seen the need for asking Jesus into my heart as my father would say because my life has always pleased him as it is. I am so sorry but I have nothing to share tonight.”
That short, honest speech brought the walls down on Rick’s life as he knew it and it was ten years before Rick wandered his way through a mediocre, half-baked life into the arms of a loving Savior who gave him new life at his earnest request.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 So then, from this point on we won’t recognize people by human standards. Even though we used to know Christ by human standards; that isn’t how we know him now. So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!
Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Colossians 3:1-4 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:13-16 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Philippians 2:1-4 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Becoming a new person is not something I strain at doing, it is a gift from almighty God through my faith in Jesus Christ. Life is spiritual warfare, not slugging it out in the flesh. Therefore, leaving the former life behind is possible only through a daily walk with Jesus as he cuts a swath through the seemingly impassable jungle of life for us. By faith we follow!