Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year: New Person

It's the time of year when life "resets". Taxable income goes back to zero, the calendar starts afresh, new semesters start in school and the moon changes! This year we'll have a "New Moon" at 1:14 am January 1st. After waning in December, the New Mean will wax in January! Time starts afresh!

January 1st is a great time for renewal. Just as nature resets itself, we can reset as well. That's why people make New Year's Resolutions. It's a good time to do so because the New Year is the advent of refreshing. We can reflect on where we've been and what's ahead!  If there are things about ourselves which we dislike, we can take this time to plan for change.(Yes, the moon changes. It's part of God's plan too!)

All men and women are born an "old man". That man is the sinful self. It's the original sin we have because we're human. Even new-born babies are "old men" in the sense that they are "born to sin", just as the "old man" Adam. Children have a tendency to sin, even in their innocence! They lie when they're caught. It's natural. They rebel when they're told "no", and they "worship" themselves. Life is all about them!

People refer to me as "an old man". Chronologically, I have aged and matured in wisdom,  but I'm not an "old man"!

Romans 6:6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him (Jesus), that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Explaining the signficance of Baptism).

Where once all mankind served sin, after Christ was crucified life itself was renewed. Sin was "reset"! No longer would we have to attempt to "be good enough" to balance out the evil we do. That didn't work. Mankind failed miserably! Christ's crucifixion signaled a "new year" in that all men could approach God differently than each had before. Rather than facing God with fear, his crucifixion replaced our fear with love! God "resolved" that his grace was sufficient to cover all our sin. He was so committed to saving us that he made the ultimate sacrifice; his own life! Now that's truly a "New Year"!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. "

"In Christ" means being "reborn". Although man is born once in the flesh, grace provides the way for the spirit to be "born". We are mind, body and spirit. Mybody were born on a certain date, but my spirit followed 14 years later. That's when I was born again! That's when I was "in Christ". After being reborn it's expedient that I renew my mind to reconcile it to my body and spirit.

Since I was "reset" when I was born again in Christ, I'm a "new creation". Just as a New Moon and New Year resets the old year, acceptance of Jesus into my life makes me a new creation. I'm a "new man".

Ephesians 4:22 " That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
At salvation we are "reset". Our slate is wiped clean. The "old man" is dead and we become a "new man". Why then do we still live in a contant state of sin? Our mind has yet to be "reset"! We are to be "renewed in the spirit of our mind". Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak! Paul said that! Baptism is symbolic of the death and burial of the "old man" and his sinful ways, and the raising out of the water is representative of the "new man" and our renewal by the blood of Jesus. Water symbolically wiped away our sins and cleaned the slate, so to speak. We are still sinners, but all past sins are forgotten!  Now the "new man" starts afresh. His New Year has started!
Here's about the best explnation for our "New Year" that can be found:
2 Corinthians 5:17 ( ESV) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. "
Reconciliation is God bringing us into his will. We don't have to do it on our own. His spirit communes with our spirit and if we listen, we do God's will! It's God's will that we be reconciled, but we have a little responsibility on our own. We're to "reset":
Colossians 3:9   (ESV) "Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."
We are the ones who do the "reset". Yes, Christ has already pushed the button which rewinds our life, but we have to respond to the buttons' push. He provided the "current" (spirit) to erase the old RAM (our life), but we program the now cleared memory (our minds)! We change our practices. We quit being of the world and reveling in the pleasures of the world.
Christians, if they are truly born-again" are new persons and their destinyis reset. Where once they were bound for spiritual death they now are to have eternal life! Now, that's renewal!  However, after salvation we are "saved sinners". Sinning is a choice we make with each sin. Although that is our predisposition, it''s till up to us whether to cave or not to cave (to temptation).  Remember that we are prone to sin, but we don't have to! Renewing our minds is doing our part to do the will of God. After salvation we are still told to keep his commandments. However, rather than keeping commandments to save our lousy sinful souls, we keep his commandments because our desire is to do his will. Understanding that is the "renewal of the mind". We have a new attitude about God!
Back to the "New Year". It's easy to see that so many Christians have yet to renew their mind. This is the best time of year to "reset" how we're living right now. Are we doing what Jesus would do? Are we being Christlike? Take this opportunity to reset your life and reconcile it with God. There is no better time than now, and that time just happens to be the time of renewal... "New Years!"

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