HAVE YOU BEEN MADE NEW?
I attended a church a few years ago during which the pastor gave an altar call at the end of service. His call to receive salvation asked, “does anyone want a fresh start? If you want a fresh start, raise your hand and Jesus will give you that new beginning.”
Hmmm. Well, that sounds nice! A fresh start?!?! I could use that! I sure had a lot of sin, wickedness, rebellion, poor choices, and bad consequences from which I would love to take a mulligan. Great! I’ll take that fresh start!
That pastor, however, said nothing about the true Gospel message – Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins and Christ raised from the dead so we can have the power of His Holy Spirit to live free from the bondage of sin. There was no mention that salvation meant turning away from my sin and pursuing Jesus with everything and in everything.
Simply receiving a “fresh start” does not mean you have been made new. Sure, Jesus casts your sins as far as the east is to the west and remembers them no more (Psalm 103:12). But that is IF YOU REPENT. And true repentance means a turning away from your sins (1 John 3:6-7). The truth is that one cannot actually receive a fresh start without putting to death one’s old self.
“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
The Apostle Paul is explaining to the church in Corinth that being made new means the old things have passed. And because he was writing to a CHURCH, he was speaking to those who claimed to be Christians. So, Christian – God’s Word is asking you that same question today: have you been made new? Think about the moment you accepted Jesus into your life. The moment you prayed that salvation prayer, or raised your hand in response to a pastor’s altar call.
What were your desires before that day? Has your heart now been changed to desire the things of God? “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
What was your behavior and conduct before that day? Can others now see the love and forgiveness of Jesus in you? “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also MUST DO.” Colossians 3:12-13
What governed your life and whom did you seek to please before that day? Have you now set aside your plans to live fully for Jesus’ will and purpose? “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
The mark of a Christian is a changed life. If your life has not been changed, then have you truly been saved and set free?