by Aaron Cloud
In the book of Romans Paul reminds us of the reality that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin, or what we rightly deserve because of our sin against God, is death and separation relationally from God. However, the good news of the Christian faith is that we are all “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood to be received by faith” (Romans 3:24-25). In other words, in Christ we are offered forgiveness of our sins and an invitation to a new life in Christ. The new life we have in Christ is one in which we have been set free from sin and death (Romans 6:11)!
The new life that we have in Jesus means that we are no longer who we used to be. Our old self, and our old life, is put to death and we are transformed and made new. Paul says this in a striking way in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” This invitation into new life in Christ is not something that we receive passively but rather we are invited into a new way of living. In short, our lives will never be the same! As Paul describes this process in Ephesians 4, he encourages followers of Christ to “put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” In other words we are to live out of the truth of who we are becoming in Christ.
So here is the core question: How do we live into this new life?
Respond to the invitation of Jesus
New life in Jesus is not something that we do on our own strength. Rather, it is Jesus who makes us new. Romans 6:6 tells us that our old self was done away with, it was crucified with Christ. This means step one is acknowledging who Jesus is—the Son of God—and His sacrifice for us, and responding to this by putting our faith in Him.
Reflect: Have you responded to Jesus' call to follow Him? In not, in prayer offer your life to Jesus, confessing that you are a sinner and need His grace and forgiveness. If you are a Christ-follower spend a moment in prayer thanking God that He has set you free and for the new person He is creating you to be!
Responding to Jesus call to follow Him means that we must surrender our lives to Him. Jesus then is not only our Savior but is the Lord of our life as well. He sets the agenda of our lives. This means that there are old habits and patterns of living that must be confessed and surrendered to Jesus.
Practice: Read through Colossians 3:5-11. Which of these old life characteristics are present in your life and need to be confessed and put to death? In prayer ask Jesus to help you put to death the old life practices and dispositions that Paul mentions.
Cultivate New Practices
Living out our new life in Christ also involves the cultivation of new practices, new ways of living and new dispositions as we actively pursue a relationship with Jesus. The following are key components that we can proactively build into our lives:
Spiritual Disciplines: Such as prayer, reading the Bible and corporate worship become key means of knowing Christ more and opening our lives to his ongoing work of transformation in us.
Practice: HERE is a list of more disciplines. Read through the list and pick a discipline to implement in your spiritual journey.
Develop New Habits
In the daily course of life there are new ways that Jesus calls us to live. in Colossians 3:12-17 Paul describes these habits and dispositions as a new way of living in Jesus.
Read Colossians 3:12-17. What habits and new ways of living need to be cultivated in your life?
Engage in Christian Community
It is vital in our relationship with Jesus to make gathering in Christian community a core practice in our lives. Hebrews 10:24-25 highlights the importance of being a part of Christian community: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Weekly communal worship becomes a place where we can encourage one another and continue to learn and grow in our faith journey.
Reflect: Are you actively engaged in Christian community? How has it been a blessing and encouragement in your faith journey?
God has made each one of us with unique gifts and personalities. As we follow Jesus, He calls us to offer our lives and our gifts and talents in service to Him. 1 Peter 4:10 tells us that “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” As we serve we not only become a blessing to others but serving becomes a means of spiritual growth and maturity in our lives.
Reflect: What talents and abilities has God blessed you with? How might you serve others with your gifts, talents and abilities?