GET TOGETHER- OUR NEW IDENTITY
2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
This past Wednesday night I had a group of middle school boys in my class. We had the class in my office. In my office I have a picture of our high school football team the year that I was Senior at Dora High School. It helps me to appreciate life here on this side of glory on some days that may be a little challenging. I think that I have counted at least eight of my former teammates that have passed from this walk of life.
At the end of the class I asked the guys if they could pick Brother Preston out on the picture. Well they picked some out that I never thought that I quite resembled. And I am sure that some of them would be glad that I didn’t resemble them. To be honest much as changed in my physical appearance over the last fifty-two years. I weighed 182 pounds then. I go around 217 now. I wasn’t baldheaded then. So, it was quite understandable that these guys couldn’t pick me out on the picture.
All of us if we live long enough on the earth will have changes in our physical appearance as we age. That happens naturally. Even with all of the things that humans keep inventing to help us look younger and even with the best exercise plans. However, there is a supernatural change that needs to take place in our spirit man, or our hearts for us to live eternally. Jesus said it like this in Joh 3:3-5 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
When we are born again, we become as the Apostle Paul said in our opening verse a new creation. We were all born sinners Ro 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Our sin nature manifested in many ways in our lives. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth about what they used to be before they were born again. He said it like this “1Co 6:9 -11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Those believers at Corinth experienced a supernatural rebirth. They were not who they used to be. They were now new creations. They had been born again.
Paul is reminding the Corinthians that they are not who they used to be. They have been justified by faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ. Ro 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. They were sanctified. I know that some people say that these terms aren’t relevant, but they have been good for over two thousand years. The unholy has been made holy. The term for sanctified in the original language is hagiazo, hag-ee-ad’-zo. It means to cause someone to have the quality of holiness. These are people that once had temple prostitutes and performed sexual acts to appease the idols that they worshipped. He is affirming them now in their new identity and that they no longer have to be identified by their old identity.
My physical body although it looks different is still the same physical body that it was fifty-two years ago. However, because of the Blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit my inner man is not the same. If you have been born again your inner man is not the same as it used to be.
Perhaps you have an old picture of yourself. Let me ask you a question. Has your inner man, or as we like to say your heart been changed in the same way that Jesus told Nichodemus that one’s heart must be changed to enter into the Kingdom of heaven? Have you experienced that change that the Corinthians experienced that took you out of a sinful lifestyle and brought you into the Kingdom of God? If not God wants you to know that He loves you to much to leave you in a sinful destructive lifestyle. He sent His only begotten son Jesus Christ to the cross to die for you and me. He sent Him to save us from spending eternity in Hell separated from God. He sent Him so that we could live eternally with Him in Heaven and to experience life and life more abundantly here on earth. I pray that if you have that you will honor Him with your praise, worship and service. If you haven’t, I pray that you will let Him come and give you a new identity today.
I love that old hymn “Are You Washed In The Blood.” All of the verses are good, but here are a couple that I think go along with what Paul is saying. And how to enter that born again life that Jesus talked to Nichodemus about.
Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin
And be washed in the blood of the lamb
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean
O, be washed in the blood of the lamb
Are you washed in the blood
In the soul-cleansing blood of the lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?
Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus today we thank You that You came to seek and to save that which is lost. We thank You that You are in the business of giving those of us that have lived in gross sin a new identity. May we serve You in such a way that just as those young people could not recognize me on that picture that people cannot see our old sinful nature in us anymore, but see the light of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus Name
Love you all!