Change Is Thrilling, Not Threatening; The Joy of Being A New Creation In Christ Jesus
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Sanctification is the daily work of the Holy Spirit of God, setting you apart for His service. The moment you become a Christian, the sanctification process begins. This means that God will begin to show you your sins of commission (things that you do that you should not do) along with sins of omission (things that are not in your life that ought to be present). You are a work in progress (Philippians 1:6), and each day you should be making spiritual strides to be more like Christ. The moment you give your heart to Christ, this transformational process begins. You will begin to walk differently, talk differently, think differently and act differently. You will be delightfully different for Jesus! Why; because you are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Because of this, you are to daily yield to God, die to self by exchanging old habits for new habits (Philippians 1:21), and put off the old so you can put on the new (Ephesians 4:22-24).
But this is not to say that when a person trusts Christ, they no longer wrestle with old and sinful ways. We will always fight our fleshly desires as long as we are on this side of heaven. For the battle we fight is not against flesh and blood, but the spiritual forces of the devil (Ephesians 6:12). Our sin nature will be in opposition to this spiritual transformation, and we will not always submissively yield to the sanctifying hand of our Lord. But there should still be spiritual progress. Sure, you will occasionally take a step back spiritually, but in the overall grand spectrum of your life journey, there ought to be a forward progress in your growth with the Lord. You should be closer to God and more like Jesus right now than you were this time last year. And the same thing ought to be said about the year prior year as well.
On two separate occasions, the apostle Peter addressed this need for individual spiritual growth. He said that just like newborn babies, we are to yearn and long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it we may grow in respect to salvation (I Peter2:2). He also wrote that we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). On a more corporate level, the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:14-16 had the growth and development of the church in mind when he told believers that they were to “no longer be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, they were to grow up in all aspects into Christ who is the head of the Church.”
Christians are designed to grow spiritually. God did not design His children to be stagnant. We are to be moving forward in our spiritual pilgrimage. We should grow in godliness, and it is something that should be seen as thrilling rather than threatening. But unfortunately for some, change is threatening. It is a threat because it ventures into the unknown. The familiarity of sin serves as a comfort, and the thought of abandoning sin can be uncomfortable. Change can be hard for some people to accept, because it requires doing something new or omitting something old.
But this is where our faith in God must enter the picture. We must submissively yield to the good and sanctifying hand of God, knowing that He has our best interests in mind (Romans 8:28) as we are changed for His glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). May this be our prayer; that we be a changed people, and see this transformation something that is thrilling rather than threatening!
– Pastor Eric