WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
“But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”
Ephesians 4: 20-23 (ESV)
“In Christ we are born again!” – or so the saying goes.
What does it really mean to be “born again”? The Bible speaks of rebirth that is present in all of us—that we have died to sin and are now made alive in Christ—but many of us still struggle with seeing our own renewal. To many of us, salvation only brings more shame and insecurity.
We oftentimes liken being “born again” to being made perfect. In Him, after all, we are made blameless—or again, the saying goes. The appeal for salvation and renewal for many of us lies in this idea of constant repair. We view God as a quick fix. Things will magically get better. Our old selves will disappear overnight.
Surely with notions like that we are bound to stumble and face crippling frustrations! Do not confuse your eternal salvation in Jesus (His perfect work on the Cross that reconciles sinners to Father) with daily sanctification of self (“to put off your old self”; “to be renewed in the spirit of your minds”). There is an intentional action of the person.
Salvation does not equate to instantaneous liberation from our trials. To truly accept Christ—and to be rid our old selves—is to surrender. It knows that we fight a battle that has already been won through His death and resurrection. We are eternally His and nothing can snatch us from His hands. And even then, our carnal nature forever yearns to be united with our old selves. Therefore, we abandon our old selves. Therein lies the beauty of the risen Christ! The act of renewing oneself to Christ is both a finished and a conscious act. Each day we shall struggle and fall—but each day we shall again take refuge in the fact that we are made anew. Daily we continue to cling to Jesus. And by God’s grace, we will keep fighting our deceitful nature until the day we are called home with Him.
To be born again is to surrender all that you are—including all yearning in favor of yearning for Him.
To truly be saved by Christ is not just a matter of stating your belief in His resurrection from the dead. It is not simply recognition of His grace’s existence. It is neither the citation of name nor creed. To truly know Christ as Lord, and to know His salvation, is to cling fervently and boldly to His teachings and actions — it is to abide in Him daily, and to choose Him daily. It is to incorporate His grace into every facet of our lives. It is to take the finality of His cross-enabled grace and run with it in obedience. Even if, and when, we fall.
Are there facets of salvation that we struggle to accept? Are there wrong notions of salvation that we stubbornly cling on to? How can you challenge yourself to better see and apply Christ’s commands and mercy in your life?