After what seemed like a lifetime of no heat, no air conditioning, and mechanical trouble at every turn, Pastor James finally purchased a new car. Gone are the days of worrying about how far he will get before he breaks down and where is the nearest service station or mechanic. Through much prayer and a phone call that came out of nowhere, God miraculously gifted Pastor James with something he needed and wanted for the longest time... Security.
It wasn't so much a new car that he wanted but the confidence that he would get from point A to point B without the assistance of AAA. In the many conversations that him and I have had we both agreed on one thing, in the end, as nice as it may look and smell, it's only a car. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not staying that we shouldn't thank God for this special gift because many people are not in the position financially to purchase a new car. What I am saying is this, the new car like everything else will someday get old. Eventually it will lose that new car smell.
Isn’t that the pattern of the things of this word? Everything sooner or later becomes old. You purchase or receive something and for a short period of time, it physically and emotionally has a shine to it. And after a while, just like the Pastor’s car, it loses that new car smell. This can happen with a new job that you thought would make you financially secure or a new relationship in which you though you would live happily ever after. Everything over time, without Jesus, gets old.
That’s why Jesus told us not to put much stock into the things of this world because He knew they only have momentary value. In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us, “Do not store up treasure here on earth where moths eat them and rust destroys them.” What did He mean? Moths and rust are a symbol of the aftermath to things that have become outdated. Anyone who ever put old clothes in a dusty attic or looked at a leaky pipe under their sink will know exactly what I mean. Jesus sends us a warning that if we put all our hope in this aging, dying world, everything will eventually be of no value. This world, and everything in it is going from new to old.
John seems to echo Jesus’ thought when he writes, “Do not love the world or anything in the world… For everything thing that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, (things we have) the lust of the eyes, (things we want) and the pride of life, comes not from the Father but from the world… The world and its desires are passing away (getting old)…” (1 John 2:15-17 NIV). John says everything that does not come from our heavenly Father will one day go from sparkling new to very old. He seems to confirm the very thoughts of Jesus that the things of this world start out new but end up old, forgotten, and eventually gone. Everything loses that new car smell.
Everything except for one… Our Faith in Jesus.
That never grows old. In fact Christianity goes totally against the “new to old” current that the world lives under. When a person puts their trust in Jesus, their lives never go from New to Old but miraculously they go from Old to Brand New… Honestly, do you really think of yourself as being brand new? Now you may be thinking like I did, that my life became different when I became a Christian. And it did, but the change came because of one simple reason… Because He made you brand new… Sadly, most of us Christians don’t think of ourselves like that do we, that we are brand new?
Most of us know that we have been changed but may not even be sure how this change came about. Paul writes, “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a NEW creation…” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) Not a changed or modified creation, a NEW creation. God didn’t pick away the bad parts of me and leave whatever good was left. He totally created a new spiritual person through His Son Christ Jesus. My thought patterns are new. My speech is new. My desires and goals are new. My attractions to sinful things don’t master over me any longer… Nothing other than my physical body is left of the old person I use to be.
Now this doesn’t mean that the devil doesn’t continually try to influence or tempt my sinful nature to go back and live through that old self. That’s a fight we won’t stop waging until Jesus returns. But one of the things Satan wants me to forget and to take my focus off of is this… I’m NEW in Christ Jesus. All new? Did He leave anything of my old nature behind? Not according to Paul, “Old things have passed away. Behold ALL THINGS have become new.” I have to ask God for the Grace to continually remind myself, against the toughest attacks by Satan, that even though at times I may not feel like it, I am a new creation in Christ Jesus.
All through the New Testament the thought of a fresh start and being made “New” is an underlying theme. Paul teaches this message to the Ephesians church when he writes, “for we are God’s handiwork CREATED in Christ Jesus to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV) The picture here is of God forming and creating something from scratch. Not refurbishing old parts but making something brand new. The Christian life is about fresh starts and new beginnings. In Hebrews, we are told that all our sins will be totally forgiven never to be remembered or held against us. That’s a wonderful, new fresh start. Jesus told Nicodemus about being “Born Again.” This concept confused Nicodemus making him think that Jesus was implying that he had to physically return to his mother’s womb. True to this ongoing theme, Jesus meant you had to have a new birth in your Spirit in order to be privileged enough to enter His Kingdom. In other words, no matter what your past life may look like or anything else you might have done, like a new born baby being born for the first time, Jesus can make you brand new.
Now physically you may feel worn and tired. Sadly our bodies are part of a dying creation that is destined for decay. But many of us who feel the aches and pains in life physically can rest on the fact that our Spirits have been and will continually be made new. In 2 Corinthians, Paul addresses the momentary physical pain we as Christians may sometimes endure. “Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV) He goes on to refer to these affliction as light and momentary. Our bodies may be breaking down but inwardly we are being made new on a daily basis. The reward we will receive when these old bodies finally waste away is to see Him face to face.
This message of informing His people about being made new was so important that it was one of the initial instructions given to our first century ancestors. The book of Acts tells us that at the origin of the Christian church, the disciples were “performing many signs and wonders among the people.” And because of this, the religious leaders got jealous and threw them all in prison. Later that night, an angel of the Lord opened the jail and brought them out. Once they were freed the angel gave this command to them and future believers when he told them this, “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell all the people about this NEW life.” (Acts 5:20 NIV) Not a modified life. Not a different life… This New Life…
Now this verse goes contrary to many of the answers I have given to people over the years about what was different in the way I now live. Because of peer pressure or being ashamed, I would say meaningless things like, “I don’t do those things anymore,” or “I’m different now.” These were poor excuses and totally contrary to the angels command. This angel tells us the most powerful way to spread the message of our new found salvation. The angel said, “tell the people about this ‘NEW’ life.” You see, people who don’t even know Jesus have the will power to change their lives. Many people have made a total turn around in their own strength to quit drinking or do drugs or whatever habit that had them held back. You see it all the time on these paid infomercials how through meditation or yoga people have pulled themselves off the mat to change their entire life around. But with us who believe, our transformation is totally different. We are the only people who can boast, not that we had a self powered life changing experience but that we were given a whole new life. Not revised or refurbished but truly brand new.
Many times when I write these short messages I pray and ask God that it may bless and encourage those of you who may be reading them. This message hits close to home for me. I need God’s Grace to comprehend that because of His love for me. I’m not only changed because of Christ Jesus, I’m a NEW person in Christ Jesus. Someone once said that “The walk of a Christian consists of 1000 new beginnings.” Only in Christ Jesus can the old become brand new…
Just Something to Consider