There are some things we know and some things we think we know but do not actually know. It is a certainty that although we who are saved by God's grace know we are saved, we most assuredly do not know, and in truth are unable to fathom, the unsearchable depth of God's divine love to us as manifested in the person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul who was the most cerebral, articulate believer among the apostles did not give it a name but called it "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8) and as he wrote to the church at Corinth reflecting on the grace of God in all its manifold derivatives he concluded, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (2 Corinthians 9:15)
This unspeakable gift is none other than Jesus Christ himself and in conjunction with, as John Gill in his Bible Commentary declares, "that exceeding grace of God which was so eminently, largely, and freely bestowed on the Corinthians in their effectual calling..." a view endorsed by Adam Clarke in his Bible Commentary, "The conversion of a soul from darkness to light, from sin to holiness, from Satan to God, is not less inconceivable. It is called a new creation, and creative energy cannot be comprehended. To have the grace of God to rule the heart, subduing all things to itself and filling the soul with the Divine nature, is an unspeakable blessing; and the energy that produced it is an unspeakable gift."
God through Jesus Christ does something unimaginable that humans can't fathom, are unable by meticulous research and academic endeavour to exhaustively itemise and is left flummoxed by the grandeur and effectiveness of it all. The sheer majesty and scale and wonderment are such as to blow the minds of ordinary humans as they contemplate in awe on such divine graciousness. Truly God has visited mankind, and conferred on it blessings in Christ, for which we are eternally grateful, and remain forever unworthy.
What could have entered God's mind to condescend to man's lowly estate and to make the ultimate sacrifice to rescue errant mankind from his self-imposed destructive destiny we shall never fully understand. Yet we rejoice that he did, and we are able to identify some transformative effects that have occurred, because of the person and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us this, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) That's right all things are new, and we better believe it, for all believers are made into new persons in Christ by the new birth. This is not something that is pure theory and a bundle of abstractions but something that is immensely practicable and can be observed and experienced.
Here are TEN SPECIFIC TRUTHS that define Christian newness. No need to worry if you are missing out on something, or if there is something lacking in your redeemed character, for if these ten truths define you, then rejoice for you are truly converted, and complete in Jesus Christ.
TRUTH NUMBER 1: new identification
Every Christian has a new identification in Jesus Christ that has been acquired through redemption by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and by water baptism by the Holy Spirit. When we are saved it is as if we were dead and then resurrected to a new life with a completely new nature and God stamps his mark, our new identification, in our souls. The Bible puts it like this, "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). This new identification aligns us forever with Almighty God; it's Heaven's nationality.
TRUTH NUMBER 2: new destination
It is foolish to suggest that we can't change our destiny, that we have no say in the matter of our eternal abode. No longer are we on the road to perdition, we have changed roads and are bound for heaven. " Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) We who have chosen the straight gate, the narrow way and keep faithfully on track are assured of a splendid new destination.
TRUTH NUMBER 3: new master
How blessed and privileged we are to have such a new master. The yoke of bondage placed on us by our waywardness and transgression has been thrown off; the old master removed forever and our new master and Lord reigns in our lives supreme. The Bible puts it like this, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Romans 6:22). Our new master helps us along the road of holiness and everlasting life and never allows us to be overwhelmed or defeated.
TRUTH NUMBER 4: new family
Every person upon conversion becomes a member of a new family; the family of believers. In early Christianity this family was called "brethren" and sometimes "the saints" or "the assembly" but in every case it was the family of believers. This family is the redeemed group that has a special relationship with Christ and God and the Bible says this, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28) It is members of this new family to which Christ refers when he said, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)
TRUTH NUMBER 5: new love
All believers have a new love; love for God and love for the things of God. This differentiates between those who are born-again and spiritual and those who are not. We are commended to, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2) and reminded, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:6) Our new love that has taken root at conversion in response to what God has done for us, "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 3:19) enables us to be true, obedient and loyal for the rest of our life.
TRUTH NUMBER 6: new name
What joy to have a new name that is meaningful and sets us apart as special unto God. Our new name is already given and awaiting our arrival for it to be revealed, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." (Revelation 2:17) This important truth is splendidly displayed on the heart of every believer and Jesus sees it every day.
TRUTH NUMBER 7: new motive
All those born-again and baptised into the faith has acquired a new motive of service to Almighty God. We who were once labouring under the drudge and slavery of sin now find ourselves liberated and set free to serve God and our fellow man. This type of motivation was ably expressed by the Apostle Paul when the Bible declared, "Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done." (Acts 21:13-14)
TRUTH NUMBER 8: new standing
Before our conversion we could not stand before The Judgment but now as believers we have a new standing with God. We are now empowered to , "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1) and because of God's grace and mercy we have a new standing in Christ, "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:12).
TRUTH NUMBER 9: new lump
We become a new lump; controllable, teachable, conformable just like a lump of clay in the potter's hand, "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:" (1 Corinthians 5:7)
TRUTH NUMBER 10: new access
All believers have a new access, a provision by Jesus Christ straight to the throne of God and here is how the Bible puts it, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:19-22)
All those who are defined by the above characteristics are people who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and walk according to God's Spirit. The Bible tells us, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:24-25)
This is the confidence that we have it right, that through our conversion we are able to live above the world, not in the sense that we are infallible and cannot sin but that whatever comes our way, because of who we are in Christ, and the abundance of grace to which we have access, and the ever present assistance of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome whatever the enemy sends, and know for sure that we are in good company, with the saints who have triumphed and identified as, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Revelation 7:14-17)
These 10 big truths are clearly stated in the Bible and every believer needs to understand them, rejoice because of them, and delight that by them God has perfected a work of grace that is evident and will endure as testimony to his eternal greatness and glory.
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013