Podcast with read aloud and commentary is available!
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17
God brings about a wonderful miracle when He redeems us! Our old, sinful nature dies. What does God want from us?
What God desires from us
We must surrender to God. If He is our Savior then He is our Lord as well. Surrendering to Him is how the relationship starts! Trusting and depending upon His grace to redeem us is the first part of the our new birth. Then as Holy Spirit comes into our life, He begins His work.
As God reconciles us to Himself, we become ambassadors for Him. We are to share His Good News with others. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
Questions to consider
Are you walking with God in faith? How does your life reflect Christ’s presence? God lays out His expectations and definition of love for others in the above passage. 1 John compliments this command/way of life. We can’t love God and hate others. We can’t walk in the darkness and claim to follow Christ. The reason that we struggle with loving others as Christ commands and empowers is that our old, sinful nature opposes us. Paul writes about his own struggles in Romans 7. Got questions provides multiple scriptural references:
The answer is that we allow Christ to redeem the old life. Reading God’s Word, being sensitive and obedient to Holy Spirit’s leading/conviction prompts us to put off the old way/life. James commands us to:
7Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.James 4:7-8 New American Standard
Desiring God above all set us free from the “lesser” and corrupt desires of our fallen world and sinful natures. Even though we’re redeemed, we still have a sinful nature that lives within us. This nature will be present in us until Christ Returns or we join Him in eternity. Resist the Devil and he will flee. Resisting temptation and choosing to honor God sends the great accuser away.
Cleansing hands was a ritual that faithful Jews did prior to eating any meal. The idea is that we need Christ to cleanse us daily. Our hearts become tainted by sinful desires and need to be “purified.” The Jewish people had rituals of purification prior to worship at the Temple. James is making reference to what his readers would understand: that cleansing and purification are needed. For more on this:
Double minded refers to a person who tries to please God and the world at the same time. Like a squirrel running back and forth across the road, such people are always seeking safety and comfort. The problem is that eventually the squirrel runs the wrong direction and gets hit. We must run toward God and away from the pleasures and corruption of this present world.
Have you ever considered why that God doesn’t just take this sinful nature away immediately at conversion and regeneration? In some mysterious way beyond my ability to comprehend and explain, God finds glory and pleasure in our journey to be more like Him. Just as a body builder uses weights to sculpt his/her body, so our struggles with sin and failures grow our love, devotion, and daily dependence on Christ.
Do we desire the blessing more than the Giver of All Good Things?
As we daily walk with Christ along the journey of life, we will grow and mature. Early in our journey, God will often bless us with an awareness of His presence, answered prayers, and times of joy and delight. However, God also seems to withdraw from us to purify our desires and draw us closer to Him. I address this in my posts concerning the silence of God and the difficulties of not understanding.
The Blessing of Emptiness
Resting in God: When God Seems Silent
Resting in God: The Dark Nights: The Problem of the Whys
Do you see God at work?
Faith enables us to endure and press ahead in our journey with God. This world and the wickedness of our present age seek to paralyze us with worry and doubt. Our past failures and present wounds weigh our souls. But, we can rest in Christ knowing that He will redeem all things–our mistakes, failures, sins, and even the evil things done against us and what we have done against others! The real beauty of Christ is that He has a way of making even the worst things work according to His plan (Romans 8). Please understand that this doesn’t mean that we won’t feel hurt, pain, and disappointment when such things come upon us. All things shall be made right in God’s Perfect and Just Time!
May God enlighten your heart to perceive His movements of grace in your life and guide you as walk with Him daily! For His glory and honor, I write.