2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NLT)
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
I do not want my old life back. I know that sounds crazy and I absolutely do want this war against cancer to be over but I do not want my life to go back to the way it was before. It is crazy to even hear those words running through my mind or coming out of my mouth but it is true. For so long, I would look at old pictures of family vacations and holidays. I think of when our worries seemed big but were quite small in comparison to the burdens of this journey. I remember when I used my faith for a better life not to find a new life. I want this new life that has developed through hardship and endurance – I want it more than anything else in this world. I want to see my faith in Jesus Christ continue to grow, develop and mature as this encounter with close proximity to death has forced. I want to rely on Jesus for everything. I desire to live in His Word, His Will and His Way as if it is my life source, because truthfully it is. I have been broken. I am okay with that. I have lost control and although some days it is hard not to try to wrestle some back, I have found peace in this place of surrender. Anyone who belongs to Jesus Christ has the potential to become a new person. The old life has to go to make room for the new life that we have been promised.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 (NLT)
So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.
Something has to die for new life to come forth. When a seed is planted in the ground, it dies to give forth the life that is inside of it. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, a seed of righteousness is planted deep inside of us. When faith finds this seed, it is gives it life. As it grows, it is our salvation and new life that has been promised. However, not every seed put in the ground will grow. Some die in the process. We came in this world and began dying upon our arrival. It is not something we want to think about but is indeed the truth. Adam and Eve introduced the human body to sin and it continues to fester inside of us in need of a cure. Jesus Christ gave His Life so that we could forfeit out dead life to have a new life. Everyone wants a new life in Christ but few want to sacrifice the old life to get it.
Watching the process of a bone marrow transplant with our son has given me some insight to this process. Before the cells are given back to the patient, they receive high dose chemotherapy that completely decimates the bone marrow. The patient will have zero immunity at some point. The body relies on its immune system to live. When that system becomes faulty, death is becomes a huge possibility as it cannot overcome infection that may enter the body. When our son contracted the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), his immune system did not mark it for destruction allowing the cells to live in his body, grow and develop into a cancerous tumor. Each time that he received chemotherapy, it will kill most of the cells but some would go into dormancy to save themselves. When the chemotherapy stopped, they would come warring back and a relapse would occur. Now that his bone marrow is all brand new, the idea is that there is no longer EBV cancerous cells left to grow back and his new marrow will give him a healthy immune system again, as well as wiping out all the cancer. Now hold that thought and apply it to our new life in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is offering us a brand new life. It is a good life with a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11) that was written moment by moment before you were born. (Psalm 139:16) It take every detail of your life making it good (Romans 8:28) as the Lord perfects all that concerns you. (Psalm 138:8) But if we do not accept the new life that we are given by allowing our old sinful life to die and be washed away, what hope do we have? It would be like our son refusing the bone marrow transplant for some ridiculous reason. We reject the new life that Jesus Christ is offering us every time we embrace our sinful life rather than allowing that person to die to sin and accept the new life that we are being offered. Every sin cell is cancerous. It eats up opportunity for the Lord to renew, restore and remake our life
Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT)
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
This new life means a higher standard of living. Like the prodigal son wallowing in the pig pen who realized I do not have to live like this, my father’s servants have a better life than I am living right now. He left the pig pen and went back home humbly ready to serve his father rather than demanding his rights as his child. I wonder what would happen in our life if we decided that we really truly wanted His Glorious Standard rather than settling for what this world has to offer. Have you set your sights on the realities of Heaven? Do you think about Kingdom things? Your real life is hidden in Jesus Christ. Do you trust Him to give you a better life than you had before? Sometimes like the prodigal son, we have to get fed up with life as we know it to become desperate enough to seek God for a new life. This was true for me. I thought I was doing okay. I felt like my heart was right and things were going well. My bills were paid. My marriage solid. My kids okay. Had a good job with good benefits. Life was good. But life was nothing special, faith was something that I was coasting with not relying on. You know what I am talking about. Our new life in Jesus Christ is based on our total reliance on God for everything. You have to be the one to decide that there is more to life than this and step out of the darkness to pursue the Light.
Romans 8:12-14 (NLT)
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
You are not obligated to live life according to your flesh. The Holy Spirit gives you authority over it. But change is a painful process, transformation must yield its previous form. We fear the unknown so hold tightly to the known. Faith is that which is not seen it is evidence of what we hope for. God gave us faith to discover the new life that we have been promised. We have all the Kingdom-potential that God could pack in a human being alive in us. Will we allow our flesh to be done away with is the question? In this world of convoluted grace, we must realize that there is no double standard. That thing or things you are unwilling to surrender is that which keeps your seed in the ground. You will not experience the new life that you have been promised until hauling your sinful, prideful to the altar and tying it there with strong cords of faith and hope. Jesus has provided everything you need to overcome in this world. He has overcome every adversary and disarmed every power against you. What are you waiting for? Assurance the process will not be painful, oh but at times it will be. Confirmation that you will not be broken, but friend we have to be. Promise of prosperity without ever taking a risk, trust always begins with such a thing until confidence is established. Calling on the Name of Jesus with no intention of accepting a new life will still lead you to death. It is the Power of His Spirit alive and well in us that allows us to escape our death sentence and have a new life. Children of God are led by His Spirit and must go where He goes which is far away from sin as possible.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Hope is the promise of new life that we hold so tightly to. Jesus opened the door to a new and life-giving way but it is up to you and I if we will move ahead with this process. We had several conversations with doctors and even psychologists before our son could proceed with his transplant. It is a high risk procedure with no guarantees. They feel certain that it will save his life and that he will go into remission but the process itself could potentially kill him. I couldn’t force him to proceed because he is a grown man free to choose. If he did not go ahead, then it would have meant continued chemotherapy each time the cancer came back. He decided it was worth the risk. Isn’t that how we perceive faith as high risk? What if we give our life to Jesus Christ and are not satisfied? Fear keeps us from ever truly relying on the Lord and so we never experience the benefits of salvation. We cannot share the Good News with anyone else because we ourselves are not convinced. Hope is the unseen reality of what faith provide us in Jesus Christ. We must be convinced that hope will be worth it. I tell my son on the really hard days that I know this is hard, painful, frustrating, humiliating and awful but it will be worth it. If we would just decide as believers that there is something to gain in a new life and walk with Jesus imagine the potential. My son is beginning to grow new healthy bone marrow as I write this and I am learning to accept the brand new life that I have been promised by putting my faith and trust (all of it) in Jesus Christ, we agree it is worth it!
Galatians 6:14-16 (NLT)
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.