New Clothes for New Life

Ephesians 4:24   (KJV)   24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

We are world-changers; that’s a great honor. We influence and change our society because we’ve been changed—from the inside out; we’re a new creation, new man, new nature, new heart. All glory to God; that inner change is all Him. That’s the light we Ephesians 4.24 - New Clothes for New Lifeshine, this new nature created to be like God, particularly His righteousness, holiness, purity. It may be hard for some to believe, but this is us: living godly and pure lives is our nature.

Everyone is invited to share this awesome newness; most don’t respond.  As believers, we enjoy it tremendously. It’s no longer a joy for this new nature to engage in dishonesty, immorality, and corruption. There are not a lot of honors as great as representing and displaying our Father’s nature. Misrepresenting Him hurts us. Temptations abound; they possess powerful attractions, but this new man has different tastes and appetites.

Not all unbelievers are utterly hostile to believers. Some of them recognize the beauty of Christian values. They know the importance of truthfulness, faithfulness, and loyalty in relationships. They know the value of teachability and submission among their children and employees. They know the value of conscientiousness, initiative, and diligence. It’s not unusual to see parents who don’t set foot in a church but send their children to Christian schools and gatherings because they know how beautiful our lives are.

We sail on, bearing a different aura—that of humility, joy, love, peace. Our neighbors trust us; we bring peace to tense situations; we don’t harbor grudge. We don’t operate by the common m.o. of avenging ourselves against those who wrong us. We forgive. We work hard for those who trust us with their company; we’re not takers; we’re giver. Our speeches aren’t foul; they’re pleasant; they’re kind. I can go on and on, but we’re obviously different—wonderfully different. We love it. We’re deeply humbled.

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Free and Obedient Hearts

1 Chronicles 29:18   (KJV)   18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:

Can our sovereign and loving God work in our hearts—people’s hearts—without violating our free will?  I guess He can.  We may not fully understand how He does it, but He can.  Otherwise, there’s no point praying for Him to make His people want to obey 1 Chronicles 29.18 - Free and Obedient HeartsHim.  We’ve seen clear examples and explicit passages in the Scriptures showing this.  God changed the heart of Saul (1 Sam. 10:9); He prophesied about giving His people a new heart (Jer. 24:7); He directs the king’s heart like rivers of water (Prov. 21:1); David prayed for God to give him a clean heart (Ps. 51:10).

Yes He can, and Yes He does work in people’s hearts.  This is not however a removal of free will, or cancelling of our responsibility.  In fact, we see clearly in the Scriptures how Saul turned away from God, how Solomon turned his heart towards the gods of his wives, how one king after another chose to rebel against God, and how His Old Covenant people repeatedly disobeyed God.  We as His people weren’t made robots when we placed our full dependence on Him to save us and surrendered our lives to Him.

We were made new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), but we still obviously have a choice whether we obey or disobey Him, whether we abide in Him or not, whether we live faithfully or not, whether we deny Him or not.  God won’t fail; if He says He’ll give us new hearts, He will. In fact, for believers, He already has.  What we do with our God-given new hearts is up to us.  As for me, and I pray my entire household, we will worship and serve Him faithfully—wholeheartedly.

A New Heart, A New Spirit

 

Ezekiel 38.31 - New Heart, New Spirit

 

Ezekiel 18:30-31   (KJV)   31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God wants everyone to be saved. The last thing He wants is to hurt us, His much loved creation. Why hurt someone you love, unless doing so will ultimately be for their best? That’s the reason why He wants us to put away our sins. Contrary to what Satan or our flesh tells us, sin destroys us. Yes, it’s most often pleasurable, but the damage it creates is indescribably worse. Sin results to death. Do we really want this? Of course not, and God is so strongly opposed to it also.

When God tells us to get rid of something, it’s all for our good, for our best. We never think for a moment that He’s a bad Father, or worse, a sadistic one. He doesn’t delight in our pain. Our disobedience will cause exactly that – pain. Just because we don’t see the immediate result doesn’t mean we get away with it. God patiently gives us time and opportunities to humbly come to our senses and wisely take the next best step, that is, to repent.

We have to have a new heart, a new spirit. That’s the key to avoiding death. With it, we live. We can’t proudly go on doing what’s wrong, ungodly, and sinful, and expect God to just look away. It’s not love to just leave us walking the path of destruction without doing anything to ensure that we don’t end up ruining our lives. He runs quickly towards us to stop us before it’s too late. Isn’t that what He did when He left heaven and came down to where we are? He came to rescue us; otherwise, all of us would have kept walking the journey of destruction without any hope.

Life is beautiful; we love life. And praise God, we live and we will live forever—in bliss, beauty, and glory. For now, we get rid of all attitudes and acts of rebellion against God. That’s what real living is. What a wonderful life.