Jesus – “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born anew, he is unable to see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:2
Paul – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away, behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Yesterday, I said that today I would talk about a piece of the gospel that can get overlooked, and when that happens, the power of the gospel is diluted at best or at worst removed altogether. What is that piece?
The change of nature.
Notice what Jesus said? One must be born anew, a new creation with a new nature, the nature of God because being born anew means being born of the Spirit of God. The old nature has gone away. Paul confirms this reality from what I quoted from his second letter to the Corinthian believers. If this has not happened, one cannot see the kingdom of God.
This has everything to do with our identity and how God sees and knows us and how we must see and know ourselves. We don’t have two natures, one good and one bad, inside of us fighting it out. If that were true even after belief, then the gospel isn’t truly good news, well, no more good news than any religious system of belief, because the gospel really isn’t any different. The idea of two warring natures inside a believer is not biblical; it’s actually far Eastern philosophy.
The good news of Jesus is that, through Him and us participating in His death and resurrection, the old nature has been killed and done away with and we are raised to walk in the newness of life as Jesus did. So, after being resurrected spiritually, we no more have a sin nature than did Jesus.
Wait a minute, though, you might be saying. Why then do I still sin if I no longer have a sin nature? Because you still have a sin habit, but habits can be broken; nature cannot. An apple tree must grow apples; it has no choice. A person with a sin nature must sin; s/he has no choice.
But when we have a sin habit, it can be broken. It’s like learning to do things differently because you can. That sin habit is a default mode because you haven’t learned yet what it means to walk in your new nature. And that’s the job of the Holy Spirit, and He loves His job.
But to start, we must remember who and what we are. We must remember what has happened because of Jesus and why that is good news. If what I have just said didn’t truly happen, then the gospel, which literally means good news, isn’t really good news. It’s what has always been, just packaged differently.
So, remember what you have become. Remember what your identity now is. Remember that because of what God did through Jesus is truly good news and something totally different than what any religion, previous or hence, teaches, you have become something and someone new.
You have become an adopted son or daughter of God and have been given His nature. Now you are in the process of learning what that means. But you must first see yourself in that way, or you’ll never truly progress because, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”