WHAT IS A NEW CREATION?
A Transformation From Death to Eternal Life
By Alan Morrison (edited by Joe Ortiz)
There are many churches in the world which appear to believe that people can become believers and followers of Christ with very little change taking place in their lives or their minds. They can go to church on Sundays and even attend many other church meetings, but their lives do not really change and neither do their ideas. However, that is not a real belief system, nor is it the nature of a true believer and a sincerely committed follower of Jesus Christ.
When you become a believer and follower of Christ, the first thing you do is "repent" -- that is, you confess to God how desperately sorry you are for everything you've ever done wrong, and for shutting Him out of your life. This is necessary in order to become a member of God’s kingdom. But repentance isn't just about being sorry. The Greek word translated as "repent" in the Bible is metanoeo. This is made up of two words which together mean "change of mind". This means that the very foundation of the believer’s life involves a transformed mind! And a transformed mind means a transformed way of looking at everything, and a transformed way of behaving.
Christian conversion will very rarely involve the kind of Damascus Road experience which happened to Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:3-9). But it will ALWAYS involve a profound change of heart and mind. After all, to become a believer and follower of Christ means being turned "from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God" (Acts 26:18). "You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord" (Eph.5:8). This is why Paul encourages believers with the words: "" (Romans 12:2). That transformation involves a completely Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, renewed in the way of viewing the world as it really is. Elsewhere, the apostle says: "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph.4:23). Surely, being "renewed in the spirit of your mind" must involve a major change in your worldview! So how does this work out in practice?
When you become a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, your view of moral issues, the world around you and even of history itself becomes different from the view that you held before you were saved -- and very different from the view generally held by the unbelieving world. For example, you will not only realize that abortion, homosexuality and premarital sex are contrary to God's law, you will see how truly false and plastic are men-made philosophies, those based primarily on ego and power, intended to serve only self.
Then, soon, as Christ’s spirit begins to work through you and for you, you will begin to see the metamorphosis and find yourself conducting your life accordingly to His will rather than our own egotistical self. You will find yourself unable to watch many movies, TV programs and other forms of so-called art (those that feed the ego and nurture the base things of the world) such as illicit sex, immoral lifestyles and customs and traditions that glorify evil that is evident of its base content. You will find yourself unable to take part in activities that lend not to the principles of God and His will; you will begin to feel repulsed by former ways to increase your purse such as gambling, lotteries, quick-get-rich schemes because it seems unfaithful to Christ who promises to care for your needs and bless you financially in His own way and time. You will find that you have no desire to spend your time in meaningless leisure situations which are not profitable to the growth of your "inner life".
When you become a believer in Jesus Christ, your behavior will also undergo a profound change. You will become a praying person - which you never were before. You will find yourself unable to be rude and arrogant to others; and if occasionally you are, you will be disgusted with yourself. You will no longer be able to be manipulative towards others or gossipy about them. If you are a husband, you will find that you can no longer mistreat your wife and that you must love her with the utmost sacrifice. If you are a wife, you will find that you no longer have the desire to rebel against the authority of your husband, and that you love to submit to him as the head of the household, both realizing that decisions that affect the family can be mutually agreed upon before the husband takes on the responsibility of not only making the final decision but being prepared to deal with the consequences if wrong choices have been made. If either of you stumble in this, as you inevitably will, you will soon realize that God allowed certain things to happen as an example to learn better solving skills.
You will begin to realize that you must avoid deliberately doing things which will endanger your health, not just with smoking issues, but learning that moderation in all things (food, drinking, etc) are designed to maintain a body prepared for service; for "You are not your own (person any longer); for you were bought at a price" (1 Cor.6:19-20), through His crucifixion, which paid the price for the sins of all mankind; and, although you may plead "all things are lawful for me", you will realize that you should not be brought under the power of anything other than God’s will, grace and mercy (1 Cor.6:12). In case you should stumble in anything -- as you inevitably will -- you will find that you become the sharpest critic of your own behavior. You will be very displeased with yourself when you do not live up to the standard for the new child of God you have become as is revealed in the Bible.
That there should be a changed life when a person becomes a believer and follower (disciple) is the context of the process of the discipline (regimentation) instituted by Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:15-17. If a person refuses to behave like a new child of God, or continues his or her old ways, and refuse to repent of his or her ungodly behavior, then he or she must be treated like an unbeliever. Becoming a believer, disciple and follower of Christ means having a transformed mind and now living a changed life. Persistently and willfully living and thinking as the world lives and thinks must surely reveal the true condition of one's heart.
When you become a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, even your understanding of global events will change. You will find yourself not moved or inspired by certain world leaders any longer, realizing that history is HIS-story rather than man's glory -- that whatever comes to pass in all earthly matters happen through His will and express permission.
Everything which you see happening in the world around you will be filtered through your new eyes, and understood according to divinely revealed truth in God’s Holy word, the Bible. Such is the profound change which comes over a person who chooses to believe and follow Jesus Christ. When you continue to be an unbeliever, one who chooses to live as if they are still a part of the world -- you will "speak as of the world" (1 John 4:5), a world that shuns the very God who descended to earth in the form of a man made of flesh, allowing Himself to be crucified to pay for ALL of your sins; those committed before you chose to follow Him, and those lesser ones you will inevitably will experiences as you work your way toward perfection.
None of us will ever achieve perfection until Christ returns to rule and reign on earth forever. And, by virtue of believing in Him, acknowledging that He died on the cross to provide mankind a way to reconnect with God, you then will be destined to rule with Him for eternity as a member of His kingdom. Refusing to believe determines your future. If that remains your ultimate choice, continuing in your unbelieving mindset; and continuing to stay rather amongst the millions who choose to be "of the world" ~ if this is what determines your speech, your outlook on life and your daily behavior, then the choice of where and who you will spend eternity with will be your choice and no one else’s.
After you become a believer in the Jesus Christ, and follow Him and His example, you discover the amazing fact that "old things have passed away; behold, all things are made new"! (2 Corinthians 5:17).
No psychotherapist can produce that.
No medication can cause that.
No fitness course can provide that.
No rituals can induce that.
Becoming a child of God involves a dynamic, supernatural transformation of cosmic proportions which can only be worked out by Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. And he gives us this power, the tools to continue the job of honing, purifying and pruning our lives; a life that can provide a greater service to mankind, rather than to ourselves, which gains nothing without His love, grace and mercy: "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Pet.1:3; cf. Phil.2:12-13; 1 Jn.3:3; Col.3:5; Rom.8:13).
It is my prayer that you will soon come to know this blessed condition, and see it working in our lives. Turning our life over to Christ is not a weakness or a crutch as some proclaim, but rather, it’s reaching out to a greater power source, a more profound jar of wisdom, that will surpass anything we could have imagine before joining a group that will be ruling and sharing in an eternal government never imagined in history.
What is the difference between eternal life and hell?
There are many differences between heaven and hell. The book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, paints a beautiful picture of heaven as having streets of pure gold, gates of pearl, walls decorated with every manner of precious gemstones. Revelation 21:18-21 says, “The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl.
The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.” Nothing impure ever will be in heaven, and the residents shall live eternally in the presence of God and Jesus Christ. It is a place of joy, peace, and love. Jesus Himself has prepared a wonderful place for us. In John 14:1-4, Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you." I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." This is the place the righteous shall go for eternity (John 5:24).
Hell, on the other hand, is as a lake of fire (Revelations 20:15), the second death (Revelations 21:8), a place where unbelievers will join the Beast and Satan who have been cast there by the victorious Christ, who has finally settled the issue between good and evil, where the conditions will be so horrific that there will be unbearable groaning (realizing you made the wrong decision), a ghoulish wailing and gnashing of teeth (Luke 13:28) the sound of gritting your teeth because you are angry at yourself for not believing those friends of yours who tried to warn you, knowing you will be spending eternity in the home of the wicked (Psalm 9:17) a place of unceasing torment (Revelations 20:10). Hell is basically where those who reject the great sacrifice of Jesus will spend eternity.
What road will you choose to travel on for the rest of your life on earth? One that leads to eternal life, or eternal condemnation?
Please consider this message and hopefully you now understand the real differences!
Joe Ortiz is the author of two books that challenge the Left Behind and Pure-Tribulation Rapture, and premillennial dispensational precepts and doctrines being promoted by many right-wing evangelicals. The two books include The End Times Passover (Etymological Challenges to Millenarian Doctrines) and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (The Sequel to The End Times Passover), published by Author House. The former talk show host, journalist and news columnist is the first Mexican American to host a show on an English-language, commercial radio station, beginning in 1971 at KABC-AM Radio in Los Angeles. For more information, click on The End Times Passover.