walk in the word
“Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
Do you like new things? I do. I like new cars, new seasons, new restaurants and new kids (not in that order). To me, new is a really good feeling. I like new jobs (even though I’m in somewhat of a rut at this point—and sixteen years happily so). I like getting new clothes. I like having new friends, but here’s a wonderful truth: God loves new things. Do you know that about your heavenly Father? He loves new stuff too!
Did you know that God loves new things? All the way through the Bible, He is talking about the new things He has given to us:
• God gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).
• God gives us a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:31).
• God puts a new song in the hearts of His children (Psalm 40:3).
• He has given us a new name (Revelation 2:17).
• He has given us a new self (Ephesians 4:24).
• He makes us wholly new. Second Corinthians 5:17 pulls it all together and says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”
God loves new stuff. In fact, among the final words God will speak in human history, will be: “Behold, I make all things new ” (Revelation 21:5).
The Christian life is about being new, different, and changed. If your faith in Christ has made no difference in you, then ask yourself if it has made any difference to God. If you are not changing, being transformed little by little, day by day feeling His victory, then what’s up with your faith? The people who are in Christ are being changed. The words “newness of life” from Romans 6:4 translate a Greek word which does not mean new in time, but new in character, new in quality. A different person.
Now don’t miss this: God wants to make you new. That is His thing. He is trying to change you. That is why it says we should “ walk in newness of life” (verse 4).
Think back to the time before you committed your life to Christ. Do you remember how you were slaves to certain sins? No matter how you tried, you fell back into those same patterns over and again. The good news is that when we confess Christ as Savior, God connects us with the resurrection power of Jesus Christ and the power of sin in our life is broken. Sin may try to get our attention but it cannot boss us around anymore.
That’s the picture Paul communicated in Romans 6:1–7. He wanted us to know that we do not have to be under the demands of sin anymore. That need not be our experience, and by the power of God, it is not the experience of those who live in His resurrection power. Tragically, most Christians are still living like they are under the power of sin. Are you? I challenge you to embrace the truth that can set you free. You don’t have to sin! Before Christ you had no choice. Now you have a choice.
Keep that in mind, because you know by experience that there is still a part of you that wants to sin. It is not gone but it’s sort of unplugged. You can’t make toast if the toaster is unplugged and you can’t sin if the old man is unplugged, but you can go plug him in again.
When Paul added that you have “been freed from sin,” he was letting you and me know that the power of sin is broken in us. All who receive Christ personally have had their inclination to sin cut off or rendered inoperative. It’s not in charge anymore; you don’t have to do what it says.
If you’re still struggling with a certain sin, it is because you choose to remain in that sin. It’s a sad thing to have the means to escape yet choose not to act upon it. In his historical book The Three Edwards, Thomas Costaine described such a tragedy. During the fourteenth century a duke named Ranald lived in the region which is now Belgium. Ranald was grossly overweight. Eventually Ranald became the king, but his brother, Edward, was very jealous. After a violent quarrel, Edward rallied a group of people together and led a revolt, taking over the castle and the kingdom.
Now you would think the younger Edward would kill his older brother, as was often done, but somehow he had compassion on the hefty guy and built a dungeon for him—a very specific kind of dungeon. Edward removed Ranald from the throne and built a large, circular room, which had a doorway but no door. Inside the room was a bed and table and all the essentials Ranald would need. The doorway to the room was regular-sized but Ranald was too big to get through it. Edward told Ranald, “When you can fit through the doorway, you can leave.”
Every day Edward had a smorgasbord of pies and pastries, along with massive platters of meat and other delicacies laid out in front of his brother. People accused Edward of being cruel, but Edward had a ready answer. “My brother is not a prisoner. He can leave when he chooses to.”
Ranald remained in that room, a prisoner of his own appetite, for more than ten years. He was released when Edward died in battle but by then his own health was so far gone that he died within a year.
Now if you are in Christ, you are not a slave to any sin. In Christ you have the power to be the person that God wants you to be. No pattern of thinking holds you. No pattern of behavior enslaves you. That power has been broken through your identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that took place when you turned from your sin and accepted Christ by faith. The chains of sin are broken in you; you are free to do what is right.
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