Reconciled Sinner, The New Man
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all the things have become new.
A few months ago I woke up and before my feet even hit the floor, I was struggling with sinful thoughts. I knew immediately that I need to go to the Lord in prayer and then get into scripture. The Lord was faithful to meet me where I was and help me in my struggle.
Being so taken with the Lord’s willingness to meet me where I was that morning and help me, I shared this with a dear Sister-in Christ. Her immediate response was “What do you mean you woke up with sinful thoughts. You are a Christian, you shouldn’t struggle with sin like that.”
Then she recited the above scripture to me. I was definitely taken aback by her statement.
Now you must understand that this woman is a dear friend of mine who loves the Lord. She had no idea that she was helping to perpetuate false teaching that has been used to cause great harm to many people.
The way I have seen people twist this verse because they haven’t taken the time to study it and find out what it really means is horrifying. It is horrifying because people have condemned and judged others with this piece of Holy Scripture. The people that misuse this verse give a false representation that once we are saved, we no longer struggle with sin. That is untrue. As believers, we absolutely still struggle with sin.
This was not the blog I thought I wanted to start this new year with. I was hoping for something a little less…. Controversial maybe? A little more…. Uplifting and encouraging maybe?
As I started my studying to ensure that I understood this scripture correctly, I came across something that I felt like I had never seen before. I have heard of this but never in context with this verse. It was then that I was confident that this is the verse and blog the Lord wanted me to start 2021 off with. It was like finding treasure I didn't know I was looking for! The verse about the New Man was about the Ministry of Reconciliation.
To be reconciled to God. That is an incredible thing.
I have seen many, many people, including my dear friend use this verse as a way to say that once we accept Jesus as our savior that we will not struggle with the sins of our past. So, when I would struggle with cyclical sins, I would question my salvation. I would go before the Lord and pour out my heart and ask him why I was so messed up. I thought that there had to be something wrong with me because people told me that my sinful man had died and I was new, so I shouldn’t struggle with these things anymore and scripture seemed to confirm what they were saying. This was wrong.
The Apostle Paul was a man of great transformation and he still struggled with his flesh. We are blessed to be able to read an account of this in Romans 7: 14-25. It is where Paul describes the battle between his spirit and his flesh. After Paul’s Damascus Road encounter with the Lord, after he accepts Christ, and after he devoted his life to preaching and teaching the Good News of the Gospel, there is still a war within him, his sinful human nature against the Spirit of our Holy God.
Paul knew two things that so many people have missed. He knew that complete sanctification will not happen this side of Glory. As long as we live in our earthen vessels, we will struggle with our sinful nature because it is a part of who we are. We are born into a fallen world and do not have the ability to be Holy in an of ourselves. He also knew that the new man in Christ has the power to resist evil because he is no longer a slave to sin. Before Christ, we are slaves to our sinful nature. Our desires are worldly desires that we are unable to change. Through the bloodshed on Calvary, Jesus broke the yoke of slavery to sin. All of the sanctifying work that is done in us is through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
For me to know that I can ask the Holy Spirit to help me in any situation took so much pressure off of me to try to be better than I am. Trying to be something that I am not is like trying to fit into a pair of shoes that don’t fit. It is uncomfortable and doesn’t work. Eventually, the shoes have to come off. No matter how “good” I may try to be, eventually, my true self is going to come out. When I am tired or when I am hurt, not only do I not have the energy to pretend, I don’t care too much about keeping up any kind of façade.
When I learned what this verse was telling me that I am no longer a slave to sin and that I have the power in the Holy Spirit to overcome sin, my whole life changed. All of a sudden, I understood that I will struggle with sin AND I can lean on the Holy Spirit to help me. It is also through the Holy Spirit that my struggle can become less as I grow in my relationship with Christ.
Are you reconciled to God and still struggle with your sinful nature? You are not alone. The Lord is with you and wants to help you in this struggle. He has provided all that you need to overcome areas of sin that you are struggling with.
For those that are not reconciled to God yet, you have an open invitation. You don’t have to be better before you come, just come. He is waiting for you with open arms.
May you all learn more about the Ministry of Reconciliation in this year to come.
Love & Blessings
Happy New Year!