I worry that some Christians may not be clear on what it means to be new — to be made fresh and clean, so to speak. Too often, Christians are focused on the old and they miss out on so much joy and happiness.
The word “gospel” means good news — it is meant to be something wonderful and joyful and not sad or mournful. When we think of the New Testament, we should always feel upbeat, alive and filled with a contagious joy.
2 Corinthians is a great Bible passage to help us realize the difference between the old and the new:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
What Does This Mean?
The Bible teaches us that Christ came to save us — to remove us from being completely held to the law, to being Christians who are now granted salvation through belief in, and love for, Jesus. As our Savior, Christ makes everything new and we are to be followers of His teachings and life lessons.
We have many Christians today who have not accepted this reality and they continue to preach harshly and cruelly — they search for passages from the Old Testament that they think justify their narrow-minded, harsh view of life and this world. They thrive on fear and condemnation, instead of on joy, peace and compassion, as Jesus teaches us to now do. Does that mean we should not try to fulfill the Mosaic law? Of course not. However, even if one fails to follow the law perfectly (which we know that no man can), we still have salvation through accepting Jesus as Savior an repenting. In other words, the days of religious “leaders” using fear and judgement as a means to “preach” are most assuredly over. In fact, they are living in the old and trying to advance something that has in essence, been replaced.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…” to be a new Christian means that we should learn and live by the teachings of Jesus, which are always centered on love, compassion, tolerance and kindness, including:
- Love God above all else
- Love your neighbor as you do yourself
- Forgive others who have wronged you, as you would want to be forgiven
- Love your enemies
- Ask God for forgiveness of your sins
- Repentance of one’s sins is essential
- Jesus is the Messiah and He has the authority to forgive others
- Don’t be hypocritical and don’t judge others
Learning and following His teachings are essential to be a true Christian. Ask yourself this: if a Christian man is cruel, cold and harsh and he judges others, condemning them and acting pious, while he himself is, without question, a sinner…how could he possibly believe himself to be a true Christian? Jesus, the Son of God — the very will of God — has commanded us to be humble, kind, forgiving, understanding and non-judgemental…so this “Christian” man is doing the very opposite of what Jesus tells us to do.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31
“…So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” – John 8:7
We Have Every Reason to be Joyful
Jesus teaches us that He is the fulfillment of messianic prophecy and that God requires more than just external obedience to rules. Salvation comes through Christ and in striving to repent of our sins. There is no need for a sad, mournful Christian who judges and condemns — we are called upon to be happy, faithful, kind, generous and loving. Today, it is my hope that every Christian celebrates their faith and begins to live according to the new…which is what Jesus teaches us to do.