By Brooke Holt
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:16–17)
Many Christians have grown up in the tradition of observing Lent. Many of us also know the history of Lent—that for the early church, the forty days before Easter were spent in preparation for the sacrament of baptism. Those who were to be baptized used Lent as a time for repentance, fasting, prayer, and preparation for their new life in Christ. When we say that baptism is a sacrament, it means that the act of being washed by the water is an outward and visible sign of an inward reality. Going into the water symbolizes our salvation. When we trust in Christ, we die to ourselves. Rising from the water in baptism displays what God has done in our hearts. He has raised us up with Christ!
Paul is writing about a miracle. Everyone who is in Christ is a new creation! All the things of this world are washed away by the blood of Jesus, and the ways of Jesus Christ become our ways. The Lord makes us new, clean, and holy through the gift of his Holy Spirit. We become the dwelling place of God. Baptism illustrates this reality as we publicly identify with the Lord Jesus Christ.
This miracle occurs when we turn to the Lord and trust in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. It is called the gift of salvation—a one-time gift that we get to enjoy for eternity. Then we receive a gift that keeps on giving—the gift of sanctification. The Holy Spirit offers this gift for us to unwrap every day, maybe even numerous times each day. As we grow in holiness, the Spirit changes our thoughts, habits, and ways of life. He calls us day by day to become more like Jesus.
Every day, you are invited to be made a new creation. God has marked and sealed you as his own forever. You were made new. As you journey through this season of Lent, the Lord continues his work of making you new by his sanctifying work. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he can do things in you that you never thought possible. However, it takes willingness on your part—surrender and dying to self. As you die to self, you find that you are even more alive to Christ. His Spirit shapes you to become the person he created you to be.
How is the Lord shaping your heart this Lenten season? You can receive his work by faith or resist it. May this Lenten season be one of true surrender—of receiving, releasing, and being made new.
As you journey through this Lenten season, is there something more the Lord would like to do in you? Is there something he is inviting you to give up or take on? Is there something in your life he is asking you to surrender to him? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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