This is Part 1 of The Three Great Miracles of the Christian Life. Part 2 “Off to War: Spiritual Battle” is here.
The Christian life is full of times and seasons that can feel very ordinary. We have a lot of time to practice the quality of perseverance, or as I prefer to call it, the utter slog. Don’t get me wrong. We absolutely grow in those times. But something else is true too, a big fat miracle: we are new creatures in Christ.
Just because the Christian life sometimes feels ordinary does not make it so. Christianity is the glittering banquet hall, the castle, the royal procession, the treasure! Why cast yourself out in beggar’s rags? Why fail to see the glory for the trees?
Here is the amazing, astounding truth of the matter: if you have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart, then the Spirit of God actually lives within you. Not in the New-Agey, “the god in me speaks to the God in you,” not the mindless Force of Star Wars. The actual God of all things, the Creator of all that is, His Holy Spirit lives inside of us, making us new creatures. As if that weren’t enough to wake us up, every day we’re fighting a pitched spiritual battle. Demons! Angels! Battle! And we’re right there! And there’s something else that should get our engines running – we’re going to live forever!
I mean, we believe so many incredible things that I remind myself of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.
“I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.”
“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.
“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
As Christians, the things we believe in seem impossible to the unbelieving world. But it is in fact true. We are new creatures in Christ. We are fighting a pitched spiritual battle. And we are going to live forever in glory.
New Creatures in Christ
First, we’re new creatures in Christ. That’s not a throwaway line. That’s not a small thing. That’s huge. When you accept Jesus Christ, when you believe and confess that Jesus Christ died to forgive you your sins, you change. Your spirit changes. Were you to die the next moment, you will go to heaven — and not Hell.
Seriously, we’re not 100% human anymore. Or rather, we’re human as we were created to be! We are different from non-Christians, we are forgiven and thanks to the presence of the Holy Spirit, we are fundamentally changed.
We still need to make the daily decision to LIVE that way, and the Holy Spirit gives us the power and grace to do so. We must also confess the sins that we are guilty of. But we are STILL new creatures in Christ, new and different men and women who are going to go to heaven when we die.
And in a time when even priests and ministers no longer believe in Jesus Christ – I am not making this up – the truth of salvation is more important than ever.
What is that truth? Fortunately for us, the Apostle’s Creed writes them down into a neat list. We’ll have to be brief, since I only have 3 hours to preach… JUST KIDDING! 20 minutes will do just fine and we won’t study the entire Apostle’s Creed this morning. So let’s pick out the Big One: “believe in Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection as the atonement for our sins.”
There’s lots more of course – the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the Second Coming, the reality of prayer. But for right now let’s talk about this unbelievably huge, stupendous miracle: that we are sinners and destined for eternal separation from God, and the only way God could make us right was by dying for us Himself – taking on our punishment, and cleansing us.
If you really don’t believe in this, then please read your Bible and talk to God about it. I’m not going to take any votes on what people believe and then make faces at you, no worries. But being Christian doesn’t mean a nice and ethical person who comes to church on Sunday mornings. Being a Christian isn’t the “Christ path,” or being spiritual but not religious, or “there are many paths to God.”
There aren’t. There’s one, and His name is Jesus Christ.
There are so many religions these days that teach we are all gods, that the whole earth and all of its people have a spirit of god inside them, a divine spark. That is not what Christians believe. We believe that God created all things, including us. We believe that we are like ruined portraits of what we were created to be. The theology is called the imago Dei, the “image of God.” We were created in the image of God so that we value and seek for love, mercy, compassion, justice – the things of God. But being made in the IMAGE of God is ENTIRELY different than “being MADE a god!” They are not the same!
So what happens when you accept Christ and are saved? Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Cor. 5:17)
We are new creatures because the Holy Spirit dwells within us. When we accept Christ, we are changed. The spirit of Christ enters us, behold, we are new creatures.
Look out for Parts 2 and 3!