Down with the Old, Up with the New

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, April 22, 2015 0 comments
by Logan Ames

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I were watching the CBS show “Undercover Boss." That particular episode showcased Armando Montelongo, who is apparently nationally known as the founder of Armando Montelongo Companies. They are in the real estate business and offer workshops and seminars across the country for individuals who are looking to make a lot of money in a very short time by flipping houses. There are many seminars that are free, but if you want to attend a special 3-day workshop or even have Armando himself come and train you, you should be prepared to spend a fortune. My girlfriend and I were both amazed at how much people were willing to spend just to try to get the training that they believed would make them rich. One woman on the show talked about how this was her “last chance” because she was spending everything she had and was even borrowing money from family members, just to make it to the meeting with Armando. The woman talked about spending close to $46,000!

Get-rich-quick schemes are nothing new. They’ve been around for a long time and are probably here to stay. Companies that offer people the chance to essentially own their own franchise by selling products from home and online are very popular. People sign on to participate with the promise of success only to come to find out that it doesn’t happen very easily. In some cases, people give up when they realize how hard it will be. Unfortunately, this is the same way many Christians view walk with the Lord. We want the “fire insurance” that keeps us out of hell, but aside from that we just wish Jesus and his other followers would leave us alone so we can live the way we want until our days are over. This is surely not what the Lord intended for us.

In Romans 6:1-7, the Apostle Paul addresses the question that some of his readers may have been asking: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (v. 1) Paul recognized that, as he taught salvation by faith alone and not by works, people might misconstrue what he was saying and believe that they can live a life of sin and just keep receiving God’s grace through Jesus. This is the mistake that people make today. I encourage you to ask yourself whether your salvation in Christ has changed anything about your life. It should, so if it hasn’t, you might want to rethink what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Paul’s immediate response to the question is an emphatic, “By no means!” (v. 2) But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to explain that we actually DIED to sin, which means we can no longer live in it. While Jesus’ death is the only physical one necessary for your salvation, your spiritual death is required. In other words, you must go from being dead IN your sins to dying to them. If you are wondering what this looks like, think about what happens in baptism. Paul goes on to talk about being baptized into both Christ’s death and his life (vv. 3-4). In the practice of baptism in the church, a person can’t rise from the water without having first been dunked in it. You may be thinking, “Well, thank you Captain Obvious,” and you’d be right because it is a concept that is very easy to understand. Unfortunately, as simple as it is, many Christians live as if baptism doesn’t require anything to be drowned. Their lives indicate that they believe they can follow Jesus without having to give up anything. Jesus, of course, spoke directly the opposite. He told his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). It sounds to me like there is some kind of loss involved.

Fortunately, we gain much more than we lose. We willingly die to whatever was in the past, which includes sins, past dreams, accomplishments, and more, and we are raised back up as a new creation in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). In the Romans 6:1-7 passage, Paul explains that this leads to a new life. If we are willing to die to our sin the way Christ did even though he was not a sinner, we will also be resurrected as he was. As our sins were crucified and buried with him so that they could no longer rule over us, we have been raised up without them. That means you and I get a fresh start. Jesus talked about this with Nicodemus when he declared that one must be “born again” in order to even see the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3). You can’t be born again without experiencing death regarding your past.

Death is never pleasant. Christ’s death was the most horrifying there ever was. For us spiritually, we can’t come to know Jesus without realizing how lost we are without him. That’s a painful experience at first. Some of you may even be holding off on surrendering to Christ because you recognize that would mean having to give up whatever you have thought was right for all this time. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you. Surrendering to Christ means major changes. It means you will experience loss. But that’s just the first part of it. Once you have fully surrendered and allowed your old self to be drowned, you experience the joy of the resurrection and the new life found only in Christ. You are then set free for good!

We can’t try to live the Christian life without drowning those parts of our lives that don’t agree with the teachings of Jesus. We can’t keep living in sin and pretending that Jesus is okay with it because he already died for them. We can’t choose to believe that what the Bible says is sin actually isn’t. We must be fully surrendered to him. Continuing to live in sin or in old ways of faulty thinking would be like agreeing to be baptized but then choosing to stay drowned in the water rather than rising up out of it. Believe that you ARE a new creation, and that in your new life you have the strength to live as a servant of Jesus. Don’t let the devil trick you into staying in the sins that were already crucified and buried with Christ. As you continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, take joy in your own resurrection as well if you have already died to what is in the past. If you have not, it’s time to be baptized spiritually. I’ll close with Paul’s words in another letter that show his desire to share in everything with Jesus: “I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  Any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will be deleted.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature, will be reported to the authorities.