II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
I had the privilege of speaking with a man yesterday who is about the same age as I am. This man is not saved. He does not attend church anywhere. He stated that he will attend church for Christmas and Easter. I asked him why he attends for Christmas. He said it was because he likes the music. That was all he was interested in. The man is a staunch supporter of evolution. He stated that I needed to accept Buddhism as a valid religion as much as I accept my beliefs. I stated that I could not do that because Biblical Christianity is true and Buddhism is the imagination of man. He took offence to my suggesting that one religion is better than another. He did not want me to use the Bible as my defence, but I was able to quote a couple of verses anyway. It is God’s Word that is powerful.
Sadly, this man is quite typical of many these days. There are many people who want to believe that we can believe what we want and in the end it will all be good. It is true that a person is free to believe what he wants. However, it is also true that those who are saved have a genuine love for others and they do not want to see people living empty lives now and ending up in hell after death. We cannot force anyone to believe the truth. However, there is a body of truth and that is the Bible. It is also true that not all Bibles are equal.
Those who want to support the perversions actually align themselves with the thinking of this man I met yesterday. They want to believe that regardless of what a particular Bible states, whether it contradicts another Bible or not, does not matter. In the end it will all work out for good. Two contradictory statements cannot both be true. One has to be true and the other has to be false. In spite of what New Evangelicalism has declared, there is no grey area when it comes to what God has declared. Paul was directed to state:
Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
That verse is stated in the context of salvation. In the context Paul was directed to point out that just because some Jews did not believe the Word of God, did not make the Word of God false. Man’s unbelief does not change the truth at all.
In our text, we are reminded that those who are saved are changed. That change cannot be beat into a person. It cannot be coerced into an individual. It is the result of being in Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ makes this drastic change in the heart of every born again Christian. The text states: “If any man be in Christ.” It does not matter who the person is. If a person is truly saved, they have been made a new creature in Christ. This does not mean the saved person will not sin anymore. We do not become little gods when we get saved. The old man is still there and he is trying to interfere with what Christ has done in the saved person’s heart and life.
As we note in our verse again, the born again Christian is “in Christ.” That is the key. We noted in our study of the book of Galatians that Christ dwells inside the saved person. The saved person lives by faith in Christ.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The fact is that when a person turns to God in repentance He is crucified with Christ. He gives up his own will. He understands that his life is a mess and it will not improve on its own. No amount of self-will can fix the mess. The repentant sinner is brought to that place by listening to the work of the Holy Spirit in their heart. It is not possible to make the necessary change of heart on our own. We need God to make that change. He does that when the repentant sinner turns to Him and trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
It is a shame to accept the lie of New Evangelicalism which makes God a weakling. It brings God down to the standard of man. God is much greater than man. He is the Creator of all things. He gave Adam freewill, but He also showed Adam that He was able to provide all that Adam needed. When Adam rejected God’s way, he suffered. However, God showed Adam again that He was the only One Who could fix the problem that Adam had created.
In our text we read that old things are passed away for the person that is in Christ. That stubborn self-will no longer has the same hold on the saved person that it had when that person was lost. The saved person now has a desire to learn the truth. Our verse says: “all things are become new.”
The saved person needs to learn how to live as a saved person. Not only does he need to learn how to live as a saved person, but he also wants to know how to live as a saved person. His heart has been changed.
Our text says the saved person is a new creature. He is different than he was before. It is a shame how much modern day “Christianity” has accepted the lie of the New Evangelical movement. Many professing Christians have accepted the lie that the saved person might struggle with sinful habits for the rest of their life. That is not what the Bible declares.
It is important for those who are saved and growing in the Lord, to be careful to teach the curious listener the facts. We need to be careful that we do not cheapen God’s gift of salvation. God does not offer a discounted version of salvation. He offers the truth and the facts.
The rest of our text talks of the fact that God is involved in reconciliation. Canada just came through a futile exercise labelled “truth and reconciliation.” This newly declared holiday is futile because the truth is abandoned and we are to be reconciled to accept the ever changing lie of man.
Biblical reconciliation does not white wash the problem. It removes the problem. We already noted that any man that is in Christ is a new creature. God took care of the curse of sin for the saved person. He is no longer bound to sin. He will still sin, but he can say no to sin now. He has been given the power to be called a son of God. God changes the power of temptation in the saved person’s life. He now has the ability to turn away from the temptation because he now is attuned to the escape that God has made for all temptations. Again, as we note, the saved person does not always follow God’s escape. He will fall at times, but he will not stay down.
That is a fact that the Bible makes abundantly clear. The danger is when a saved person is so desperate to see a loved one or someone else saved, that they withhold the facts from the person and get them to agree to something that is not found in the Bible. Thus they deceive the person into thinking they are saved, when in reality, they are not saved. They cause the person to rely on their words, rather than on God’s Word. This is a dangerous thing to do. In the end, every person will be accountable to God, not to us. If we lie to a person as God is working on them, we will be held accountable.
Those who are saved, have been given the ministry of reconciliation. God has not given us the ministry of reconstruction, or revision. We study God’s Word. We ask God to give us a genuine heart of love for the lost. We speak the truth in love. We work patiently and faithfully with the lost to help them to see that what God says is right and it is achievable by faith in God. When the lost person is saved, they will understand it. When the lost person is deceived by smooth talking, they will fight against the truth. Too often the messenger caves in to the unrighteous demands of the lost just to get a yes out of them. That yes is useless because it was not the work of God in the heart of the lost person. It was just the manipulation of a desperate person who wants to see their loved one or friend or stranger say the right thing.
The true child of God is an ambassador. He does not make up the message. He relays the message of his commander. God is the commander. He has declared the truth. He expects His children to relay that message faithfully and carefully to those He sends their way.