IDENTITY, pt. 5—I am New
2 Cor. 5:14-21
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Pet. 2:9
Jesus gives a new NATURE
In the beginning God gave Adam and Eve physical life (Heb. nephesh) and breathed into them a human spirit (Heb. ruah), made in His image, which was to co-exist with their bodies perpetually (Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 3:11). Humans were originally designed with no physical or spiritual defects. Once sin entered the world however, people became un-ideal and the result was brokenness in all facets of life, including spiritual death, separating people from God (Gen. 2:17; 3:6-8). The ‘heart’, or location of moral choices that forms our character, can’t be changed long-term by willpower alone, but must be spiritually born again, as people can’t be freed from the rebellion in their heart without Jesus (John 3:3-6; 8:36; 2 Cor. 5:17). Christianity isn’t about becoming a better you, but rather a different you—a person with a new destiny, new desires, and new dreams. Christianity is not a religion to God, but a relationship with God.
Jesus gives a new MISSION
As humans are helpless to permanently change themselves and don’t know how to serve God, God helps them through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. By God’s power, once a person is spiritually reborn, he is then transformed (Gr. metamorphoō, ‘to change forms’) from being one person to becoming the next (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22-24; Titus 3:5). A believer stays exactly the same, yet becomes totally different! Though in the same body, a believer’s new heart begins to produce new choices to serve and please God rather than self. A new heart makes a new character that makes new choices that makes a new life that becomes a new destiny! This new direction in life stems from a new directive directed by the Director of history. God has entrusted (Gr. tithaymi, ‘to place into the hands/heart’) to believers the mission of being ambassadors for Christ as his representatives on earth. These ambassadors are to declare the message that people can be reconciled (Gr. katallagay, ‘to exchange/adjust to bring balance or peace’) to God. The Gospel is the great news that a great God gives great peace!