Friday, April 18, 2008

How Can God Make You a New Creature?

I chose as the name for my blog: What does it mean to be made into a new creature? One of the most significant verses of the Bible for me is:

2 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.

I was 44 years old and a committed atheist when I walked into a church service that first Sunday of June of 2000. I came merely to thank them for their prayers for me during my heart surgery a couple of weeks previously. I wanted to thank these perfect strangers for taking time out of their day to pray for me. I did not understand, but I wanted to thank them for caring for me.

What I saw in that church created a hunger in me, for what they had. More things transpired over the next few weeks and months, but that morning, that day. . . I began upon a road of change that continues undiminished to this day almost eight years later.

I had much sin in my life. I thought myself a good person, but only because I had no standard in my life to which to compare myself. If you have nothing white to look at, you can convince yourself that every shade of gray short of black is really almost white. That was the condition that I was in. I prided myself in my honesty and integrity. I found ways to ignore my oath-breaking and my dishonesty. Then when Jesus entered into my heart, I had something white to compare myself to and I saw the stark contrast between He and I. I saw how close to black I was. . .

I was 44 years old. I was not some starry eyed teenager easily swept away by some passing fancy. I knew there was no God. Throughout my entire life I had enjoyed debating Christians. I knew arguments. I knew Scripture. I knew ways of attacking their faith that were not easily answerable. I had had people knock on my door and want to talk to me about religion at noon, and they would beg my pardon to leave at dusk. . . I could hold my own in any debate I had ever encountered with a Christian. I knew I was right.

My views on abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex, illicit drugs, drinking, gambling, modesty, creation of the universe, holiness, evolution, morality. . . and on and on ran absolutely counter to the Christian beliefs and as I have learned, counter to the teachings of Jesus.

In approximately 100 days from June to September, my entire mind was made new. My views on everything mentioned above AND MORE were completely changed. What had been black for me was now white and what once was white for me was now black. There is continuity within me. I have the same mind. I have memories of what I was before, of what I believed before. I can see those views, those opinions hanging as if they are/were tattered curtains gently wafting in the fresh new breeze that now flows through my being.

Literally I feel as if I were very much a Saul-like person, a persecutor of Christians, not in the physical sense, but out to destroy their faith whenever I could, who had his mind completely opened and changed. . . renewed. The old things of me are passing away. . . all things are becoming new. I say it in that way, as the change is still occurring. I need the change to continue. That first mad rush of my initial 100 days of change, has not stopped at all. I do not think that it has even slowed slowed, but the change has if possible widened and deepened within me. It is the difference between a mountain stream and a mature river. The movement in the rushing stream seems so vigorous and exuberant, a person can be deceived and not recognize that the amount of movement and power is far greater in the river. It is a deeper flow, more significant and forceful, but of a quieter appearance in the river than in the rushing stream. That is similar to the changes continuing within me. I cannot see the end to the things that need changing within me, for me to become more Christlike. . .

I am a new creature, a new man. There is nothing the Lord cannot accomplish within you. He is doing wonderful works within me even to this day. . . The joy. . .the peace. . .the love. . .the power that I have found are beyond me to explain to you. I can only tell you that these things are real, evidence against all of my former certainty as an atheist that they were not real.

I am a new creature. . .
I thank you my God. . .
I love you my Lord so much. . .


1 comment:

yardsnacker said...

Really a great post, thank you so much!