One of the most amazing aspects of what it means to become a Child of God through faith in Jesus Christ is the fact that we are not merely changed, but that we are “born again” (John 3:3). This is to say that what change has happened in us spiritually is so radical and revolutionary to what we are that we cease to be what we once were and are now, in our essence, a completely new thing.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 18, we are taught by God that “If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God Who Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
The application of this today is two-fold. First, we must understand that what we once were, we no longer are. No longer are we just breakers of God’s Law, we are forgiven. No longer are we merely sinners, but are regarded by God as saints. No longer are we spiritually dead, unresponsive to the grace and majesty of God, but we have been brought to life. No longer are we enemies to Jesus, but are now counted as His brethren. There has been an inward change in us, that I must point out must be accepted by faith as having taken place (since our emotions don’t always keep up with what God has revealed to us through His Word).
Secondly, because we have been so radically changed, we look at others differently. We now have by God’s truth working its effect in our hearts’ attitudes and agendas, see others as God sees them (or at least we desire to and commit ourselves to His opening our minds to them).
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer” (2 Corinthians 5:16 ESV).
We see other people as the bearer of God’s image. We look at them and realize, no matter how different they may seem to us on the outside, no matter what their past has been, mistakes they have made, or perhaps how they have harmed us, they have the potential, as God ordains it, to be as radically transformed as we are if we truly have been saved by Christ.
In others words, we stop looking at others through the human lenses of our limited perspectives, and look at others through the lens of God’s truth and love which does not change or serve our selfish agendas.
In a time of great division and misunderstanding, we need the unity that only Jesus’ love and transformation can bring. And for it to enter our little corner the world, we must be willing to let that love and truth grab hold of us and flow through us into our actions, words, and attitudes. To do anything else is to fall short in being transformed inside and out. And without individual people being transformed, our homes, community, and world cannot be transformed. So let the love of Jesus do its work today in making you new.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.)