Is all this possible?

Can we believe God creates a new life in us? That we are His new creation? Will we go forward into that new life? Will we cross that bridge of hope to discover more and more of all the goodness God has waiting for us?

Yes ! Can our answer be anything but yes?

For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead (Colossians 2:12).

We believe in a God who has glorious power. He has the power to raise from the dead.

He has the power to give new life and create anew.

And that is His plan—to make all things new.

I want to live in and as His new creation.

May your mortal be swallowed up by immortal!

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
(Psalm 119:18) 

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Read more assurance of new life:

John 1:12-13; John 3:3, 5-8, 36; John 11:25; Romans 5:18; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 50; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:1-6; Colossians 2:12; Colossians 3:1-5; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 1:3,23.

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

But the old isn’t “gone,” is it?

I started yesterday’s post by observing (complaining?) that very much of my “old” life is still very much right here, right now.

What do you s’pose the Scripture means when it says that the old is “gone”?

I know my old nature is not “dead”. It still fights the Spirit within me, every day.

But …

It no longer rules!

As a matter of fact, nothing from the old life holds ultimate power any more! Yes, old attitudes still try to steer me down wrong paths. Yes, some circumstances of my life are still trying. Yes, this body is headed back toward the dust.

But the old is dead in that its power is defeated. Its strength is broken. Its reign is over!

All of those new things that come when we became part of the heavenly realm—all of those push out the old. Displace the old. The old life no longer rules. It tries to fight back, but Life pushes out Death. The Holy Spirit defeats the old nature. Freedom breaks chains. God’s new creation foils Satan’s plans. Eternity trumps earthly.

We all have certain Scriptures that are like shining lights for us. They beckon us forward, show us possibilities, stand out there ahead of us and say, Come, see what wonderful things are here.

And 2 Corinthians 5:4 contains a phrase that is just such a beacon for me. The context of the verse is a passage where Paul is talking about the new bodies God has promised us, and he says, “these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.” In an earlier letter, he also wrote about “mortal bodies transformed into immortal bodies” (1 Corinthians 15:53).

I’ve come to think of these phrases as applying to all of me, not just my body. I want all of the mortal to be swallowed up by the immortal. All of the old to be swallowed up by the new. All of the dying to be swallowed up by Life.

And that’s what He has promised He is doing. Right now.

Amen.

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Here’s an earlier post all about the mortal being swallowed up by life: Swallowed up by Life. (Click on title)

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Psalm Prayer:

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
(Psalm 119:18) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Into heavenly realms

What does this new, resurrected life look like? At first glance, or to casual observers, it might look very much like those old lives that Scriptures say are “gone.” We live in the same circumstances. The same internal battles still rage. We are still here, still in the same world, still with the same body. But …

For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6).

What? We’re seated in the heavenly realms?

It’s a metaphor, something much like our sayings of “She has a place at the table,” or “He’s climbed pretty far up the ladder.”

You’ve been brought into the realms of heaven itself. Come in. Have a seat, right here, with our Lord Jesus. You are a part of this now, you belong to this realm now. Your life is no longer confined to earthly limits, you are now living in heavenly dimensions.

We truly are breathing new air.

This is a statement of who and where we are today—Christ has brought us into God’s kingdom right now! We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. As His children, we have heavenly privileges and blessings now, even while we still live in this time and space.

In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul wrote that we’ve been blessed with all the spiritual blessings of the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ Jesus. We might be living on this earth, still walking through its battles, still fighting the corruption of our humanity, still faced with decaying and dying—but with an existence that goes beyond those limits, and with all the blessings and resources of heaven!

We set our sights on new realities—the realities of God’s sphere, His Kingdom, His heaven, His mission and plans. Oh! Everything is new!

Here again, our human minds will never fully understand this; only faith in what God says enables us to catch glimpses of this fantastic truth. I think God gives us those glimpses to encourage us. On this side of heaven, we’ll never be able to take it all in, but the Spirit gives us glimpses of the limitless life we’ve inherited … and He tells us, “This is your life now.”

 

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
(Psalm 119:18) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

“The new creation has come.”

Here it is, in a nutshell: When we came to Christ, we buried the old life. And then God gave us new lives. We became part of Christ’s new creation.

And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives (Romans 6:4).

Just as Christ left his earthly life behind and lived in a resurrected body, we leave behind our old lives and live in a new dimension of life.

How can words capture the magnitude of this, Lord Jesus? Give us a glimpse of who we really are now, resurrected to be a part of your new creation. Open our eyes to the wonderful truth of this hope.

For a long time, I thought this “dying” only meant that I should, by my own sheer willpower, put behind me all my old attitudes and behavior. Get rid of that old, sinful stuff! Be more like Christ!

That didn’t work out so well. (My willpower against my old nature? Willpower doesn’t stand a chance. I don’t have the strength to give myself this new life.)

What this does mean, instead, is that God is creating me anew. I’m living a New Creation life.

Or, to put myself in the big picture, in God’s plan to make all things new, I have become part of His new creation! The life He gave me belongs to the new creation world, not to this old, sin-corrupted, decaying, dying one.

Christ’s resurrection began that process of new creation. In Revelation, as He speaks to John, He refers to Himself as “the beginning of God’s new creation” (Revelation 3:14 NLT).

In my Bible, the word beginning is asterisked – the footnote expands on the word, stating that it could also be translated as the ruler or the source.

Christ is the source, the beginning, the ruler of God’s new creation. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he refers to Christ as the firstfruit of those God raised from the dead. He is the first to be resurrected to new life, and many other sons and daughters will follow.

That resurrection of sons and daughters is not referring only to resurrection after physical death, on some future day. That will come too. But we are also resurrected, born to a new kind of life, today, here, now. We have a new connection to God (and to others in the Kingdom!), He gives us a new heart, we have a new power for living, a new purpose and mission on earth—all things we’re going to take a look at in the next weeks.

We close the book on the old, and God begins His new creation within us.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
(Psalm 119:18) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

The Certainty

A new life? Can we believe that? Especially when our birth into this new life is not accompanied by immediate, dramatic changes in our circumstances, nature, or feelings? Here we are, in the same situations we have always lived in. Faced with the same struggles. A new life, you say? Where? How? When?

A highly educated religious teacher sat face-to-face with Jesus and voiced some of the same questions. Even then, he had difficulty understanding what Jesus was telling him. He wanted the how of everything explained, but Jesus said the new life that the Holy Spirit brings to believers is much like the wind …it cannot be defined, quantified, detailed, measured, explained…but you can see the effects. (See John 3)

God says He gave you a new birth, a birth that comes from His Spirit. He uses our earthly term birth to indicate it’s the beginning of something brand new!

The new life that you and I have is nothing like our earthly life, measured in years, marked with a beginning and an end, limited by our earthly capabilities and natures. This new life is given by God, and it’s God-designed and God-sized. It’s unlimited, built upon the Almighty’s capabilities and His nature.

As we go forward, we’ll hear our Father’s Word on some of those questions, but this new life is not something we’ll ever be able to explain with logic or science or even theology.

Our faith simply stands on the bridge of hope and says, “I believe this. I am trusting my life to this.”

But if we do find it difficult to understand and hard to believe, two things we can do are to hear God’s Word and then ask the Spirit to help our unbelief.

God’s Word assures us of this truth: Our Father is doing something new in each of His children.

When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4,5).

He has freed us and provided a way to come back to Him. He has adopted us and named us His children. Now He is making our lives—in other words, every bit of us—completely new. We are part of His new creation!

This is His promise, the bridge laid down before us,
over which our faith crosses to go toward everything He has for us:
He has given a new life to everyone who believes in Christ.

 

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Psalm Prayer:

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.
(Psalm 119:18) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015

Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)