How many people, at some time in their lives, have said, “I wish I could start my life over again.” Well, you can. The past can be erased, and you can live a new life. Interested? Read on.
When one becomes a Christian, he begins a new life. He is no longer the person he was before. When by faith one obeys the gospel, and is baptized into Christ, he is saved from His sins—they are remitted, washed away. (Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, 1 Pet. 3:15). In baptism he is buried and is raised to walk in newness of life:
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Rom. 6:3-6, emphasis added.)
The penitent believer is baptized into Christ, wherein he becomes a “new creature,” or creation. (2 Cor. 5:17) Old things are removed (all of the bad things that were part of him before) and all begins anew. The old man of sin is gone. He starts afresh to make a new life, a life that reflects his faith in Christ (1 John 3:3, 5-7; Titus 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 2:21-22)
Consider some things that constitute this “newness.”
In the new life, one enjoys a new relationship with God. One living in sin is spiritually “dead,” or separated from God. (Eph. 2:1-5) In Christ, he is made alive, born again to a new life. As Peter says of these: “ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Pet. 1:21-22) He is born into the family of God, the Lord’s church, and thereby becomes a child of God. (Gal. 3:26-27, 1 Tim. 3:15)
The new life requires a new way of thinking. To make the changes that God requires demands a new way of thinking He is given a new standard, God’s word. (Phil. 1:17) His life now is to conform to God’s will by which his life is transformed. So the apostle Paul admonished: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2) The mind is now to be filled with things that make for a better life: “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there by any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:7)
The new life demands that one’s affections be new. He is to love the good and abhor the evil. (Rom. 12:9) His affections are transferred from a love for worldly things, from sinful pleasures, to spiritual things. He loves God supremely, His word, His kingdom, etc. (Matt. 22;37, Matt. 6:33, 1 John 2:15-17.) This begins with one’s love for God which responds to God’s love. God has commended His love to us in the giving of Hs Son to die for us. (Rom. 5:8, Matt. 26:28.) “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) The Christian is different, and is observed to be different as his affections are expressed. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15; see verse 21)
The new life demands new conduct. When one’s affections are on things of God, with a desire to please Him, righteous conduct will result. This new life reflects new conduct, as we read in Col. 3:2-4. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him…”
A new life now is preparation for eternal life when this life is over. Jesus came to bring to mankind life in a fullness that cannot be experienced in this world, but is fulfilled in the world to come. He said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) the word “abundantly” conveys a sense of “beyond”: that which is superabundant in quantity or superior in quality. After a faithful life when all men will stand before the righteous judgment of God, and He will render to every man according to his deeds, He will grant eternal life to all “who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality.” (Rom. 2:5-6.) This life in heaven will be far superior to any life experienced on earth.
This is what it means to be a Christian!