In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”
This Scripture could be understood as saying – when you come to Jesus and you give your heart to Him you become perfect – you will never have anxiety, fear, bitterness, jealousy, lust, doubts, confusions, addictions, hopelessness, low self-esteem, self-doubt etc.
The fact of the matter is; majority of Christians do not feel that way. Let me ask you one question: do you feel that you are a new creation? Do you really feel that the old stuff in your life has completely gone?
In order to resolve this puzzle, we have to understand what Paul meant by being a new creation. To unpack this further, let’s explore the original design of man & God’s plan of salvation. When God created us, he created us with a triune nature: spirit, soul and body. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life; and man became a living soul.”
Genesis 2:7May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4BODY:
The Human body is the visible part of man. It can be seen and felt because it is made up of an earthly material. Our body is what we look at in the mirror. Our body gives our soul and spirit the licence to legally exist in this earth. If you want to live here on earth for long, then you have to look after your body. It is so precious and wonderfully made by God.
God made our body from a temporal material (the dust); it was created with the ability to decay and die. When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, sin entered his body and defiled him. According to Paul in Romans 7, sin is a fallen nature that dwells in our body. This fallen nature is a rebellion nature that doesn’t obey God. Paul cried out saying, “wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”. The sin nature doesn’t have its own organs; it rather uses our organs to fulfil its desires. Although sin is not our own nature, the fact that it uses our body organs makes us responsible for its actions. In other words, when we allow sin to use our body, we become sinners and liable for our actions. The sin nature is not our nature, but we are fully responsible for allowing it to use our organs: our eyes, tongue, hands, mind, hearts etc. At Calvary, Jesus purchased for us a new body that He will give us at the day of resurrection. A resurrected body is free from sin, disease, disability and corruption. The body we are having now is not saved, but it will be saved at the last day.SOUL:
Our soul is where our mind, will, emotion, memories, consciousness, personalities, and character resides. It is the most powerful part of our being. It is where decisions are made. Our soul can be felt
but cannot be seen; you cannot see your soul in the mirror
. You can only feel other people’s souls through their attitude, character and behaviour. It takes time to know this part of man.
Our soul is the most troubled part of our being. It is in our soul that emotions such as fear, anger, bitterness, doubt, depression, confusion often take place. Satan is interested in our soul; he wants to steal joy and peace from our soul and make us miserable. That is why Jesus said this very profound statement in Matthew 11: 28-30:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Our soul is the part of us that is being saved or renewed every day. No one has got a perfect soul yet – only Jesus does. However, we are called to grow to perfection daily. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
It is our soul that is being formed into the likeness of Jesus. It is an ongoing often painful process.SPIRIT:
Our spirit originated from God, therefore, it is eternal. When Adam sinned his spirit was totally separated from God. The bible calls this separation death.
This part of our being is the most misunderstood part, because our spirit cannot be felt nor seen. The spirit part of us cannot be accessed by our five senses. When we say Christ lives in us, we say it by faith not by feelings. In Galatians 2:20 Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”.
Also in Ephesians 3:17, he added, “That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”
Ephesians 3:17. It is the part of us that experiences a new birth. It is the part of us that God directly interacts with: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The Word of God is the mirror through which we can see our spirit. Whatever the bible says you are in your spirit man is your true identity in Christ. When you are in Christ, His identity becomes fully yours (2 Corinthians 5:21). You may not feel it or see it, but it is real. In other Words, you can only see your spirit by faith: “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrew 11:1 ESV.What our Spirit look like:
What you and I look like in our born-again spirit is amazing – it is too good to be true:
1. We look like God
Ephesians 4:24 “… put on the new self, created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness.”
2. In our spirit, we have already become perfect children of God, citizens of Heaven & royal priesthood. (Romans 8:16; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Peter 2:9-10)
3. In our spirit, we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)What does renewed life look like?
A renewed life is a life that looks like Jesus. As we renew our mind with the Word of God, we start to look like Jesus in our thinking, behaviour and actions. So there are things that we must get rid of to look like Jesus, such as bitterness, unforgiveness, unwholesome talk, deception, pride, envy and all desires of the flesh. Instead, we should bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Ephesians 4:21-32; Galatians 5:22-26; Colossians 3).What should I do to experience true renewal?
To go on a journey of renewal it is vital
1. Anchor your identity in who you are in your spirit man.
- Do not be led by your feelings, but by the Word of God. Your feeling doesn’t tell you the state of your spirit; it can only tell you the state of your soul. Your soul is imperfect therefore the Devil will take advantage of your ignorance and will keep on condemning you. Stand firm and resist the enemy in faith when he comes to accuse you & tell you how horrible and wretched you are. For there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1).
2. Know that the Holy Spirit dwelt in you to help you not to condemn you. When you commit sin immediately clean your soul with the Blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9; 2 John 2:1-2). Do not run away from the Holy Spirit; instead run to Him in repentance.
3. Draw near to God
Feed on the Word of God; it is food for your spirit and soul. Pray and fast, keep on worshiping Him, be in His presence.
4. Seek help!
Sometimes sin and Satan could damage your soul (mind, emotion and will) to an extent that you will not be able to recover on your own. You should not suffer alone; talk to a trusted mature leader to pray with you and keep you accountable on your journey to recovery and growth. Do not put on a façade.Discussion Questions
1. How can we keep our spirit, soul and body blameless?23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it
. 1 Thessalonians 5
2. Read Ephesians 4:21-32 and discuss about the old self and the new self and what your new self should look like. Which area of the new self, do you struggle to put on?
3. You can only experience true renewal if you only anchor your identity in the identity of your spirit, not in the identity of your soul or body. Can you reflect on this statement and apply to your lives?