Sometimes, when I am shopping online, there are “reconditioned” electronics. These are devices that were returned by someone (for whatever reason), then cleaned up and maybe repaired, so that they could be re-sold. While the discount is nice sometimes, there are risks to getting something second-hand. In addition (while this might be a little paranoid), I don’t like to get anything that someone could have installed tracking software onto it by the previous owner, like a smartphone or a computer.
That’s not our new life in Jesus Christ, though. We are new, still in the original packaging and uncorrupted. A new creation, fresh off of the line, custom detailed, and having that “new car smell” (which is actually toxic fumes from plastics, I think).
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
For those of us who remember a life before accepting Jesus’ gift, it’s great to be a new creation. (And, if you haven’t discovered the change for the better that comes through following Jesus, talk with a trusted friend or pastor who has walked with Him for a while.)
Having described the miracle of the salvation that God provided for us in Titus 3:4-7, Paul (the author of that letter) writes the following:
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Titus 3:8 NIV
This “saying” (probably describing most of verses 4-7) is something worthy of teaching and reminding each other about…a lot. As long as there are those who haven’t heard (or understood) the free gift of redemption that Jesus offers, we should keep emphasizing it.
And, while mature Christians shouldn’t stop their study of the Bible once they get to the part about salvation, there’s no harm in repeating the fundamental message of Jesus Christ over and over again. For those who follow Jesus, this is a great reminder to keep us focused on our present and our future, rather than on our past. When we are tempted to think that we’re not good enough, too sinful, or just not “Heaven material”, I pray that others in our lives will remind us of the truths here in this passage. They are indeed “excellent and profitable for everyone”.
If you’ll bear with me for a moment to connect the dots, here, why do Christians do good? I understand why some people – viewing believers’ actions from the outside – think that Christian behavior is some sort of requirement, or that Christians must earn their salvation in order for God to like them. Without an explanation, that’s a logical interpretation with limited information, even though that conclusion is simply not correct.
Instead, I think of righteous Christian behavior like taking care of something new. Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and our Savior, we are wonderfully saved in Him. We read in the Bible (see above) how we are made into a brand-new creation as a result. As a result, just like we probably wouldn’t drive a new car through the mud, or spill food on a new couch, there’s no place for God’s new creation (us!) to still be living like we aren’t saved, remaining in our sinful behaviors (from before we allowed Jesus to change us for the better).
We know that if a Christian still messes up after accepting Jesus (and I know that I do plenty of that), they are still saved. Jesus took care of all of our sins when He died for us. However, salvation is not a license to sin (see Romans 6:1-2, for instance). We are not saved to sin more. We are saved to do something good with the rest of our lives. When we become a new creation, we end up being more like God’s original plan – i.e., how we were supposed to have lived our entire lives.
So, if you follow Jesus Christ, remember that you are indeed a new creation. You are like a shiny new car or a newly-built home, no longer dented and beat up like you were before. Then, live your life in a way that takes good care of this brand-new gift that you have been given. May we keep our new lives clean and avoid contaminating them with sin – not because we have to in order to get into Heaven, but because love we God (who gave this gift to us) enough that we want to treat His gift with respect.
Based on Sunday School lesson prepared for November 22, 2020.
- Christian Standard, Volume CLV, Number 11, pages 85-86. © 2020 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- The College Press Commentary, 1, 2 Timothy & Titus, by C. Michael Moss. Ph. D. College Press Publishing Company, © 1994.