Your New Life in Christ
Starts right away
If you just now prayed to God and invited Jesus to come into your life as your Lord and Savior, you have begun your new life in Christ. Jesus has entered into a personal relationship with you through the “heart transplant” that God has performed upon you (see this statement at “What is Christian faith? (Revised again)”). Or maybe it has been awhile since you made that prayer, confessed your sins, acknowledged that Jesus is Lord, and invited Jesus to come into your heart and life. In either case, if you were sincere, you should begin to experience the work of the Holy Spirit right away as he begins to make you into a new person. Just as a new-born baby is no longer in a sack of amniotic fluid in its mother’s womb, so you are now in the world as a “new creation” (according to Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:17), having been “born” of the “Spirit” (as explained by Jesus in John 3:6). You have a new life as a new person in Christ Jesus, and your situation is new and different. You have been “born again”. You have been given a fresh start in life.
One of your new emotions may be an immediate sense of having a heavy burden lifted off of you. This is your sins being taken from you by Jesus who bore them on the Cross so that God could forgive you and receive you into his family as one of his “children” (see John 1:12). As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, “...God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned....” (John 3:17–18) You are now in the world as a forgiven sinner. There is nothing that you did to earn God’s forgiveness. It is his gift of grace to you through Jesus when you accepted him by faith as your Savior and Lord. That is a really GOOD gift!
God’s forgiveness is real and personal. You should experience a feeling of joy and relief as you are given new life through his grace. Your mood should be one of praise and thanksgiving for what God has done for you. As David, Israel’s great king who himself was forgiven by God, says, “rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous, all you who are upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:11) Your heart has been made “upright” and “righteous” through God’s forgiving grace and cleansing power in his Son and the Holy Spirit. Your old heart that had been deadened by your sins has been replaced by a new heart that is vibrant and healthy through the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ in your life (see Colossians 2:13).
Your emotional mood may change from time to time, but don’t let that make you anxious about your new life. It is based on God’s promise to those who believe, not your feelings. As John says in his first letter, “and this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11–12) That is a GOOD word of instruction.
New initial perceptions
You may immediately perceive yourself, those close to you, and your worldly situation in new and different ways. This is to be expected. As Paul says, “from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view....The new has come!“ (2 Corinthians 5:16–17) Individuals with whom you have a close relationship may be seen in the new light of God’s love and glory because some of the impressions created by your selfish sinful rebellion have been removed by the new lenses of God’s forgiveness and transforming power. They may appear to be more beautiful and friendly than they have ever been. People that you once considered to be your personal enemies may no longer be seen with much fear and hostility.
Your situation in the world may take on a new perspective. Things that once appeared to be insurmountable problems may no longer be so large. Material issues and desires may no longer have the same priority and appeal. Habits and friends that may have seemed to provide so much fun and pleasure may no longer be as enjoyable as they once were.
As you humbly share the results and blessings of your new life in Christ with others, they will also begin to see you in new and different ways. The change that they see in you may please some of them, but it may offend others. That is to be expected. Not every one of Jesus’ contemporaries was comfortable in his presence.
Your first steps
Your first steps as a new person in Jesus Christ should be taken as you hold his hand, as you trust yourself to his upholding strength and guiding wisdom. He died to give you new life, and he doesn’t want the devil to crush it out of you or to see you all buised and bloody because you have been trying to walk around too soon on your own. It is one thing for a toddler to learn to walk in the safe comfort of his/her carpeted living room. It is quite a different situation were he/she to try to learn to walk in the middle of a busy four-lane highway.
Paul, writing to new Christians in Thessalonica, told them to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). You may be nervous and somewhat unsteady as you try out your new legs of faith. That is why Paul told his Christian friends in Philippi to “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7). Keep your prayers simple and use your own sincere words of praise and request. God really loves to hear such prayers from his children.
One of the psalmists gives us this wise instruction: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your (the LORD'S) word. I will seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9–11) As you take your first steps as a new Christian, do so with an open Bible in your hand. The Bible is your “owners manual”. It is your book of instructions for your new life.
It may seem to be “grown up” to start walking about with an attitude of independence and arrogant confidence, but as a “new born” child of God you are not strong enough or wise enough to go to battle on your own against the devil. You might start your new walk with Jesus by reading the book of Ephesians in the New Testament (see “An Outline of Ephesians” in the link for “Special Bible Studies” on this website). It is a short book in which Paul describes the basic blessings that God has given to you through Jesus Christ. The brief letters of 1st, 2nd. and 3rd John may also be helpful. John is very practical and clear in these instructions and teaching. The book of James also has some good practical guidance for Christians (see my sermons from James in the link for “Some Sermons/Christian Living” on this website). To learn more about Jesus read the gospels of John and Luke.
Start every day with a few minutes of reading from your Bible and prayer for God’s protection and guidance through the day. You can find various books and resources for such daily devotions at your local Christian book store or on the Internet. One excellent devotional resource is published by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries. “A Word With You” is his free email message that can come to you regularly through your email provider, if you choose to subscribe.
Become active in God’s family
When God gave you a new life in Christ, he also provided for you a local group of “brothers” and “sisters”, other believers in Jesus with whom you can now fellowship as you seek to grow in God’s grace and love. You will find these spiritual “relatives” in a church in your community or area. Make sure that the group, congregation, and its leaders are recognizing that Jesus is the “head” of their “body” of believers and that the Bible, God’s Word, is the authority and guide for their worship and teachings.
This local family of fellow believers should welcome you with a friendly spirit and be ready to help you to grow in your new life and walk with Jesus. They should provide a weekly opportunity for you to join with others in uplifting experiences of worship and praise to God. The pastor’s preaching should be instructive and encouraging. There should be classes in which you can get some teaching in biblical doctrines and the history of God’s revelation in the world and in his work with his family of “children” in the Church and with his special people, the Jews. If they offer a variety of small groups on various types of personal problems or concerns or particular aspects of spiritual growth and development, you might also join such a gathering to share in their supporting fellowship and study. Such a group can be very helpful as you make the transition from your old life to your new life in Christ.
When you received new life in Christ, you also received at least one personal spiritual gift from God through the Holy Spirit. This gift is a special ability that God has given to you for you to use in your new life of worship and service. It may be a gift of wisdom or one of knowledge. It may be a gift to teach or one to serve in some position of administration within a church. It may a gift to enable you to provide psychological or even physical healing for someone. It may be a special gift of hospitality or one that provides strength and encouragement and comfort to others, and there are other gifts. No gift is given to make you superior to someone else who may have a different gift.
Paul has a lot to say about “spiritual gifts” in his letter of 1 Corinthians (see chapters 12–14). Your pastor and other leaders and teachers in your church family should be able and willing to help you to recognize and to effectively put your spiritual gift to GOOD use in your new life. Don’t wait too long to unwrap your spiritual gift and begin to use it. God will be greatly pleased as you use it, and your use of it will produce many blessings in your life and that of others.
Be on your guard
Although you have been given a fresh start in life and a new life in Christ, you are still living on a “battlefield”. The devil and his servants and soldiers will still be out to get you, to hurt you, to disable you, to make your service to God and others ineffective, to persecute you, to take away the joy of your walking with Jesus, to discourage you as you continue to sin, and to generally seek to deprive you of the “full” life or the “abundant” life (see John 10:10) that God has given to you in Christ.
When you sin, and you will, and again displease God or dishonor Jesus your Lord and Savior, confess your sin in prayer and ask God for his cleansing and strengthening power. It is promised to you according to 1 John 1:9. If you have been spiritually hurt by any of the devil’s weapons, ask God for his comforting and healing touch. David, the ancient king of Israel, was a sinner who faced a lot of violent enemies in his life, but he said “O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)
Every morning as you get up and get ready for another day, “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Continue to read these words of Paul in Ephesians 4:25–6:18. You will find some very practical and helpful instructions that will enable you to live your new life in Christ with victory, joy, and confidence that your fresh start and new life in Christ will not be in vain. It will be a GOOD life.
In chapter 6 verses 11–18 of Ephesians Paul describes the spiritual “armor” that you had better wear while on the “battlefield” of this world. Don’t give in or surrender to the devil and his tempting sins for one minute. In his letter to the Romans Paul states with confidence that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39) You may be a new young child of God, but he has not left you alone to fight off the enemy and survive by yourself.
Includes a great inheritance
The benefits of your fresh start and new life in Christ are not limited to the physical duration of your human life on earth, but they are greatly increased when you join God and Jesus in his eternal heavenly kingdom. There you will receive “every spiritual blessing in Christ” and share in “the riches of his (God’s) glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:3, & 18). Our minds cannot comprehend the complete eternal inheritance that God has reserved for his children.
May God really bless you in your new life in Christ. If you have any questions about this matter or this statement, you may address them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.