I wonder if you have adopted any New Year’s Resolutions this year? More exercise? Less chocolate? Less television? More Bible Reading? It can be good to set ourselves little targets and the New Year is a great time to do so. But the Christian life involves much more than just our human efforts to become better people.
Two caterpillars were sitting on a leaf when a butterfly flew overhead. One turned to the other and said, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things!” The Apostle Paul wrote, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV) The Living Bible translates this verse this way. When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same any more. A new life has begun! (Living Bible)
Most religions are all about turning over a new leaf, working hard to become a better person, struggling to try to live up to God’s standards. But becoming a Christian isn’t about turning over a new leaf. Becoming a Christian is about beginning a new life! Like a caterpillar transformed into a butterfly. God doesn’t just call us to follow the example He has given us in Jesus Christ and to live by Jesus’s teachings. God actually makes it possible for US to share in Jesus’s life! The apostle Paul explains what being a Christian is about like this:-
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Romans 6:4-5)
Paul is saying that Christ’ death in our place on the cross offers us forgiveness for all our sins. At the same time we then begin to share Christ’s glorious resurrection life – eternal life, life in all its fullness. God the Holy Spirit Himself lives inside every Christian, transforming us into the image of Christ.
May God help each one of us to live this new life to the full in 2011!