I’ve always had a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that when we become Christians, we become “new creations”. Actually, I don’t so much have a problem with the “new” part as I do with the the idea that the “old” things are no longer a part of us (2 Corinthians 5:17).
And for good reason: the old things still feel like a part of me.
The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).
But when I became a Christian, my sinful tendencies didn’t vanish. In fact, I remained ignorant to the fact that most of them even were sin for quite awhile. Over time, the Lord brought (and still brings) to my attention what was/is not okay in my life. He exposes the old things that are still tripping me up.
But how can that be if the old things supposedly passed away when I became a Christian? There shouldn’t be anything left to expose…
So either scripture is wrong, or my interpretation is wrong. (Hint: scripture is never wrong.)
Last week an analogy came to mind that shed some light on the subject for me.
Sometimes things in our bodies go awry, and some of our cells begin to die. When this happens on a large scale, we can develop a condition called gangrene. You may have heard of this in relation to frost bite or bedsores. Don’t Google it, you’ll see all kinds of pictures that will make you vomit. All you need to know is trauma or infection causes the death of a large group of cells.
There are various treatments for gangrene, but all involve the removal of the dead tissue. In extreme cases, amputation is necessary. If patients opt to leave that dead tissue in their bodies, their health, and possibly their lives, will be compromised.
And so the analogy practically writes itself.
What is dead inside must be removed for the patient to fully live. The removal of what is dead is necessary that the patient themselves might live.
Maybe that’s how it is with us Christians, too.
When we choose Jesus to be our Lord and our Savior, our “old things” pass away… but they are still within us. Our old selves, full of corruption and brokenness, are just as dead as gangrenous tissue… and just as deadly.
Until we have it removed, the death within us threatens our lives.
More on what the removal process looks like next time…