"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation."
How do we become a new creation in Christ?
Considering the importance of a thriving relationship that develops over time, and understanding that religious rituals and practices can't save us, I have been wrestling with some difficult questions about what makes someone a sincere Christian.
I mean, think about this: Are we mistaken and even misled in counting people saved who have not allowed their relationship to take hold and grow? And what about someone who has never experienced meaningful changes in his or her life?
Say, for example, a man commits his heart to Christ and yet continues in a sexual relationship with a woman he isn't married to. (We know what the Bible says about sexual sin.) And what if this same man hasn't demonstrated any changes in his life? He doesn't pray or read his Bible, he doesn't attend church. What if, after praying that prayer of salvation, he hasn't really done anything to grow closer to Christ? Perhaps his life is the same as it was before.
Is he really a Christian?
These are questions that the church has been debating for centuries. So, I guess the answers depend upon your theology. Thankfully, though, God is the final judge--not us. He knows who is sincere in their faith. Yet in my life, I have met some desperate people (both inside and outside the church). And I've witnessed real victory over addiction and sin. Through it all, the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17 ring loudly in my ears: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new."
Lord Jesus, I want my faith to be real. I don't ever want to just go through the motions. Help me to know You intimately. Amen.