Old things are passed away; Behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
The first question someone should ask themselves when they pray to Christ for forgiveness and eternal life is: What’s new?
What is different about me now compared to before I received Christ as my Lord and Savior. How have I changed?
For me, I immediately felt different. I knew change had come into my life. My wife noticed it right away. Anyone who knows me well would tell you; “when Bob became a Christian, he became a completely different person.” In many ways that is true, but others might say he is the same old Bob West. Well I know that is not true but in reality the change is a result of what Jesus did for me on the cross ... not what others think or see.
So what is true? The problem is that others look at us and they see the same old person with all of our shortcomings and rough edges. And when we look at our self honestly we must admit many of our same old bad habits, sins, and failings still cause us to stumble and fall. Others (especially those who have rejected Christ) doubt and point out our failings as evidence that for them somehow reinforces their own unbelief; and sometimes even we begin to doubt that we have changed.
But wait a minute. God cannot lie. His Word is Truth and he says: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
So if this applies to me, what does it mean?
First of all it does apply to me ... I am “in Christ.”
What does Bob is a new creature mean? What old things are passed away? What does all things have become new mean? And why isn’t this clear to myself and everyone else?
Okay let’s start with the first most important question. Do you truly believe? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-14
Do you really believe this is truth? When we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, we are receiving this Truth. If you claim to be a Christian but reject this basic Truth what does that make you? A Christian ... or a hypocrite?
Can someone receive Christ and then just believe whatever he wishes, as many would contend? Here is the rub: Jesus says; “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16-17 If as Jesus promised, you have the Holy Spirit in you, abiding with you forever … will not the Spirit of Truth convict you in your heart continually if you choose to believe or do whatever you feel like?
Why is this important?
Well let’s look back to the first truth promise that we read:
“if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” Have you ever even considered yourself to be a creature of any sort? For most of us the answer to this question would be: no. And why is that? Well most of us have a definition of creature that would be some sort of a science fiction creature. That just seems bizarre to most of us.
Let’s look at Webster’s definition to get a clearer understanding of this: Definition of CREATURE: 1: something created either animate or inanimate: such as: a lower animal, especially a farm animal; or a human being; or creatures of fantasy. 2: one that is the servile dependent or tool of another.
Now are you getting the picture? First of all creatures are something created. How can someone believe that he is a new creature, or an old creature for that matter, if he doesn’t believe he was created by the Creator; and how can a person be a Christian if He rejects the Word that is the Truth that became flesh and dwelled among us, died on the cross for our sins, and saves us eternally through His never-ending Grace?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1-3
Evolution is the conscious rejection of the Creator of all things. Evolution is a doctrine of demons. This is why we must always reject the theory of evolution. To do otherwise is in fact to reject our Savior who died on the cross for our sins. If a person has the Holy Spirit, and he is accepting the false theory of evolution, he will never be at peace. The Holy Spirit will not allow for him to rest there. If someone says he is a Christian, and also says he believes evolution is truth, I cannot judge him,but I certainly do judge his false conclusion ... I am convinced he is quite likely not a Christian.
All right now … you are a new creature as opposed to the old creature you were before becoming born again of the Spirit. “Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
How is this new creature different? Well first and foremost he has the Holy Spirit abiding in him. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive.” John 14:16-17. The Holy Spirit will give us comfort in all of our daily challenges. When we rest in Him and His Word we are abiding above the cares of the world. He will help us to understand His eternal Truth and its application in our daily lives as we walk in the World.
When we set our mind on Christ, His Word and the things of the Spirit, we may seem peculiar to others because we have newly found confidence and conviction. Others cannot understand because "the things of the Spirit are foolishness to them." Jesus made this clear: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" and "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive." And Jesus also said; "If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18-19
God's Word, His eternal Truth which is foolishness to the unbelieving, becomes clear and easily understood to those who trust Christ and His Word. "But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual (the new creature) judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:14-16
Did you get that new creature? We have the Mind of Christ. Now that is a promise we all must stand upon.
Are you feeling better about your ability to understand the Truth?
YOU HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST ...
Now back to Webster's definition of Creature:
"one that is the servile dependent or tool of another."
The apostles considered themselves as bond servants or slaves to Christ Jesus and His Gospel. What about you? Do you still see yourself as an American ... free to do whatever and whenever you wish?
“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10. This new creature is to do good works, not in order to be saved; but rather as the love of Christ controls us … as the mission and ministry of reconciliation that He has given each of us.
And how is all of this to play out for us new creatures?
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:14-16
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
"But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation" 1 Peter 2:9-12
Meditate on this one … New Creature.
“For the love of Christ controls us ... Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh ... or from a worldly point of view”
… but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you. Philippians 3:13-15
What's going on?
A number of friends have asked me; “why have I not seen many posts these past few months?”
Well I have been busy with a new business and that is a good thing. On another positive note, every hour, people from all over the world ... from remote corners of the world are reading my posts ... every hour of every day, somewhere several people open and read one of my posts. This brings me great encouragement. Paradox Principles is a blessing which God has provided to me during my wilderness experience. But now I am back, and today I will try to be transparent and explain the personal trials I have been going through and how the Lord has delivered me again and again and again ... as I determined to “Abide in Christ.”
So that no one might get confused here, resting in Christ is where the peace, rest, power, and confidence are found. Read this verse:
“If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
When Thomas Edison was asked by a reporter; “sir, how does it feel to have failed 10,000 times in your attempt to invent the incandescent light bulb? Edison replied; “Sir, you are young and have much to learn. I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
It is my understanding that Edison was not a believer and so his solution was simple: grind it out, never give up, and keep experimenting until you find the solution. This is the tendency that all responsible men follow unconsciously ... in their human nature.
Obviously when coming from the great Thomas Edison this is excellent advice for success ... from a human or natural man's perspective. But as Christians, we have a better way. We are to Abide Above and rest in Christ. He will guide us and work out that which is best for each of us. " Old things (the ways of the world) have passed away ... new things (the ways of the Spirit) have come" 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
As Christians we often fall into this same old human nature habit. But as we grow spiritually we come to understand that we can have instant rest when we choose to abide above, and to: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” Miles J. Stanford wrote two of my favorite books entitled “Abide Above” and the “Principle of Position.” If you are interested, I highly recommend “the Complete Green Letters” which includes both of these books for less than ten dollars on Amazon.com
So now … on to my personal story of defeat and victory. It has now been almost six years since I had a quintuple heart bypass surgery that has allowed me to continue along this roller-coaster journey called life.
I felt reasonably secure in my 1.4 million dollar home and with enough cash in the bank to live comfortably without working for years. I was enjoying a career as a successful real estate mortgage broker and could easily earn as much money as I needed, whenever I desired. Naturally after my surgery, I decided to take some time off for recuperation. Well when I decided to go back to work ... everyone knows about the financial market crash that suddenly hit us, and that all of us are still experiencing.
I am sure my story is like millions of others across America whose lives have been disrupted, and things will never be the same. The difference as made evident by Thomas Edison above is in how we look at life’s setbacks. To some degree I responded to the crisis in a way similar to Edison … I figured out a solution and acted accordingly. But more importantly, I also chose to “Abide Above” which allowed me to live above the problems of the world. It was not clear to me that God needed for me to completely "Abide Above" before he would deliver me this time.
I immediately downsized my lifestyle and moved into a $210,000 home which is hard to find in Southern California, and we planned to ride out the storm and go back into the real estate business. I never imagined at the time that the real estate and real estate loan industry would not likely come back during my working career. But in the year that followed, that became apparent. Also it became apparent that after 40 years of being self-employed and in sales management where I never needed to be concerned about a job that things had changed and at my age new career options were extremely limited.
Five years later, our reserves were gone and from a human perspective things looked very bleak. we had lost everything. But we hung onto the one thing we can never lose: Jesus Christ. The Lord provided us with a place to rest. Two different Christian friends unexpectedly wrote us sizable checks as gifts that allowed for us to survive. We will never forget this generosity and love as Christ moved on their hearts.
During the past five years I have explored dozens of new career options which include: life insurance sales, retirement planning, B paper loan marketing, Isogenics, home improvement sales, Credit Card processing, Wow Mobile Phone sales, Kangen Water, ACN video phone marketing, video message email marketing, Lead Net Pro, Next day client list marketing, Numis coins, Online RE loans, reverse mortgages, and various other online store ideas. The list goes on and on. I did my best to try not to burden my friends with these ideas but in any event I apologize for any inconvenience I might have caused. And I thank you for your prayers.
The good news is that during this wilderness period, I have grown in my relationship with Christ. My true friends have been made known to me. And God has shown me how to rest in His love and to have His victory in the face of defeat. I have basically lost everything and gotten to the end of my reserves and Jesus Christ as he promised has always provided, protected and delivered me.
And when I least expected God provided the solution. Day by day we received clarity on which steps to take. And now he has given me a new career. I have nothing to sell to my friends and family. God has provided everything we need. I already have more customers than I can handle and they are sending money into my account seven days a week. Cheryl and I are now in a position where we can choose to live wherever we wish and do our new business from there. At present, we plan to move back to Orange County where we will be close to our family; and additionally our extended family at Coast Bible Church whom we miss and love much.
Freedom … that is what is on the other side of unexpected defeat. Peace and rest is what we are promised when we “Abide in Christ.” My new travel business is clearly a gift from God. That is the only way I can explain it. One door leads to the next. I am helping people again and that is invigorating and inspiring. Sales are growing dramatically from one month to the next.
In closing, these are uncertain times. I will never take God’s blessings for granted again ... and I will Never, never ... never give up … Abide in Christ my friends. I am now 65 and in poor health, and we have created a very profitable new business, with minimal investment, no experience, and very limited travel industry knowledge. Honest quality service from real people; only the best products; and savings to every customer are a business model that is unique in every industry. You just need to find the right application. Abiding in Christ allows for us to rest while we wait for His leading.
We must never forget … memorize this one:
“But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
often contradict the wisdom of the world. Since we have been programmed by the world ... we have come to accept these worldly ideas as truth ... but when we consider God’s perspective ... we come to understand ... "the Lord's ways are not our ways"
Don't just read these writings ... meditate and pray over God's Word ... Listen to the Holy Spirit ... and be transformed by renewing your mind. He who died on our behalf wants you to ... allow the love of Christ to control you ... so that you might become ... the righteousness of God in Him.
Be an Ambassador of Christ ... with a ministry of reconciliation. Share God's eternal Truth and Love ... with everyone He brings into your path.