Is the Old Truly Gone?

The Apostle Paul had just finished talking about how God has fashioned us for the purpose that we should deny self and take up our cross daily and follow Jesus, though not in those same exact words, but with the same meaning behind the words (2 Co 5:1-5; cf. Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24).

Then, he talked about how we make it our goal to please the Lord. We find out what pleases the Lord and we do it, and we find out what displeases the Lord, and we don’t do that. Our goal in life should be to live for the Lord Jesus, separate from the world and unto God (2 Co 5:9; cf. Rom 12:1-2).

For, he said, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Co 5:10; cf. Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10).

2 Corinthians 5:11, 14-15 NIV

“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.”

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

So, verse 11 here refers back to the previous verses. God did not make us to live for ourselves, to do whatever our flesh desires, to go our own way, and yet claim him as our Savior and heaven as our eternal destiny. He created us to be like him in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24).

We live by faith and not by sight. We make it our goal to please the Lord in everything. For, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

So, to know what it is to fear the Lord means we know that we were made to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We know that we must please the Lord in everything. And we know that we are all going to be judged by our deeds.

Thus, to fear the Lord is not only to treat him with honor, dignity, respect, and obedience, but it is to live as though we believe that we are created to be Christlike, and that we are to live our lives to please him, and as though we believe we will be judged by our deeds.

For, Christ’s love for us would never compel us to keep on living in sin thinking we don’t have to obey him, submit to him, or leave our sins behind us. Christ’s love for us would never compel us to make a mockery of his blood sacrifice on that cross to deliver us from slavery to sin.

Christ’s love for us should compel us to no longer live for ourselves and for what we want. His love should compel us to live for him who gave his life up for us on that cross, so we could walk in freedom from bondage to sin, and so we could walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

This is not automatic for every person who makes a profession or a confession of Christ as Lord and Savior. If it was lip service only, but the heart did not change, then the person is not a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old isn’t gone because he/she is still walking according to the flesh.

Because this all comes from God, our salvation, and our faith to believe in the Lord for salvation, are going to be completely in agreement with God’s will and purpose for our lives, and with his purpose for sending his Son to be our sacrificial offering to take away the sins of the world.

And that is that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us, and that we might now walk (in practice) in accord with the Holy Spirit and no longer in accord with our sinful flesh (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; Rom 8:1-17).

If we truly are in Christ, and not everyone is who professes to be, our old way of living to sin and the flesh has been put to death with Christ, we have been born anew of the Holy Spirit, and now we live holy lives, pleasing to God, and we follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (Rom 6:1-23).

But not one of us can put off that old life and put on that new life in Christ in our own flesh. All this is from God from start to finish. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, and even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God (Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-9).

But that doesn’t mean we do nothing. It is just that the something that we do is what God requires, it is of God, and it is done in his power and strength to the glory of God and for his praise. It is what God designed and purposed for us that we should deny self, die daily to sin, and obey our Lord.

So, to be reconciled to God is not just to pray a prayer or to make a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ. It means we die with Christ to sin, we are reborn of the Spirit of God, and now we live to God and to his righteousness, empowered by the Spirit of God who now lives within us (Rom 6:1-23).

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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