More than "Who I am"
I am going to start off this post with the question that is normally found at the end of the posts: What does it mean to be a new creation in Christ? Feel free to answer.
This could be answered in different ways. In Romans 5 Paul writes of the connection between sin and grace. He then shares how our sin may be great, but the grace given through Christ’s sacrifice is greater (v.20). However, he continues into chapter 6 saying “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who dies to sin still live in it? (v.1-2)” He is making the point that although we are forgiven of our sin, it does not give us permission to continue being separated from Christ.
Now, I go back to the question posed at the beginning: what does it mean to be a new creation in Christ? In chapter 12 of Romans Paul uses the Greek word metamorfoo(metamorphosis) to describe the transformation process a person should go through when they have moved into a relationship with Christ. It is not a suggestion, it is a reality of who we are to become. That means, in reference to chapter 5 and 6, our sin should no longer be something we allow to continue to rule over us.
Just to be clear, I am not speaking of sin that pops up and we recognize it when it is too late, that is something we must seek God to forgive right away. I am speaking of the sin we knowingly participate in such as excessive drinking regularly, promiscuity, adultery, gossip, hate speech, etc. This is unacceptable and should be removed from our lives, but only through the grace of God and our dependence on Him to remove it.
Some may be saying “Well, this is who I am and I will always be this way” and I can relate to that fact. I have dealt with people that are difficult and I have accepted that they are just going to be that way. However, those people are not followers of Christ; therefore I do not expect them to change unless they decide to claim being a follower. Those who have accepted Christ, which I am one, must seek to transform. The phrase “I Am Who I AM” only belongs to the One who deserves that title (and I’m not speaking of Popeye). We have no right to claim that phrase for ourselves.
Being a new creation means just that, a new creation. If you claim Jesus, but still walk in anger and hate, then you need to check your new creation status. It cannot and will not change overnight, but it should change at some time since we can no longer claim “This who I am.” The change Paul speaks of is similar to that of the change of a caterpillar to a butterfly. We would not want a caterpillar to change into a butterfly only to continue to crawl around and be creepy. We want to see a butterfly fulfill its purpose to fly and be a pretty creature that floats gracefully. The same should be said for followers of Christ. We cannot accept Christ and be expected to change into a beautiful creature, but be allowed to creep along doing our old habits.
Let us strive to be that new creation we are meant to be. May the world see our Christ’s beauty through our activity on this earth. Let us not settle for “This is who I am,” but endeavor to show “I AM”.