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Food for thought: ‘Living after the but’

From Dan Stone’s The Rest of the Gospel: When the partial Gospel has worn you out:

Are you in Christ? If so, you are a new creation. At your new birth, God birthed in you a new spirit, created in His likeness, in holiness and righteousness (John 3:6-8; Ezekiel 36:26; Ephesians 4:24). . . . For the first time you are alive the way God meant you to be alive. In your spirit you are a completely new creation.

Do you look like a new creation? No. You look like the same old Tom, Dick, Harry, Mary, Jane, or Elizabeth. Externally, you still are. But you have been renewed from within. Life is within. What you’ve been trying to bring into being below the line, Paul says you already are. You already are a new creature. You don’t have to try to become a new creature. But you’re going to try to become a new creature until you know you’re a new creature.

Of course, we can give mental assent: “Yes, I’m a new creature, but . . .” Where you are really living comes after the but. “I’m a new creature, but . . .” But what? “But I sure do fail a lot.” Then that’s the way you see yourself. You don’t see yourself as a new creature. You see yourself as failing a lot. Instead, you could say, “I sure do fail a lot, but I’m a new creature.” Then that’s where you’re living. You’re always living after the but.

You are a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old is gone. To whom? To God. It may not disappear as quickly to you, in the seen and temporal realm, as you’d like. But it’s gone to God. He sees the unseen and eternal. He sees the first from the last. And He knows that the old is gone. The question is who’s keeping score? You or God? The old you is gone to the One who is in charge of the universe. To Him, you are not the same person you were before you entered into Christ. You are a brand new creation in Christ.

It took me 21 years after getting saved to catch up to what already was. I said, “Oh my goodness. Look how God has been seeing me for 21 years, and I’ve been bogged down in this flesh conflict, continually trying to make myself new, and losing.” The losing ceased when I stopped trying to become who I wanted to be, and saw that I already was.
(Image: by fatal Cleopatra at flickr.com)

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