Who You Are

Christian growth is not changing who you are; it’s becoming who you are. Christianity does not merely give you something new; it makes you something new. 

If you are a Christian, you are a new person: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17)

You have put on a new self: “You have put off the old selfwith its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” (Col 3:9-10)

Your former self perished with Jesus on the cross, and you now have new life in Him: “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3) 

You no longer have a sin-filled, wayward heart. Per the terms of the New Covenant, your heart is altogether new: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez 36:26)

You are not sometimes “in the flesh” and other times “in the Spirit.” Rather, Christians are in the Spirit, and nonChristians are in the flesh: “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (Rom 8:8-9)

None of this is to say Christians are sinlessly perfect. It’s simply to say the old you is dead, and you really, truly are new! You can say with Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Christianity means Jesus is in you and you are in Him. You are somehow mystically, spiritually united with Jesus. You died with Him on the cross. You arose with Him to new life.

If you are a Christian, that does not mean you try to behave better than you used to. It does not mean you are a practitioner of the Christian religion. It does not even mean you follow the example of Jesus. It means YOU ARE A NEW PERSON.

As a youth, Augustine lived a promiscuous, pagan lifestyle before he was converted. Sometime after his conversion, he was seen by a former girlfriend who cried out to get his attention, “Augustine, it is I!” “Yes,” he called back earnestly, “but it is not I.”