Paul taught that to come unto Jesus Christ is to enter a new realm of existence, a spiritual realm. It is to forsake death and come unto life, to put away evil and darkness and learn to walk in righteousness and light. “Know ye not,” Paul asked the Romans, “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:3-6).
The new life in Christ entails a new energy, a new dynamism, a new source of strength and power. That power is Jesus Christ. So often people go through the motion, do good and perform their duties but find little satisfaction in doing so. One Christian writer offered this thought:
There are few things quite so boring as being religious, but there is nothing quite so exciting as being a Christian!
Most folks have never discovered the difference between the one and the other, so that there are those who sincerely try to live a life they do not have, substituting religion for God, Christianity for Christ, and their own noble endeavors the energy, joy, and power of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of reality, they can only grasp at ritual, stubbornly defending the latter in the absence of the former, lest they be found with neither!
They are lamps without oil, cars without gas, and pens without ink, baffled at their own impotence in the absence of all that alone can make man functional; for man was so engineered by God that the presence of the Creator within the creature is indispensable to His humanity. Christ gave Himself for us to give Himself to us! His presence puts God back into the man! He came that we might have life–God’s life!
There are those who have a life they never live. They have come to Christ and thanked Him only for what He did, but do not live in the power of who He is. Between the Jesus who “was” and the Jesus who “will be” they live in a spiritual vacuum, trying with no little zeal to live for Christ a life that only He can live in and through them (W. Ian Thomas, Classic Christianity, 1989, foreward.)
The disciples of Jesus must strive to do what is right. They should do their duty in the Church and in the home, even when they are not eager to do so. They cannot just leave the work of the kingdom to others because they have not been changed and reborn. But that doesn’t mean they must always remain that way. Each of us may change; we can change; we should change; and it is the Lord who will change us. Coming unto Jesus Christ entails more than being cleansed, as important as that is. It entails being filled. We speak often of the importance of being cleansed, or sanctified. It is to have the Holy Spirit, who is not only a revelator but a sanctifier, remove filth and dross from our souls. We refer to this process as a baptism by fire. To be cleansed is essential, but to stop there is to stop short of great blessings. Paul present the idea of (in a sense) nailing ourselves to the cross of Jesus Christ–nailing our old selves, the old man of sin. He wrote: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
This is a new life in Jesus Christ.