Another New Year. Another chance to make resolutions merely to be broken before winter thaws. Such is the human condition. We look to the newness with hope, but give up as soon as weakness causes us to stumble. By summer, we’ve completely forgotten about that promise we made to ourselves all those months ago.
While that may or may not be all that crucial when it comes to things like health, finances, personal goals, and other typical resolutions, it is hugely important when it comes to who we are in Christ. At the moment of salvation, we are “born again.” We were spiritually dead, but now have been made alive in Christ. We are “a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17). All of these new things, Paul tells us in the next verse, are from God. That’s who we are. We are new. The old isn’t just suppressed, ignored, or diminished in power. It’s gone. God gives us everything we need to replace the old. It’s done. Not by our power, but His.
But we forget. We make a mistake and think, I knew it couldn’t last. We get muddied by the muck of this world and think we’re dirty. We feel the pull of old temptations and believe they still have power over us. But it’s all a lie.
Paul understood this. He experienced it and saw it in the first-century church. That’s why he said, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16). That’s why he said the believer has “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge of the One who created him” (Col 3:10). And that’s why he urged us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2).
This idea of renewal is to go through, grow up, change, and repair. It is becoming new again, according to the newness we have in salvation. We must re-new our thinking because of what Christ has already done. It’s aligning our thoughts with the truth that already is, not merely what we wish would be. We know this because Paul told another early church leader, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior“ (Titus 3:5-6).
If renewal was up to us, it would be like a New Year’s resolution. But it’s not. It’s not our deeds, it’s His. Regeneration is the restoration to a pristine condition. The Holy Spirit washes us daily in order to maintain that newness of spiritual birth in Christ. We are made perfect in Him.
So here’s a New Year’s resolution to keep: re-new your mind every day in Christ. You are being regenerated, you are beloved, and you have been chosen by God. Remember who you are.