Over the years, I have had the privilege of ministering in Eastern Europe on several occasions. I have come to cherish the people and the area. It is a fascinating part of the world with beautiful scenery and deep, rich traditions.
But there is an odd quirk there that always seems to leave me mystified.
Many in Eastern Europe were under communist oppression for as long as 70 years. As a result, they were extremely accustomed to the socialist government doing things for them. It became an ingrained part of life. So, now, more than 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, many people have still not fully come out from underneath that mindset. It was so much a part of their lives, that even though they are now part of a democratic society, they don’t act like it.
I think we Christians can have a tendency to do the same thing. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” If we are born-again, we are not our old selves. We’re new. We’re brand new creatures.
Yet, we seem to have a tendency to forget that we’re not the same old people we once were. Too often, we act as though we’re no different than we were pre-Christ.
2 Peter 1:9 reminds us, “For whoever lacks these qualities (the godly characteristics mentioned in the previous verses) is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”
If forgetting that we have been cleansed of our former sins is the reason we are not living differently – in other words, we’re not acting like new creatures – then the answer is remembering. Remembering that Jesus already paid the price and our sins are gone.
As we call to mind that Christ has cleansed us through His death and resurrection, it changes us on the inside, and that, in turn, changes the outside. Through His mercy, we begin to, more and more, act like the new creatures He has made us into.