"Brethren, I have written a letter unto you" (Hebrews 13:22).

Archived Devotionals

August 3, 2020

New Life, New Way

My Dear Friend,

      Many Christians confuse the new birth that saves us with the new way that transforms us. So let's consider the differences.

     The new birth (John 1:12-13; 3:1-8) is an act of God's grace by which His Spirit, in response to our plea, suddenly implants His Son's nature in our humbled hearts after we have repented of our sins and believed the true gospel of salvation through Him alone. It is a divine, mystical, instantaneous encounter with God, a spiritual regeneration not produced or aided by any good works. It is always accompanied by an unmistakably changed heart, a definite turning from sin, and a hunger for God's Word. This is New Testament salvation.

     Though saved by grace, turned from sin, and regenerated in heart, the new convert, now a born-again Christian, is not yet living the full-orbed Christian lifestyle. That must be learned. Cooperative works are now required. The believer must now become his Savior's disciple by dedicating his (or her) life to study Christ's teachings, walk in His ways, and learn from Christian leaders. As the convert persists, and grace assists, transformation manifests. The more we persist, the more transformation - the formation of Christ's character in us - manifests. This is never instantaneous but always occurs over time. It is not a single experience but a sustained education. This is New Testament discipleship.

     If we stop persisting in faith-inspired obedience, our transformation stops. We remain saved by grace alone but underdeveloped by disobedience alone. And un-Christlike! The new life remains present but dormant, the old life remains present and manifest, and we remain regenerated but immature - and a grief to our Savior and His Spirit! This, sadly, is New Testament carnal Christianity (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). The remedy?

     We must walk in our Savior's new ways! Daily. Hourly. Moment by moment. Never abandoning the quest for spiritual maturity. Persisting again and again after every failure of sin or self, determined to be Christ's disciple (John 8:32-32). What ways of Christ must we learn?

     We must learn a new way of devotion, seeking Christ in the "secret place" daily. We must learn a new way of fellowship, gathering with other committed believers regularly for instruction, encouragement, and correction. We must learn a new way of study, reading and researching our Bibles to feed and educate the Christ-nature in us.

     We must learn a new way of submission, humbly yielding our wills to our Lord's will at every decision point. We must learn a new way of guidance, no longer letting our human reason lead but instead allowing the Holy Spirit to prompt, check, and guide us in the paths He has chosen (Romans 8:14).

     We must learn a new way of prayer, taking every need to God immediately in faith with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7). We must learn a new way of mercy, forgiving every offender every offense every day. We must learn a new way of love, befriending every true Christian of every church at every meeting and in every good work.

     We must learn a new way of worship, forming the habit of adoringly thanking and praising God "at all times," in private and in public, in prosperity and in poverty (Psalm 34:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). We must learn a new way of enduring tests of faith, loyally, patiently, trustingly, and obediently. We must learn a new way of self-examination, not slowly and resentfully but quickly and humbly confessing every sin to Christ and receiving His forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9).

     We must learn a new way of serving faithfully, doing what Christ has assigned us daily, fully, reliably, when we feel like it and when we don't. We must learn a new way of waiting on God, continuing to seek, serve, and worship Him, content "whatever" our situation may be (Philippians 4:11), until He fulfills His promises, plans, and visions in His time and way. We must learn a new way of ministry, for love of Jesus setting aside our desires, and sometimes our needs, to serve others' spiritual and natural needs (John 21:15-17).

     And we must learn a new way of accepting our Christ-appointed sufferings, the spiritual crosses and thorns He sends for His higher purposes and our ultimate good, and let them do a deep work in us, conforming us to the image of the Man of Sorrows.

     Then spiritual growth occurs. The Seed of God's Word in us matures. Character formation thrives. We are no longer carnal but spiritual Christians. The carnal nature is present but dormant and the Christ nature present and manifest. Jesus' life is seen in us - and others come to Him: "And I, if I be lifted up ... will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32). And instead of being grieved, He's pleased: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21, 23). This is New Testament success.

     Have you never experienced the New Birth? Repent of your sins, tell Christ you want to be "born again," and ask Him to come into your heart today. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).

     Have you already received the New Birth? Walk in the New Ways! Walk in New Testament discipleship! Walk in New Testament success!


Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261