It may sound very noble to say that you want to be a better person, and that is usually what we think being a Christian is all about when we first start out on this journey. When I first came to Jesus I was in the midst of a marriage breakdown. To my dad in laws credit he arranged for my first wife and I to see a Christian marriage councillor. The marriage councillor said to my wife, Dennis has become “a better person now.” It takes years to realise that that that statement is not rooted in the Gospel of Jesus at all.
It is a universally accepted idea to want to better oneself. British singer Robbie Williams put out a song called Better man in which he sang…
As my soul heals the shame
I will grow through this pain
Lord I’m doing all I can
To be a better man
Everyone hears the lyrics and relates to it…..but it is firmly rooted in the Serpents lies which he spoke in the Garden.
You see, God had already said He would make man in his image and likeness. Adam and Eve were the very image and likeness of God Himself. No argument. Man is the image and likeness of God.
But the Serpent – a fallen angel named Lucifer – knew that he must get Man to cease knowing himself as the image of God and cause Man to deny this truth. Thus he lied to them.
Gen 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
God said you are made in the image and likeness of God–you are just like Me. The Serpent says, You will be like God if....
The desire to be a better man or a better woman, a better person comes straight out the Serpent mind which we all inherited from Adam. That mind calls God a liar telling God He lied when He said He made us in His image. That mind has sided with the rebellious Serpent, a fallen angel. That mind is unthankful to God for making us the way we are–His image….and so we reject ourself listening to constant accusations against us –forcing us to want to be better.
You should be better!!
You should be like God….but you are not at all like God….so try harder!!
All of those efforts to be a better person, though noble to others on the same lying path, are worthless in the eyes of God.
What God will do is to allow you to fall again and again until you thoroughly learn that you can never be a better man of yourself. It is only through deep failure that we finally give up trying to be better and wait upon God to show us the Answer.
The Answer is JESUS CHRIST!!
But not the Jesus who lives way up there in heaven somewhere far away. The Jesus who has come to live in your heart to be one with you, so that it is Jesus HIMSELF being you.
We don’t see that Jesus is our Life at first. We have always imagined that we are just me, myself and I, alone in this body, responsible to make my own way and do what it takes to get through life. But the Bible tells us that before Jesus came in, another being stronger than us was working or energising us inside of our hearts. Yes…we were not all alone ….but in everything we did and everywhere we went, another being was one with us inside.
……you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Eph 2:2-3 (see this post)
Being joined to that other being made us sinners. By nature we were children of wrath. By nature? Yes, the person we were joined to was our old nature….it was the old man as Paul called it.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
That “old man” held us as willing(though deceived)prisoners and slaves of sin. But Jesus is stronger and He paid the price for sin, thus setting us free. The old man died on the cross. That old man was the false life that lived in us, joined to us in our hearts. It was the trouble. God loved you, and loves you. It was the old man that God had a problem with. He wanted to save you. To deliver you from the tyrant living in you, even living as you. To do that God had to put you to death.
Sinner that you were…meant that the just penalty for your sin was death. Thus Jesus – God’s Word in human form, took upon Himself all humanity –and became sin for us. Jesus became you on the cross and when He died, you died. That is a glorious thing!!
The one that was joined to you, and which had made you a slave of sin, had to let you go for you had died. In dying inside of Christ on that cross, all judgement against you has been paid. You are forgiven all trespasses. The old man was crucified –done away with–so that you are no longer a slave to sin–your old master. Now you believe in Jesus, He has come into your heart, and Jesus now is your new NATURE. Jesus is perfect and holy, righteous and loving…He is your new Life…the One joined to you inside your heart.
Jesus is your new nature, filling your heart with Himself.
God has made you a better man in the sense that Jesus is that better man. Yet even Jesus has no righteousness of His own..but it is the Father in His heart that is His nature and His righteousness. There is ONE GOD…the Father…and Jesus Christ who He sent. God–our Father fills Jesus full with Himself….and Jesus filled with Father lives inside your heart by faith.
You are a sharer in the divine nature–God Himself is your new nature through Jesus living in your heart!
So trying to be a better person is far away from the Gospel. God put your old man to death because that old man could never, ever be like God. Instead Father sent His Son Jesus –filled with all of God, into your heart, that you might be just like God. And you are!
But I don’t think I am like God…I still do this and that!!
Good question… I will address it next time.
There is an Accuser and there is a Saviour. The Accuser seeks to get you living like the Old Man is still your nature. The Saviour–Jesus is always releasing His faith in your heart for you to believe what He has done for you. Both…the Accuser and the Saviour…want you to speak words out of your mouth in order to own their thoughts. The Accuser would have you to give heed to his thoughts….which are very familiar to you…and Jesus would have you receive His Father’s thoughts about you.