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2 Corinthians 5:17

Augustine

The story is told that when Augustine was still without God and without hope, the Holy Spirit convicted him on the basis of Paul’s words in Romans 13:14, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Augustine acknowledged his sinfulness, accepted Jesus as his Savior, and became a different person. His entire outlook on life began to change because of his new nature. One day he had to attend to some business in his old haunts in Rome. As he walked along, a former companion saw him and began calling, “Augustine, Augustine, it is I!” He took one look at the poor, disreputable woman whose company he had formerly enjoyed, and he shuddered. Reminding himself of his new position in Christ, he quickly turned and ran from her, shouting, “It’s not I! It’s not I!” Augustine had found the secret of Paul’s words: “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20).

Satan would like to defeat us by telling us that we are no different than we were before we were saved. But God says that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And I’d rather believe Him, wouldn’t you? - H.G.B.

Our Daily Bread, Thursday, April 29

Accountable

At the Army Training Camp at Fort Dix, New Jersey, there is a large box at the entrance with a large hole on top. You may drop in that box, without fear, any illegal substance—drugs, alcohol, knives, guns,—and begin a new life in the army. But, if you keep them and are caught, you are held accountable.

Leadership, IV, 3, p. 95

Newness of Life

“Newness of life supposes newness of heart. Walking in Scripture stands for the course and character of one’s life, which must be new. Walk by new rules, towards new ends, from new principles. Make new choices of direction. Choose new paths to walk in, new leaders to walk after, new companions to walk with. “Old things should pass away, and all things become new. Such a person is something he formerly was not, does things he did not. And this newness is to be alive to God through Christ. To converse with God, to have a regard for Him, a delight in Him, a concern for Him: This is to be alive to God.

“The love of God reigning in the heart is the life of the soul towards God. Christ is our spiritual life; there is no living to God but through Him—through Christ as the Author and Maintainer of this life; through Christ as the Head from whom we receive vital influence; through Christ as the Root by which we derive sap and nourishment, and so live. In living to God, Christ is all in all.”

Matthew Henry, Source unknown

John Newton

A few years before John Newton died, a friend was having breakfast with him. Their custom was to read from the Bible after the meal. Because Newton’s eyes were growing dim, his friend would read, then Newton would comment briefly on the passage.

The day the selection was from 1 Corinthians 15. When the words “by the grace of God I am what I am” were read, Newton was silent for several minutes. Then he said, “I am not what I ought to be. How imperfect and deficient I am! I am not what I wish to be, although I abhor that which is evil and would cleave to what is good. I am not what I hope to be, but soon I shall put off mortality, and with it all sin. Though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor yet what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I once was: a slave to sin and Satan. I can heartily join with the apostle and acknowledge that by the grace of God I am what I am!”

Source unknown

All Things New

London businessman Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash around the interior.

As he showed a prospective buyer the property, Clegg took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage.

“Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said. “When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site.

Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball.

When we become God’s, the old life is over (2 Cor. 5:17). He makes all things new. All he wants is the site and the permission to build.

Ian L. Wilson, Source unknown