“For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” For our Lord Jesus Christ came for this very reason, that he might change, and renew, and create afresh this soul that had been perverted by vile affections, tempering it with his own Divine Spirit. He came to work a new mind, a new soul, and new eyes, new ears, new spiritual tongue; yea, to make them that believe in him new men, that he might pour into them the new wine, which is his Spirit.
This is from Macarius in his Homilies, an Eastern Church Father whom John Wesley admired and employed often in his thinking.
It resonates with me because it expounds on one of my favorite Scriptures, 2 Cor. 5:17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
In the margin of my Bible next to that verse I have written:
God does not want to make me better, but new.
New! The person who puts their entire self under the blood of Christ will not rise up a better version of their old self but a completely new one! So radically, so fundamentally, does Christ make a change in our hearts that you are no longer you, but Christ in you, the hope of glory.
There is a story about Saint Augustine following his conversion where he passed by one of his former mistresses on the street. Seeing him walk by she yelled after him, “Augustine, it is I!” Without turning back Augustine replied, “Yes, but it is no longer I!”
Augustine had been made new. Jesus said that for any of us to see the kingdom of God we must be born again (John 3). Tragically, we have far too many people who have come to God to be made better but refuse to be born again! They refuse to be made new.
If you are beset with sins and habits which you are convinced you cannot shake I have good news for you. When you come to God broken and open for His cure, willing to obey His words before all others, willing to lay down your old life not to ever take it up again, you will walk away a new creation. You will be born again. His promise is sure and true. The dead are still being raised by Jesus. I know this to be true because I was once a dead man…..but God! Thanks be to God I am no longer I.
God doesn’t want to make you better, but new! Praise God!