January 04, 2012

A Whole New Life

1 Peter 1:3-9

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope.
1 Peter 1:3


At one point in his book Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, C. S. Lewis rejoices over finally being able to forgive someone he had been trying to forgive for over thirty years. That’s a long time to work at forgiveness!

Sometimes spiritual progress is slow and steady, and much time is required before fruit appears. At other times spiritual growth can take place all at once. I think especially of people who have a dramatic conversion experience to new life in Christ. Suddenly new life surges as a person is brought into a relationship with Jesus through the unexpected ministry of the Holy Spirit.

In his autobiography, Just as I Am, Billy Graham reflects on “The British Crusade” of 1954. One night, two men came supposedly to hear Billy preach, but their sole purpose was to heckle him and disrupt his presentation of the gospel. But when he invited people to come forward to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ, something incredible happened: one man turned to the other and said he was going forward! The other man responded by saying he was going too, and then added, “Here’s your wallet back—I’m a pickpocket.”

Whether new life in Jesus begins suddenly or develops over the course of one’s entire lifetime, the goal is the same: to be transformed by the power of the gospel. Has your life been transformed?

Thank you, Lord, for giving us new life. Whether we have lived as Christians for many years or we are just beginning our life in you, help us grow closer to you each day. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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