From the Board of Elders
Dear Members in Christ,
A New Creature and A Good Tree
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I was saved unto the Lord during Calvary Jaya BP Fellowship’s first Family Bible camp in Fraser’s Hill in the year, 1985. After years of indecision, uncertainty, confusion, self-justification of my own good works, the spiritual struggle was finally over! By the mercy and grace of God, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to behold the wondrous truth of God. It is not of my own good works or self-justification of self worth that I am saved BUT by God’s mercy and grace. I thank God that I am now His child and He, who is the Almighty God and Creator of the whole Universe, is my Father. I am a new creature in Christ! Born again!
The Bible teaches that believing in Jesus Christ is simply “… confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10. On that joyous day, I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that I am a sinner and ONLY Jesus Christ can save me. This was followed by the sinner’s prayer. I am now a believer, a Christian! The Bible camp in Fraser’s Hill rejoiced with me “over a sinner saved” and “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:10. God be praised! I am now a new creature in Christ. If you are not a believer but want to be one, you can also confess with your mouth and believe in your heart the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved!
The question often asked is “what are the evidences that a person is truly saved?” From the Word of God,
1) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Believers who are truly born again, also known as regenerated, will be made new. He will be aversed to sinful worldly lust, evil, greed and wicked behaviours, thoughts, words and actions. He will shun and avoid evil and wicked places that he knows that God would be displeased and not approved. Yes, it cannot be denied that there will still be struggles between the “old self” and the “new man in Christ” within the hearts of the believers as believers strive to live lives of righteousness and holiness. Do not despair, by prayers, keeping close to God through reading, meditating and walking in His Word and fellowship among God’s people, the believers will gradually have victory in Christ. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” James 4:7-8. Believers will finally be perfect when they are in heaven with God.
2) “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2
After the person is born again, he is a new person. He is being reminded and instructed to be separated and not to conform or follow the lust, evil, covetous and wicked behaviours and practices of the secular world. He is to make deliberate conscious effort, with determination and discipline, to follow God’s wills. The believers would have “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance...” Galatians 5:22-23
His old self of “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings …” (Galatians 5:19-21) would be put to death. Thus, there will be a new nature in him… manifested as a new man.
Thus, every believer should not say “that I cannot change”. He is a new creature!
The Bible teaches every believer to strive towards holiness. If you are temperamental, not given to hospitality, not friendly, not joyful, not caring, not helpful, covetous, habitually late for worship services, gossips and back-bitings, murmurings, not respecting your parents or leaders etc, you need to change and be transformed so that others, especially non-believers, may be encouraged by your respective “new” testimony. In this manner, the non-believers will know, and want to know, who this mighty God is, who can change your lives! “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:7. “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16
3) “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:17-20
Someone said “Strange, I have known him for several years. I did not know that he is a Christian!” Have you heard this comment before? I had. What is your thought when you heard this comment? It is a shame to the Lord when our loved ones, friends, neighbours and colleagues do not know that we are Christians! Whatever the reasons, we, who are truly saved, must take the corrective action, if we belong to this “incognito” or “in disguise” Christian community. The Lord says “… whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:33. A truly born again believer is like a light which cannot be hidden. He is to shine forth in this world of darkness (cf Matthew 5:16).
The Bible teaches true believers to do good works after his salvation. Works from the faithful will manifest the love of Christ and the fruits of his Christian life. They are like the light that cannot be hidden. Works like speaking and testifying for Christ, encouraging and edifying fellow believers, reaching out to the unbelievers to be saved unto Christ, assisting and helping others who are in need are some of the examples. There are many more. The Church has many ministries that true believers can participate. All these bring glory to God and at the same time, bearing the testimonies of believers who are saved and bearing the fruits of salvation.
A truly saved believer should not sit idly “doing nothing”. He should devote himself to do good works of faith. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Thus, as like a tree, there is a need for a Christian to be a good tree. A good tree will bear good fruits. A bad tree will bear bad fruits or NO fruits at all! A true believer is akin to a good tree bearing good fruits of salvation unto the Lord. Do you?
Brethren in Christ, let us continue to encourage and build one another up in the glorious faith that we are called. Let us learn to provoke one another unto good works. Let us not stumble one another by our ungodly behaviours, speeches, thoughts and actions. Let us learn to forgive and lift one another up. Let us be renewed, transformed and be the light and salt for Christ. Together, as one body, may CJBPF be a light and salt in this neighbourhood where lost souls be led by the light and be saved. Let us stay focussed for His testimony and work. To God be the Glory!
Eld Choe Tong Seng