Q. Scripture says that when one is saved, he becomes a new person; the old person is gone (2 Cor. 5:17). For many years I have struggled with that concept because I have never had an epiphany — never a moment in my memory when “something happened” and I went from being unsaved to being saved. I have never gone from “thinking, feeling, believing, and behaving” in one way to “thinking, feeling, believing, and behaving” in a new and different way. I am still looking for that “new man”, somebody who was suddenly different from who/what he had been before. What am I missing?
A. First of all, you’ve probably changed a lot more than you think. But here’s what might be confusing to you. The phrase “new creation” describes God’s perspective of us, not necessarily our own.
When we accepted Christ as our Savior, God chose to begin seeing us as we will be when we’re perfected in the resurrection/rapture, not as we still are. To Him, we’re now as righteous as He is (2 Cor. 5:21), perfect forever (Hebr. 10:12-14). All our sins, past present and future, have been washed away so thoroughly there’s no trace of them left (Ephes. 5:25-27). He sees us as if we’ve never sinned at all, and yet we know we still do.
Paul wrote, “Now if I do what I don’t want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is the sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:20). This tells us God is able to separate the believer from the behavior. He sees the believer as being free of any imperfection, and the behavior as the remaining symptoms of a disease from which we’ve already been healed. It’s no longer part of us.
If you truly believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and rose again then you are saved regardless of whether you feel any different or not.
Therefore, what’s important is how you look to God, not how you look to yourself.