How many people think they can just be a good person? The Bible tells us that our sinful nature is contrary to the Spirit, so without the Spirit of God, can we truly be “good” according to God’s standards?
You cannot become a new creation by trying to create yourself. Only God can create. We are the stewards of His creation. We are the product and glory of His creation. If we try to create in us what we think He wants us to be, we will forever be hoping our efforts are enough (legalism) and be nothing more than a fake copy, not original. And more than that, God will not be glorified in our actions if what we do is based on human effort. The bleak truth is that our trying to live outward change will never reflect the inward heart and mind transformation, meaning our actions and words simply become behavior modification instead of becoming a true new identity, a new creation. Trust in these verses:
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” -Ezekiel 36:26-27 NLT
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” -Romans 12:2 NLT
“It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” -Galatians 6:15 NLT
Being a new creation means that God frees us from the law as we see in Galatians 5:1, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”
Galatians 3:24-25 says, “The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.”
When we receive the Spirit of God, we are lead by the Spirit and crucify our sinful desires that were similar to what the law was forbidding us to do.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” -Galatians 5:16-25
There is no law against the fruits of the Spirit! When the Spirit is leading our thoughts, feelings, desires, speech and actions, then we don’t need the law because the Spirit will not do anything contrary to the law. God didn’t want us to have a list of yes and no rules to obey. His desire was a relationship with us through His Spirit because of Jesus. He wants us to obey out of a genuine desire in our hearts and minds and that requires that our life is transformed into a new creation that only God can provide through His Spirit.