We are not just offered a new life. We're promised a new life. We're called to have a new life. A life that God gives us.
"...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This new life is rich and satisfying (John 10:10)
This new life is eternal (John 3:16)
This new life means our sins are washed away (Titus 3:5)
This new life means we are free from any and all enslavement (Romans 7:6)
Wow! What a great thing to have, this new life! Why in the world would anybody NOT want it? Nobody would say no to freedom and redemption and eternal joy. At least nobody who isn't crazy, right?
But there's a problem.
A life already exists in the place where this new life is supposed to exist. I mean, if you are giving me a new life, what does that mean to the life I now live?
There is only one possible solution:
The old life must die.
If I have a grove of orange trees, and I would rather have apple trees in the same place, my only real solution is to get rid of the orange trees.
But my old life wasn’t an orange tree. It was a briar patch.
Pulling up those thorny branches is going to take a long time. And it's going to hurt.
I could just clear a tiny bit of it and plant an apple tree, but it wouldn't take long for the briar to overgrow it and kill it.
No. If I want an apple orchard, I'm going to have to kill all the the briar patch.
Dietrich Bonheoffer said ‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him ‘come and die’.
Jesus told stories about how new wine can’t be placed in old wineskins.
If we want to follow Jesus and receive all the amazing benefits of that life – there’s going to be a great cost.
The cost of dying.
That's why Paul says this:
"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
Nothing can free you from this correlation.
The more your old life stays alive, the less new life you have room for.
This cost ends up being a reason that many people never accept this amazing offer. Giving up what I have is scary, and difficult.
Jesus never pretends it will be easy. But he makes it pretty clear that it will be worth it.
Choose new life. Choose to remove what was there so that God can place new life in those spaces.
Anything less is not what God wants for us.