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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: New Life In Christ Jesus
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Describe the nature of the old life,
ii. Recognise the need for change,
iii. Describe the characteristics of the new life in Christ,
iv. Recognise the need to stick to the new life.
New life in Christ in the context of the scripture means a break from the old nature; a total change in character from bad to good. St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans and the Colossians, made it clear that once a person has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, he is expected to drop his sinful nature and wear a new nature. He should now live a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul stressed the importance of baptism, particularly by immersion, to Christians. When a Christian is baptised by immersion, he is dipped into the water and so, it is assumed that he has been buried with Christ. When he comes from the water, it symbolises that he has been raised with Christ. After baptism, the convert is expected to stop his old sinful life and start a new life in the nature of Christ. St. Paul advised Christians that the grace of God in their lives should not be a reason for them to continue in their sinful life.
Christians must not allow sin to reign in their mortal bodies or yield their life to sin as instrument of wickedness but to God as men who have been brought from death to life. Their life should be an instrument of righteousness. A Christian must not allow sin to have Dominion over him, for he is not under the law but under grace.
Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, enjoined Christians to have faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They should seek things above (heavenly things) and put away mundane or earthly things such as fornication, impurity, evil desire, covetousness, idolatry, anger, wrath, Mali, slander and foul talks. These things are old nature which they must put off and then put on the new nature which is renewed in the knowledge and image of God. There must be no discrimination among them.
As God’s chosen people, Christians were advised by Paul to be holy and loving, having compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, patience, forbearance and forgiving heart towards one another as their new character or nature. They should put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony and let the peace of Christ rule in their heart. He summarized the message by advising Christians to make the world of Christ their guiding principle which should dwell richly in them. They should teach and admonish one another in all wisdom and sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in their heart to God.
Ways Christians Can Show Their New Life In Christ
i. Living a new life and forgetting the old
ii. As Christians, they should be a light and salt of the world as Christ commanded them.
iii. As Christians, they must get involved in the work of preaching the gospel and contribute their quota for every good work within the Christendom.
Practices which can have Negative Effects in any Christian Community
i. Gossiping and blackmailing against one another
ii. Greed and selfishness
iii. Lack of love for one another
iv. Jealousy and envy
v. Quarreling and fighting
viii. Covetousness and stealing
ix. Bearing false witness
x. Drug abuse
xi. Child abuse
xii. See immorality
xiii. Fraud and corruption
xiv. Social injustice
Steps New Member In The Church Should Take Before Initiation Into The New Life In Christ
i. The person must first of all listen to the word of God.
ii. Confession of sin by word of mouth then follows after conviction and belief in the word he may have heard.
iv. Determination on the part of the person to live worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ while being a member of the church.
v. Confirmation by the Bishop of the church after which the person is entitled to partake in the body and blood of Jesus Christ during Holy Communion.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. What is Paul’s teaching on new life in Christ? In what two ways can Christians manifest this?
ii. Paul advised Christians that the grace of God in their life should not be a reason for them to contact living in sin. In essence, what type of life did Paul want Christian to live?
iii. What should be the model of Christian living as contained in Paul’s epistle to the Romans.
iv. Outline the features of the New Life in Christ as stated by Paul in Colossians. Identify three practices which can have negative effect in the Christian community.
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