The Christian knows that Jesus died on the cross in our place, beat up death, and gave us a great mission. But how does the Gospel fit into our everyday lives?
The very second you believe the Gospel truth, you have a brand new heart in Christ. This is now who you are because of what he’s done.
That’s the True Self — but it doesn’t always feel this way.
When Jesus made Peter the head disciple, Peter’s original name was Simon. The word Peter was a nickname which meant “rock.”
Jesus was telling him: Simon is dead. You are now a rock. You might not feel like it today, but this is who you are because of who I am and what I’m about to do. I’m inviting you into the True Story of Your Life — that you can’t do this yourself, and that’s why I’m going to the cross to do it for you.
We all know older people who encourage us even when we haven’t done anything worthwhile: names like “Big Chief, Champion, Boss, Winner, Young Money.” They are trying to fit us with a new identity regardless of what we’ve achieved.
Peter wrestled with his new identity; he often failed living up to the Rock. Whenever Peter messed it up, Jesus would call him “Simon,” as if he was reminding him that was the old life. And like a good coach, Jesus would say “Peter” to encourage him. You can imagine Peter eventually cringed when he heard the name Simon and cheered when he heard Peter.
We are some days Peter, some days Simon.
Sometimes for the heck of it, Jesus would say “Simon Peter.” Probably his head almost exploded.
But Jesus wasn’t playing games here. He was expressing a profound truth, not simply about names, but about a whole new heart in the Creator who restores everything.
In systematic theology, this is called a regenerate heart: when the Holy Spirit subverts and supplants human desires with Godly ones.
We just forget.
We forget we don’t have to choose sin anymore: because Jesus gives us a new passion that wants what God wants, however imperfectly.
We forget that we are capable of love, compassion, courage, and wisdom: because Jesus has broken the choking fog of darkness that once bound our souls to evil.
We forget we are no longer powerless, depraved, wretched, hopeless people: because we’re a chosen nation, made holy, a royal priesthood, a blameless bride of Christ, given a living hope. We forget the True Story of the World: that our Creator has broken into our reality to reconcile us back to who we were meant to be.
God has not merely renovated you, but “Behold, the old has gone and the new has come.”
When Peter was blasted with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, he preached a sermon that instantly added 3000 followers. Many of you know the story.
Can you imagine how Peter felt right then?
How did I do this? … Because I didn’t. Simon couldn’t have done this. That guy is dead.
Later in 2 Peter, he writes –
God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness … So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.
You don’t have to waste another second believing you are your past or what’s been done to you; you’re not your weight, wealth, or intellect; you’re not what other people say about you or even how you view yourself. You are not Simon anymore. That guy is dead.
Jesus is the great cornerstone; only he can strengthen you; and now he calls you a rock. He doesn’t say that about your appearance. He is saying that about you from the inside-out — about the new heart he has given you. Believe it today; choose who you really are in Him. Fail, get up again.
Believe the New Narrative over your life. Believe on Christ.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
– Ezekiel 36:26-27