“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This verse can be, and has been, taken to mean different things to different people. It is easy to go beyond what it actually says to what it can be made to say, especially if one has a personal aversion to something questionable. The one thing we do know from this verse, however, is that there is a difference between a man or woman who is a Christian (“in Christ”) and one who is not. The Calvinist will say the difference was always there, and will inevitably manifest itself; while someone who leans more toward the Arminian persuasion will see it as a transformation after a conversion experience. One way or the other, there is a difference.
My husband likes to refer to it as a difference in disposition; and I agree with him. Especially when one considers the primary meaning of the word: a person’s inherent qualities of mind and character, essential attributes that characterize him or her. In other words, it’s just the way they are. In any given situation, they are predisposed to act, or react, in a certain way. There may be exceptions in their experience, but that’s exactly what they will be: exceptions. Christians are disposed, or inclined, to act or respond in a particular way that does not characterize a non-Christian.
Obviously, the two groups have many things in common. They both eat, sleep, work, play, laugh, cry, love, and in most cases, marry. These, and a host of other activities, exemplify the lives of both Christians and those who do not name the name of Christ. The difference is, in the case of a Believer, the God of the Bible governs every part of his or her life. His precepts and interests are the overriding consideration in every decision; and their place in His plan is the driving motivation of their lives. When He is pleased, they are pleased; and when He is displeased, they are displeased. His definition of sin is their definition of sin.
When one takes into consideration Bible examples and Church history, it is safe to say that generally speaking, a Christian will be disposed to:
1. receive the Bible as the very Word of God (1 Thess. 2:13)
2. acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God and not be ashamed of Him (Acts 4)
3. love and seek the fellowship of other Christians (Acts 2:42 & John 13:35)
4. be a witness to the Gospel (1 Cor. 15: 1-4 & Acts 1:8)
5. recognize the innate sinfulness of man and the wickedness of this world’s system (Rom. 3:10-18 & 1 Jno.5:19)
6. maintain good works, not out of pity, but piety (Titus 3:14 & Jms. 2:15-18)
Finally, I would argue that Christians are disposed to anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Philip. 3:20). They are not so entrenched in the affairs of this world, or their own lives, for that matter, that they cannot say with the apostle, John, at any given time, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Their first commitment is to the King, not His kingdom, as important as that is. Above all else, those who are “in Christ,” are in love with Him; and it shows.
So the question to each of us is, “What does your disposition say about you?”