Lively Greetings, Friends!
I’m writing this one to you from California! Our second son Sean and his wife Tina have just had their first child, Mia Jordan! As you can see from this picture (taken last night, shortly after her arrival) she is a newborn, and while I wanted to share our joy with you, her birth also relates to what I wanted to share with you this week about newness. But, since we flew down here to celebrate with them I don’t want to spend too long writing, so I’m going to share with you something I from my Adventure with Jesus, and I begin with a question:
What does “new” mean? If you buy something used at Goodwill, it may be new to you, but it is not “new.” If you have an old computer, a new ‘operating system’ may be an ‘upgrade,’ but the computer is not new. If you put a new engine in your car, it’s still your old car – only the engine changed. What does it mean to be “new?”
Father, as we grow in our relationship with You, we thank You. As we come to Your written word again today, we ask that You would speak to us. Allow us to experience today what we talked about yesterday – to hear Jesus. We don’t want to read or study the Bible to learn facts; we want to get to know You. Thanks.
If you are fortunate enough to have a Bible, find ‘Second Corinthians.’ It’s in the ‘New Testament’ and was originally a letter to Christians who lived in what was a major city in southern Greece – Corinth. Corinth was a ‘modern’ city: It had a population well over 100,000, was along a major roadway, and the people there were into making money! A number of people in the city had come to believe in Jesus, but they were struggling and couldn’t see a whole lot of change in their lives yet. Paul wrote to them to tell them that even though they couldn’t see it with their physical eyes, a fundamental change had happened to them. At chapter 5 verse 17 he says:
“. . . if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Twice in these few words he says ‘new.’ Not ‘refurbished’ or ‘upgraded.’ New. Notice, he does not say that the ‘newness’ will happen after some lengthy period of time, or after sufficient training, or any such thing. There is only one condition – that you be “in Christ.” If you believe in Jesus alone to make you right with God, you have met this one condition: You are “in Christ.” Thus, you are new. It may not look like it on the outside, but it’s true. You aren’t the same person you were before you came to Jesus! That person is gone; you have been made new (a ‘new creation’). You have yet to mature, but the essential change has already taken place.
I understand that if you take a caterpillar to some genetic scientists they will tell you that the DNA is that of a butterfly! It doesn’t look like a butterfly, it doesn’t yet live as a butterfly, but as the creature matures its true DNA will become manifest. The same is true of you as a new creature: The change has happened; as you mature, your true new nature will become evident. Amazingly, God doesn’t wait for the change to show itself before talking about us as we now are: He calls us “saints” (‘men and women set apart for God’s intended purpose’). He says this over and over (you’ll find it near the beginning of almost every letter in the ‘New Testament,’ starting with Romans 1:7, I Corinthians 1:2, II Corinthians 1:1, etc.). You’ve been set apart for God’s intended purpose: You’re a saint!
Lord Jesus, this is impossible to understand. We don’t look new. Some of the thoughts we have, some of the words that come out of our mouth, are no different than before. Yet, here You say that I am new. Cause me to believe what You are saying. Not upgraded. Not reconditioned. New. Cause me to live in Your truth. In You, I am new. Remind me of that today, please. Thank You.
Live blessed, because in Jesus you have been.