September 20, 2016

New? Seriously?

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

—  2 Corinthians 5:17

The life of a Christian isn’t without pitfalls. My friends Ron and Andy got drunk at Christmas, and they felt ashamed and repentant. Sin still seemed strong. Not long after that, Ron and I sat by the fountain at his pool, and he was leaning forward, his voice tight: “It says, ‘the new is here,’ but I just don’t feel very different, most days, from how I used to be.”

Can you relate? I can. What’s the point, anyway? If I believe in Jesus and I read the Bible and pray, then shouldn’t I be “newer looking” than I seem? Shouldn’t we all? Just look at all the sins in the church. It’s pretty crushing.

Paul is emphatic when he says, “The old has gone, the new is here!” In other places Paul teaches that with Christ in us, we are no longer just dead flesh (Romans 8:10-11; Galatians 2:20). What would seem to us the smallest touch of Christ in us (like the mustard seed in Matthew 13:31-32) has made the beginnings of eternal life to grow. God has ordained that his eternal treasure be housed in your toxic, tempted, hormone-driven, hot-blooded flesh. And Paul tells us, “Therefore we do not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

I shared this with Ron, as best I could. But I could tell it didn’t help him feel much better. Sin can be powerfully depressing.

And yet “the new is here!” We have cause to rejoice, even when we don’t feel it.

Lord, I want to be a better person for you. Please encourage me today; it would help to see some progress. Please grow your life in me. Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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