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Old and New

Old and New

Words of Faith 10-13-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Corinthians 5

[17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

 

     This is the Good News. This is the very Good News of God. Every word of it is beautiful. Every phrase is good.

     Maybe a study leader taught you that when you see the word "therefore" we should ask: What's the "therefore" there for? Good question. In this case, the "therefore" in verse 17 refers to all that has come before but very specifically to the last few verses. To paraphrase--

     Because of the awesome nature of the Lord and the love of Christ in us we are compelled to persuade people that Jesus died for them and that they need to encounter Jesus, not just know Him from a worldly point of view. This encounter with Jesus transforms people. If anyone is in Christ, they become a new person and all the old is gone and a new life has begun.

     The phrase "in Christ" is a wonderful and critical one that Paul used many times to describe a believer's spiritual relationship to Christ. Being "in Christ" is not just "meeting Jesus". The rich, young ruler did that and walked away. Many religious people met Jesus and rejected Him. Herod met Jesus and was unchanged. Pilate met Jesus and washed his hands of Him. "In Christ" is not just a meeting or one time event. We must be "in Christ".

     To be "in Christ" means first of all to be born again by His Spirit. It also means to be surrendered to Him more and more each day, convinced that He in fact died for us. To be in Christ is to be forgiven and under His protection and covering. We are in Christ when we have received his offer of grace and we are therefore clothed in His righteousness. We are in Christ when we have a living daily relationship with Him through which we are seeking to obediently follow Him. We are in Christ as we are in the Body of Christ, His fellowship of believers who guide and nurture us even as we guide and nurture others.

       So what does this look like? In Christ, the old has gone and the new has come. That phrase means that "a beginning has come", a new genesis has been conceived, or that a new life has burgeoned. The phrase doesn't mean that God is finished with us. By no means. But new life is declared as a completed deed because the work of Christ on our behalf is fully accomplished even though the Spirit is still working out the details. The Bible calls that process sanctification. But the beginning has come.

       In Christ, God's new creative work has begun in each one who believes in Christ. This will be consummated one day on a universal scale when He will make all things new. For us, the old life of slavery to self and sin has gone. It is finished and condemned. The new life of devotion to Christ is one of new attitudes and actions and wonderful possibilities.

       Newness in Christ does not mean that we do not face some of the "worldly" consequences of our old life. We may be delivered from consequence but often there is a price to be paid for an offense or there is time to be served by our flesh. This does not negate the newness of life. In fact, these situations become God's platform for displaying the new life that He has created in us by the Spirit.

       The most important question in life is this: Are you in Christ? Have you received the offer of grace and the gift of salvation? Have you allowed Jesus to put your past behind you and bury the old things? Have you started your new life in Christ?

 

         Father God, I rejoice in this Good News! Halleluiah! I give thanks for this wonderful and remarkable offer! I want to be in You. I want to be enveloped by You. I want to be thoroughly covered and filled with You. Make me new today. Put the old stuff behind me for good. In Jesus' Name.