Sunday, 5 October 2014

New Life, New Lifestyle 4 - 1 Cor 6:12 - 20 and 2 Cor 5:11 - 6:2

We love new stuff, and society relentlessly urges us to buy even more new stuff. That programs us to think that existing things lose their value, that the old has no purpose.

Yet God is into re-cycling! See in the 2 Corinthians 5 passage the amount of 'old' to 'new' going on: Christ died yet was raised (v15), anyone in Christ is a new creation (v17), we are made new again (v18), and no longer counted as dead (v19).

Being made new - a wonderful opportunity! A chance to leave behind our life of wrong and make a fresh start. In the moment of receiving Christ as our Lord an incredible thing happens, yet also an incredible thing doesn't happen! For God does not simply beam us straight up to heaven, where we are complete and safe. Instead, although made new, we are left in the world amongst all its mess, 'new' in ourselves yet living alongside the 'old'.

The incredible thing that does happen is that God beams down to us His Holy Spirit to live in us, resourcing us to live a new among the old.

God works this way for good reason. We become living examples of what God can do for others to see. He wants all to receive forgiveness, all to be made new. We should therefore view everyone around us as people for whom Christ has died (v16), and realise that it is through us God is trying to reach them: commissioning us as ambassadors (v18 & 19).

Remember an ambassador is someone sent to a foreign country to represent their own government - we are sent back into the mess to represent Jesus as Lord, helping others to switch sides! Now also remember that an ambassador is expected to have the highest standards of behaviour - hence the sordid lists back in 1 Corinthians 5 and 6 represent unacceptable lifestyles. None of that kind of stuff got them (or you) into the Kingdom of God - only the grace given by Jesus, so now live the new life that he gives, being an example of that grace to others.

In short:
  • know your own forgiveness
  • resolve to 'live in the new'
  • receive His Spirit to be empowered to do so, anticipating the eventual resurrection body He has for you, and shine out to others along the way.

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