2 Corinthians 5:17 seems to offer a new start in life, doesn’t it? Its words do not erase the past, but they declare a new power and significance for everything that’s ever happened in your life.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.”
But why would you want to start your life over?
If you trace Paul’s thinking back to 2 Corinthians, chapter 3, you discover that in the old way of living you get tired of being condemned. It’s hard to shrug off the feeling that right and wrong are real. And every time you hear someone talking about God and His law, His right and wrong, it gets to you. You just know that something’s not right with you. Paul says that God’s law has a “ministry of death” – 2 Corinthians 3:6-7. Right is chiseled in stone and you can’t change it, so it stands as an immovable monument of condemnation.
Second, the old way of living make you tired of hiding. Paul explains that when Moses brought God’s law to ordinary sinners like us, we just couldn’t stand it. Israel said, “put a veil over your face. Even the reflected glory of God was too much to bear. The veil has to come down (3:7) and you have to hide.
Paul says we hide our old lives because of shame” (4:2). And we walk in craftiness, avoiding the truth. And we adulterate the word of God” (4:2), working to make it say something it really doesn’t say. After a while we don’t see truth at all. The veil is over our eyes.
Third, Paul describes the old way of life as “living for one’s self” (5:15). If life is not about you, you lose interest quickly.
So, you want to start your life over again because the old way of living is killing you!
How do you start over again. You need to meet The One who gives a new start (who makes New)
If you go in for important surgery, you want to know something about the surgeon who will perform the operation. If you send your child to a school you want to know something about the teacher to whom you turn over your child. So before you trust Christ to give you a new start you need to know something about Him.
He is the Christ. That means:
- He’s the anointed Prophet, the Word Himself, who speaks to us.
- He’s the anointed Priest, on the inside with God, who invites us in.
- He’s the anointed King, who rules over us and welcomes us into His victory over sin and deaththrough the cross and resurrection. (Romans 6:8-10, 4)
You need to meet the One who can give life a new start.
What kind of relationship can you have with the One who gives a new start?
Paul writes “The one who is in Christ is a new creation”. That little preposition “In” points to
- a position/posture with Christ, a position or posture of trusting, receiving, and resting upon who He is and what He has done.
- a relationship/closeness with Christ, an intimate, dependent relationship with Him.
Think about how much an unborn child needs her mother. Everything that gives life and hope for life comes from the mother. It’s the same with Christ. A life changing relationship with Him in which everything that gives life and hope for life comes from Him.
In Christ, the old life is gone; the new life just keeps on coming!
What is a new start in Christ like?
First, Paul says you are a “new creation”. Ezekiel, the prophet says (11:18 – 21), “I will give themone heart and put a new spirit within them.” As C.S. Lewis once wrote that Christianity is like a museum in which there is a rumor going about that some of the statues are coming to life.
When Paul calls those “in Christ” a new creation he reminds us that creation is a work of God, accomplished by the Word of God and according to the will of God. As the Apostle John says to Nicodemus: “You must be born again, or born from above.” This is something God must do.
So the question I ask you is, “Who’s writing on your heart?” Is it the Spirit of the Living God ( 2 Corinthains 3:3) who gives life. This is a glorious new start indeed!
In this new life acceptance replaces condemnation. God removes condemnation on the cross and gives acceptance from the cross.
In this new life in Chist there is no more hiding but freedom instead. Paul says, “When a person turns to the Lord the veil is taken away” ( 3:16), there is liberty through transformation and there is new light. “God has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (4:6)
Finally in this new life in Christ one no longer lives for self but for Christ. The love of Christ controls the output and direction of your life (5:14). You live for Him who died and rose again on our behalf. (5:15) Christ, the One who starts your life over again, is the loving and delightful center of your new life in Him.
Those who are in Christ are a new creation.
The old is gone and the new just keeps coming!