Pastor Andrew's Message
Community in Quarantine
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
‘So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’
What do you see when you look in the mirror? If I’m honest, I rarely look in the mirror and think “looking sharp, Andrew”. More likely than not, I look in the mirror and notice all my lumpy and bumpy bits, all the things I’d like to change. The countless new diet or exercise programs and gym advertisements would suggest that I’m not alone in noticing the things that I’d like to change about myself.
But what about when we look beyond skin deep? When we look at our lives, what are the ugly bits that we know are there, but hope no-one else notices? What are the secret things that we’re ashamed of? I’m not going to start listing examples, but it’s not just out physical appearance that many of us try to change; we’re all striving to be better people, better Christians, better parents, better children or better spouses, and if we look inwardly, we know the areas that we wish we were different in.
And it’s when I think about these things that I find joy in the passage above from 2 Corinthians 5. ‘If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ’. If we are disciples, we are a new creation. We aren’t yet perfect (we’ll have to wait a little for that perfection to be fulfilled), but we are no longer defined by our lumpy and bumpy bits. This doesn’t mean we should stop trying to be better or to work on areas of sin in our lives, but it does mean that we aren’t defined by those areas any more. The old has gone, why hold onto it any longer? The new is here, let’s embrace it.
Augustine first wrote some very complicated theology in Latin about the state of humanity at various points through history. In English, what he was saying was that after the fall, humans were ‘unable to not sin’, but that after Jesus, we are once again ‘able not to sin’. Jesus has caused this terrific change where we’re a new creation, once again able to not sin. But Augustine knew that an even greater change was coming where we will be ‘unable to sin’. This is the perfection of the new creation that we have to look forward to: a time where all those lumpy and bumpy bits will be a thing of the past, and we can be with God in perfection.
Today, thank God that He didn’t give up on you, but loved you and made you a new creation. And let’s embrace that newness, and not focus on what’s gone, but look forward to what is to come.