Being a New Creation
Who likes new things? What is something new that you have that is cool just because it is new? I know something new that I enjoy is my mom’s car. I know it’s not mine and all, but that thing is fun to drive. With it being a new car, it comes with many new things. Like an infotainment screen, lane-keeping assist, and I know it’s not that new but a backup camera.
Now I don’t know about most of you, but I did my driving test in an old car. It was a 2004 Nissan Maxima. And that thing was a little lacking in technology for my standards. But one of the cool things I love about my mom’s car is her backup camera. That thing is so fun to use, and it’s so easy to use. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I pulled into a parking spot because I love backing it up so I can use the backup camera.
New things are cool, and they are different. They stand out among the old things. If you have your Bibles, you can turn to 2 Corinthians 5:14-17. Paul states:
“For the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”
Paul wrote many letters to the Corinthians; this one in the Bible is said to be his 4th letter. In the first epistle, we see that the Corinthian Church was sent into false doctrines, and Paul needed to correct them.
However, in the second epistle, we see the Corinthian Church in open rebellion against Paul’s teaching, questioning the legitimacy of his teaching. We see Paul going through the basics, so to speak, of the gospel. And this is where we are now in chapter 5. Paul describes to us something quite simple.
Now, notice I did not say easy, but simple. Because the gospel is easy in its understanding but hard in its application. This is pretty evident in this episode we see with Paul and the church he planted in Corinth. Even though this letter was written to the Corinthians, the modern church can sometimes forget the simplicity of the gospel story and how it works in our lives.
In verse 14, Paul speaks of a 4-dollar word called reconciliation which is a big word for making new. He says in verse 14, “for the love of Christ controls us.” This brings up the first question and points we get from this passage: “How does the love of Christ control us?”
The love of Christ or, better yet, of God is described in power. This is why Paul, in the following verse, talks of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Paul sort of paints a picture with a story of the gospel. We can all remember the verse John 3:16, “For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” This love was expressed through Emanuel coming down to be born of a virgin to die on a cross for our sins and to finally rise again to give us the opportunity to make our relationship right with God.
This is the power of love. This is the love we accept into our lives when we believe in the resurrection. Without Jesus’s death and, most importantly, his resurrection, we would not have the way or the power, so to speak, to make our relationship right with God. However, with the Love of Christ, which he displayed on the cross, we can make our relationship right with God. Because on judgment day, when God sees us, he sees a worthless creature, but Jesus steps in and says, my love covers their sin.
This happens to those who are made new in Him. When we accept this Jesus into our lives, that same power lives in us. It’s like the song. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives in me. The power in the love of Christ compels us. But what is it compelling us to do?
Earlier I talked about what is special about something being new. And it’s pretty obvious the special thing about something being new is that it is different from something old. Remember, the special thing about using that backup camera is that it’s better and different from using mirrors.
So, it brings us to our next question/point: “What does the love of Christ compel us to do?” Well, the answer again is simple. The love or power of Christ is Christ. Christ compels us to act like him. When Paul says in Colossians 3 to think on the things that are above in verse 1. The things above are Christ and his will. The examples he gives in verse 12 are attributes of Christ. He says to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
We can see all these examples in Jesus’s walk on earth. Jesus wept with Mary and Martha at the grave of Lazarus. Jesus showed kindness and mercy to the woman that was caught in adultery. Jesus showed humility and meekness when he washed the disciples’ feet. And we can all attest that Jesus has patience with us every day.
So, when we accept Jesus, we are made new in Christ; we are reconciled to God, and the power and love of Christ live in us. With this power, we are compelled and controlled to do these works. Remember, it’s not by anyone’s works that they are saved; this is why Jesus came. The works is proof that Jesus came, came into your heart. Because power and love control us.
Where does this fall into our lives? Paul might have said this to the Corinthian church a little under 2000 years ago, but how does this apply to me? The answer is it applies to you and me the same way it did to the Corinthians. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and so is his word.
Today, you might not have been made new. You might not have been reconciled. If you haven’t, it says in his word that if you put your faith in him, you have the right to become sons and daughters of God. You must first need to die to your sin because Christ died therefore all must die. You must die spiritually to your sin; you must repent and give it to Jesus.
Jesus is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and cleanse you from all your unrighteousness. However, the other part is if you have repented and confessed Jesus as Lord.
Are you living a new life? Paul had to explain to the Corinthians in verse 17, “the old has passed away; behold a new has come.” Jesus said in John 14:5, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John, in his first epistle, explains that the proof that the love of Christ is in you is that you keep his commandments. And Paul is saying right here that the love of Christ controls you and compels you to do so.
Are you being a new creation? Are you being out of the ordinary today?