When you read a passage like 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” What goes through your mind? We all say we believe that, but when it comes to actually walking this verse out in our lives, do our actions actually line up with what we say we believe? because this verse talks about change and transformation. Maybe when you came to faith, God pulled you from a life of sin and you had a pretty dramatic conversion and the contrast between the old and the new was very clear. Or maybe you’ve been walking in the new life since you were a little kid and the distinction between the old and the new has never ever been that clear to you. Either way, as we grow and mature, we can reach a certain level of comfort in who we are and it’s real easy to begin to settle into that image of ourselves. When this happens, it’s really easy to simply stop growing and take on a complacent, even an indifferent attitude toward change.
Do you remember the Rubik’s Cube? Oftentimes the image that we hold of ourselves is like that one completed side that we can all accomplish. I don’t know about you, but when I finally complete that one side I am pretty cautious about doing anything to mess it up. In many ways this is like the image we keep of ourselves that we guard and protect. Have you ever said to yourself: “Oh, that’s just the way I am.” When we say things like that, what we are really saying is that I’d rather stay the way that I am than try to change. Maybe you believe that you can’t change. But, thinking like that excludes God from the picture. In this Rubik’s cube example, what I’ve wanted to emphasize is that we as people as limited. Our desires are limited, our understanding is limited, and our view of ourselves is limited. It’s because we are only creations. But, God is the Creator who is able to see everything going on, when we can only see a portion.
God’s Word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and we all know this to be true because I don’t know about you, but I know that I’m complicated. And I don’t know about you, but just thinking about trying to get every side of a Rubik’s Cube seems almost impossible, but God knows what He’s doing and though it may seem like He’s messing up our one little side, what He’s really doing is working to complete the good work that He started in all of us: Philippians 1:6 says: “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” So, when God begins to bring change into our lives, it’s because He’s trying to make us whole. He’s putting together and completing all the other sides. But, we must always remember that it’s only through Christ that a believer is given new life because Jesus is the source, power and goal of all Christian growth.
Colossians 3: 3-4 says: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” There are two truths in these verses: 1) that a believer’s current life is hidden with Christ in God and 2) that all believers will one day appear with Christ in glory. Do you believe that your life is hidden in Christ? That everything that we need in understanding who we are can be found in Christ? What Paul is saying here is that believers are “with Christ in God” and therefore reside in a place other than this world, a place where divine grace transforms us into a new creation. Where are you looking for your life? Are you looking for your life in Christ or out in the world?
- It’s in Jesus that we find eternal life.
- It’s in Jesus that we find our inheritance.
- It’s in Jesus that we find our true identity.
- It’s in Jesus that we find peace with God, others and ourselves.
- It’s in Jesus that we find joy.
- It’s in Jesus that we are given the Holy Spirit.
- It’s in Jesus that we are healed.
- It’s in Jesus that our hearts are mended.
- It’s in Jesus that our minds are renewed.
- It’s in Jesus that our souls are refreshed.
- It’s in Jesus that we are redeemed.
- It’s in Jesus that we are adopted as sons and daughters of God.
- It’s in Jesus that we find true strength.
- It’s in Jesus that we experience the Father’s love.
- It’s in Jesus that we are under the protection of the Father.
Everything that we need to experience the fullness of life that Jesus promised (John 10:10) us can only be found in Him. That’s why Paul says that our lives are hidden with Christ in God. But, we must also remember that this fullness of life that believers experience is only in part (1 Corinthians 13:12) because it is only at Jesus’ Second Coming will the Kingdom of God be fully realized where as Paul says: believers will “also appear with Him in glory.”When Christ appears we also will appear with Him in glory because God will have completed the good work He’s begun in each believer (Philippians 1:6). God’s grace truly is amazing!