8.12.2015 “The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us.[a] Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.[b] 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

I am reminded of two occasions when I read and process this passage.  One comes from a bible study I was attending with a friend.  The leader described the transformation outlined in this passage as a three part theological journey; Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification.  Very eloquently the leader explained that our brokenness is a cycle of sin and guilt.  We sin.  With that sin comes guilt.  Guilt is not comfortable so we seek relief.  We medicate so to speak and that often leads us right back to the sin we were trying to avoid in the first place.

In our humanness the obvious answer is to work on avoiding the sin.  But GOD in HIS wisdom chose to work on the guilt.  HIS Son has provided the relief.  HE took on the sin so that we are held blameless, forgiven.  This beautiful revelation is Justification.   When we accept and acknowledge it we can no longer live as we did before.  We try to live for CHRIST and as CHRIST did, sanctified.  This is Sanctification.  Finally when we make it home the journey is complete, we live in glory with our GOD, which gives glory to our GOD.  This is Glorification.  Believe it or not this all made sense to me when the leader explained it and I think about it when I read this passage.

The other thought that comes to me is of Stacy.  Stacy was the daughter of a boss that I had a few years ago.  I first met her in her father’s office as a promiscuous teenager being punished for sneaking out of the house to go to a party.  Stacy was a beautiful young lady with so much going for her including successful loving parents, but she was totally wild.  Unfortunately she never grew out of her passion for all the wrong things.  A failed marriage and two kids later she was still making the same mistakes drugs, alcohol, and bad relationships.  Then came the call my boss and his wife feared.  Stacy was in a horrible traffic accident leaving a bar on the back of a motorcycle with someone she had just meant.  With massive head injuries the family was informed that the only option was brain surgery.  The surgery they were told would save her life but that if she lived she would most certainly not be the same person.  The doctors where correct.  The surgery changed Stacy in a way they did not see coming.  She no longer needs alcohol, drugs, or the company of men to feel good about herself.  My former boss said she has a completely different personality and although she is the same girl, she is a completely different person.  Today she is clean, sober, and gainfully employed with only faint memories of the person she left on the pavement at that traffic accident.   “The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Heavenly FATHER, thank you so much for taking our place in the darkness.  When we are tempted today to seek medication remind us that YOU have already provided the relief and wiped the slate clean.  Remind us LORD that in YOU we are brand new!  In CHRIST name we pray. Amen