Whoever is in Christ is a new creation

When Josh went off to graduate school, he felt as if a new chapter was beginning.   Soon after arriving at school, this sense was confirmed—through his car.   During the first week of class, the rear-view mirror fell off the windshield. Josh thought it was a message from God:  “Don’t look behind you anymore. The past is gone. Start looking ahead.”

The message this young grad student received is not a new one.   God is always telling us to look ahead.   As Paul says, when we believe and are baptized into Christ, we become a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).   But sometimes we forget this truth. We may know intellectually that our sins are forgiven and that we are made new, but we don’t always grasp these truths in our hearts.   And so, instead of looking forward in hope of receiving all that God has promised us, we look in the “rearview mirror” and focus on our past failures.   We blow our sins out of proportion and fear that we might still be bound by them.   Or we think that it’s our past sins that define us instead of God’s grace and mercy.   And sometimes these thoughts cause us to sin even more.

The truth is that we are living at the intersection of the “already” and the “not yet.”   The new has indeed come, but the fullness of our new life will be ours only when we finally reach heaven.   It’s here, in that intersection, that God has given us signs of life that point us to everything we can look forward to in heaven.

What are some of those signs?   First and foremost are the “fruit of the Spirit”: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22, 23).   We don’t have all of these characteristics perfectly, but they are there, and they will continue to grow as we keep moving forward with our eyes fixed on our heavenly home.

You may not feel very new, but that doesn’t matter much.   God has worked a miracle in you.   He has made you a new creation.   So lift your head a little higher and peer into the horizon.   Heaven is awaiting you, and God is committed to helping you get there.

Word Among Us