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In Christ, you are a new creation

By David Saliba

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  Regeneration, being born anew, is about a real change within us and a relative change for us.  The Spirit works a real change in you as you become new in Christ, and Christ works a relative change for you, as your relationship to God is transformed.  You see, our relationship with God is only right (just) when we are a new creation in Christ who cancels our past sins and restores within us the image of God, this is that relative change.  The real change within you comes from the Holy Spirit who breaks the power of sin over us, moves us out of the flesh and into a life in the Spirit.  As Christians we are new!  You have a new life, new goals, new desires, new thoughts, and even a new source of nourishment – Holy Communion.

Cecil B. Demille, the great movie producer, wrote the Parable of the Water Beetle just before his death.  “One day, I was sitting in my boat, a big black beetle came out of the water and climbed into the boat.  I watched for some time.  Under the heat of the sun, the beetle proceeded to die.  Then a very strange thing happened.  His glistening black shell cracked all the way down his back.  Out of it came a shapeless mass, quickly transformed into a beautiful, colored life.  As I watched in fascination, there gradually unfolded iridescent wings from which the sunlight flashed a thousand colors.  The wings spread wide, as if in worship of God.  Before my eyes had occurred a metamorphosis, the transformation, of a hideous beetle into a gorgeous dragonfly, which started dipping and soaring over the water.  But the body it had left behind still clung to my boat.  I had witnessed what seemed to me a miracle.  Out of the mud had come a beautiful new life.  And the thought came to me that if the Creator works such wonders with the lowliest of creatures, what potential there is for the human spirit?”

Read this with a discerning ear: we are simply an ugly, dark shell without Christ within us.  Now, God still loves the ugly shell full of possibilities, full of potential, and God wraps that shell in His grace.  God offers each of us the gift of Christ, but we must want our transformation in the Spirit.  We must desire to spread our wings to the fullest in worship of God.  We must express all the colorful fruits of the spirit God has placed within us, for it is without question that God’s desire for us is to leave the empty, ugly, dark shell behind and become new in the life of Christ, reconciled to God.  So, as Christians we must ask ourselves: what will that new life look like for me?  And how much more of the shell of the old life must still be shed away?

Three verses later in the same chapter Paul writes, so we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  Boy, what a title! What a job description!  What an overwhelming obligation: we are ambassadors for Christ!

We must give to God our best.  When we go out into the world with the title Christian we are representing our Savior and Lord with everything we say and do.  Jesus will be judged by those in the world by the way we live.  People will make decisions about Christ based on how Christians behave.  We cannot simply give to God just enough or even our good efforts, we must strive to be the best Christian we can be.  Ambassadors have the full power of those they represent behind them, and this is an enormous amount of power.  The power of Christ is his mercy and grace.  The rubric for how we relate to God and others goes like this: we who are loved, love others.  So, we must become transparent to Christ’s charity; transparent to Christ’s joy; transparent to Christ’s hope; transparent to Christ’s gentleness; transparent to Christ’s service; transparent to Christ’s teaching; transparent to Christ’s love.  Our heart should be that all may experience Christ through us – his ambassadors.  You wield the authority of Christ as anew creation in Him and as His ambassador.  Therefore, you must also ask: how well am I representing Him in my home, in my group of friends, in my place of business, in my school, in my church, in the world?