Scripture: Even though we once viewed Christ according the flesh, we no longer view Him that way. So if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation: everything old has passed away. See! Everything has become new! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. ~2 Corinthians 5:16-18
Theological Thought: The distinction between “the flesh” and “the new creation” are a new take on the idea commonly expressed in proverbs and psalms as The two ways (ie the way of the wicked vs the way of the righteous). One of the new revelations that Paul shares on the topic however, is that while a righteous man might have once been accused and held accountability for past sins before God, in Christ we have a genuine clean slate. We aren’t just given a second chance, we are given a brand new life. We get to start from scratch.
Reflection: This is one of my favorite verses. I have lost count of how many times I have quoted this scripture or just leaned on it as the old temptations raise their ugly mugs to stare at me. I recognize them for what they are, sometimes a little later than I might like, and I start shouting at them, “You have no power here! I am not a slave to you, I am a new creation in Christ!” There are other verses I shout too but this one is the most common one I scream at my temptation. The truth however is that as much as I’m shouting at temptation, I’m not really. The truth is that I’m shouting at myself. I’m recognizing that the temptation I’m facing is rising up out of the “flesh” and I’m reminding myself that I no longer live that way. I no longer live in the flesh, but I have a new life that is rooted in Christ. I have LIFE and LIFE ABUNDANT in Jesus who has made me a new creation. And even as that new creation grows and blossoms and bears fruit, I will still face sin and temptation, but that is what I FACE. Sin and temptation are not who I am. Just as with an apple tree, I am defined by what I am and not by the weeds (sin and temptation) that are sprouting up around me.
Prayer: Lord, show us all how it is that you see us. Reveal yourself to us that we may in turn be revealed to ourselves.
Practice: Write a list of the characteristics of the person you imagine God sees when He sees you. Pray over it with the expectation that God is going to have you edit the list, and most likely edit it extensively. As you make your edits, Pray for God to reveal this person in you, to you.