Hello beautiful people! One of the most fun and most difficult parts of college is the inconsistency of schedule. (Some people don’t think it’s fun at all, and that is fine, they just have less fun.) I get that. So, this is especially for my small group ladies who, for one reason or another, were unable to join us in small group shenanigans. I am going to begin posting on a weekly basis what we discussed and learned in small group, and you, dearest reader, are welcome to join in the fun.
It is a New Year, a new semester, and the beginning of a new series, of which the first discussion, fittingly, is about being new. This series is about the identity that is found in a relationship with Christ.
Paul wrote to the Roman church in Romans 6:1-4,
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
When we discussed what it means to be new, words and phrases like “changing” and “a work in progress” were thrown out. The dictionary application on my telephone (which has been used dramatically less in the past few days due to a sudden decrease in how much I play Boggle since coming back to Bloomington) tells me that new means “being other than the former or old; made or become fresh; different from one of the same category that has existed previously; of dissimilar origin and usually of superior quality.”
When Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come,” he did not mean to tell us that being in Christ begins gradually changing us. We are NEW. We are other than what we were. And while my behavior may be slowly changing and a definite work in progress, my person, the core of who I am, is secure in Christ and a new creature. The change was radical and immediate.
Galatians 2:20, which happens to be my favorite verse, says that “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” This is the explanation of what happened to the old creature implied in 2 Corinthians 5:17. It was crucified with Christ. It is dead. There is no turning back. I am irrevocably new, and all by the doing of my loving Savior, Jesus.
I am not new because it’s a New Year or I have started a new diet or a new routine. I am new because Christ has given me new life, a new heart, and a new mind. The pressure isn’t on me. And the pressure isn’t on you.
If you have any questions or things you want to talk about, I’d love to chat. Know that you are loved!