Old things pass away and the new has come
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2Co 5:17-21
What does it mean old things? What does it mean new things have come?
What were these old things? What is this new creature and how do we live in this new?
This is my quest,
To understand what it means to fully walk in what Jesus died to give.
God free to forgive.
To begin to understand let’s start at the crucifixion of Jesus.
The stage is set. Jesus on the cross says, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. He then gives up His spirit. The sacrifice was made. God free to forgive. To display this the earth shakes, the sky goes dark, the veil in the temple rends and the rocks crumble (this was probably the stones of the very temple as Jesus had for told them). Not only this but some tombs of the saints opened and they also were raised from the dead. The old things passing away and new things coming. Forgiveness is having its way, the barrier of sin overcome. Christ’s flesh now being the entrance into the very presence of God and us being God’s new dwelling place. New creations, His temple, that before that moment never existed, Jesus crucified.
There can be all kinds of elements of cleanliness and righteousness but to be a dwelling place for the creator of everything started in Christ. New creations in the very presence of God.
Oh, how glorious being in Christ and dwelling in God’s presence. The peace, the splendour, the ecstasy of knowing His grace, the freedom to dwell, the joy, the overwhelming recognition of His love – to be in Christ.
Before Christ, this was not possible. Outside of Christ, this is still impossible.
But what does it mean to be in Christ?
To get to the answer to this essential question I keep reflecting on the relationship God had with Adam and Eve in the Garden and what really happened when the break-in that relationship happened? I see this reflecting what Jesus demonstrated in the way He walked out His relationship with the Father. I see in this God demonstrating love and what it means when He is our Lord.
Let us start with Jesus’s description of being filled.
“The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.
If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” Luk 11:34-36
This came in the context of people questioning if He was from God. There seems to be a connection between trusting if what is happening is from God and being able to trust God to rule, fill and influence our lives. This is beyond mere intellectual influence. This is relational to the core. Full possession of our hearts, like newborn love among lovers, like when a new dad first holds his baby or a mother sees her baby after just giving birth. This is first love. It’s a love that drives and guides. You find expression flow even before it’s asked for. This is Love, that He first loved us and now this love can be ours.
This illumination, this having your eyes as one, set on Him. To see Him as he desires to be seen and this to flood our being. This love will pour out in expression. It will compel us. Praise will spring forth when He is our one. Oh, His beauty. The perfect form of who He is and His ways toward us. The way He moves with us and wants to move with us. Oh, His love. Ho if it’s singing a song or reaching out and listening to the beauty of God’s heart for those around us, the way He hungers to set them free and be their strength in their weakness. Go to a place of natural beauty and see all the nuances of His creation from the vastness of it’s spender to the smallest spec of what the very fibre of life is formed from to the light that reflects that we might see it. Oh, the spender of His majesty. All this and He loves me, oh He loves me.
As I open up and set my eyes fully on Him. As He becomes my focus and my trust. But this is all impossible to see, truly see as He wants me to see, unless His spirit shows me. To see this with an unveiled face. No need to hide. Back to the garden. Refreshed in the filling of His Spirit again and again.
The effect of surrender
When Christ gave up His life on the cross the environment around Him was effected. Veils rend, rocks crumbled and resurrection life was released. This is salvation. When we surrender our lives to His Lordship, focus on Him, follow Him, then the veil of our shame is rent and God is free to flood our lives with His presence. As seen in Christ’s Resurrection, this didn’t just affect Him, this power flooded the whole region and resurrection life was releasing others from their graves. They came to life by Christ’s surrender and God’s response of resurrection life. This surrender released this and this is what happens when we fully surrender to God. God responds by flooding every surrendered aspect of our life with resurrection power and overflows out of our lives into the regions in which we live.
This is the life God made available through Christ. God has been talking about this from the very beginning. It’s always been His heart’s desire from the beginning as I see it. He said to Moses, Tell them “I am” has sent you. What did He mean “I am”. He is everything our hearts could ever desire. He is everything we truly need. He is counsel, He is peace, He is friendship, He is healing, He is wisdom, He is the way, He is truth, He is light, He is hope, He is everything we need and there is no other. Nothing will satisfy us like the Lord. He makes us complete as we surrender the old and receive the gift of the new.
Surrender, taste and flow
There is a dynamic that when we surrender to the heart of God, and set our sites to see it fulfilled, then His glory floods and overflows our life. As said before without Jesus’s sacrifice this is impossible as guilt and shame would block this trust and surrender. Even after doing all kinds of ceremonial sacrifices and activities sin and guilt remain, but through Christ, we have access to be flooded with God’s glory. This opens access to be living tabernacles full of the very presence of God where He can flow out of us and bring resurrection life all around us.
Jesus described this saying:
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” Joh 7:37-38
Let’s think about this. We are now the dwelling place of God’s Spirit. Where God dwells has been described as having a river flowing from it. Eze 47 describes it coming from the house of God and it healing all the waters and lands it goes through (except the swamps) and Rev 22 gives a similar account.
Where is this river coming from? What effect is this river promised to have?
In John 4 we see Jesus talking to the woman at the well. He brings up two dynamics:
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Joh 4:14
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”Joh 4:21-24
Jesus reveals a new hour. He speaks of true worshiper that the Father seeks. He expresses drinking of His water and then becoming a fountain.
This is what God is doing. As expressed by Jesus, the Father seeks this kind of worshiper. This is the hour we live in. Listen to how He describes it. He talks about people not worshipping in this place or that but worshiping in Spirit and truth. This is what I see happening. There is drinking that must happen. A surrender that results in worship that is in Spirit and truth. A receiving of what He offers that the living waters would flow. These living waters won’t just affect us individually but flow out of our lives into the lands we live in. For God has promised:
and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2Ch 7:14never existed
Every account of the river we see it flowing and in Hebrews, we see described an amazing glimpse into an environment where transformation flows along with it:
“AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.” When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Heb 8:11-13
I can see a generation of true worshipers being released as we surrender our self’s from our self-righteousness to taste of His righteousness in Christ, surrendering to His gift of grace, sanctified by His Spirit, that He would be released in us to heal the land.
Does your salvation only effect yourself, no, like the leaves of the trees on the edges of Gods river it is for the healing of the nations.