Old Things Have Passed Away

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Happy day, all.

Scheduling has kept me from investing into my blog recently, but I wanted to send a shout-out to Elaine from our church who has encouraged me to get back into writing — you’ve reminded me why I do what I do. Thanks. She & her husband James are such a special pair at CityReach, and I’m glad they’re part of the family!

I can’t promise a regular blogging routine yet, but I can say that the future is bright.

It seems like just yesterday was Festival of Hope season and our team were busily mapping out strategies — and now we are about to jump into preparation for autumn. In the middle of being just about as busy as I expected to be, I also am (thankfully) surprised at how refreshed I am. At the time I’m writing this sentence, I am sitting at my dining room table with a scattering of open Bibles around me, a tall glass of orange juice (high pulp, the only way to go), and a candle wafting in a delicious vanilla scent — and I am thankful. Sincerely thankful.

The other morning before my alarm went off, I heard God whisper to me, “Romans 8:2.” And it sort of woke me up. In my early morning, pre-coffee stupor, I fumbled to pull up the Bible on my iPhone, slapped a pair of glasses on my face, and read, “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

The first thing I thought—oddly enough—was how humbled Paul, the writer of this message to the Roman church, must be to know that a letter he wrote is still encouraging and challenging billions of people today, thousands of years after its composition. And to have God Almighty breathe His confirmation on the words… and speak a certain reference of it to me on an ordinary Friday…

Anyway!

God’s very Word declares that I have been set free from the law of sin and death, through the sinless life, death, and resurrection of Jesus… Set. Free.  And you have been, too, so long as you believe in Jesus. You have been born again as a brand new creation (free from sin and muck) into Christ’s righteousness!

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 spells out a non-exhaustive list of sinners who will not inherit Jesus’ beautiful Kingdom, and the author throws in a game-changing statement in verse 11, “Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Some of you were once like that—but you were cleansed and made right!  The explicit application is that, because of Jesus, we are no longer who we used to be! Our past, our sinfulness, our shame, our guilt is dead and gone in Jesus’ Name!

This is GOOD NEWS! Friends, my heart is applauding Jesus as I write this—bursting with gratitude!

I am free. I am no longer a sinner; I am no longer bound to sin or its cruel death penalty. That old, sinful way of life for me is dead and completely gone (2 Corinthians 5:17), and I have been born again into the full-of-life, full-of-joy, full-of-love victory afforded to me by Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:57).

And the same applies to you!

No Christian ought to be moping about, defeated or depressed or dejected. No Christian ought to continue on in ugly living or ugly thinking. Such things do not make sense to belong in us who are new creations. Such things have, in a very literal sense, passed away.

Be the new creation you are! You are free from the law of sin and death, and alive in the Son of God! You are part of a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s very own possession—called to show others the goodness of God! Wake up to your new identity — your born-again-self!

I pray that this is a reminder to all of us in God’s family that He has given us a clean slate and has set us up for victory, favor, and prosperity. Jesus doesn’t hold your past against you, and He doesn’t think bad thoughts about you. Be free, because there is so much refreshing LIFE in the fact that ‘old things have passed away.’

My heart,
Josh

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