Two Realities

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
- 2 Corinthians 5:17

Two realities overlap in today’s passage: our daily experience of ourselves and who we are in Christ.

Day by day we experience the same old version of ourselves that we’ve carried since we drew our first breath. The face that smiles back at us in the mirror is familiar. We slip into the same sad patterns of anxiety and sin. The old is still here.

But something radical has happened when we’ve been included in Christ. When we place our trust in him and declare him Lord over our lives, we receive something new – radically new – from God. We’re tip-toeing along the edge of a great mystery here.

Something about us is immediately, forever, unbreakably new. A seed has been planted in the center of the garden of your soul. And it grows and grows and grows. C.S. Lewis called this experience “good infection,” whereby the new life that is in Jesus is spread to those who choose to follow him.

Because the new is here, the old has gone. The old may remain for a beat or two, but it’s gone just as surely and securely as if it had already been eradicated.

D.A. Carson tells a story about his middle school teacher picking up a rubbish bin and carrying it to the back of the class, saying “You cannot chew gum here.” The offending student (Carson never says whether it was him or someone else) in that moment had gum in his mouth. But the whole class knew what the teacher meant.

“The new creation has come,” says Paul, “the new is here.” We may pop our old gum for a few moments more, but the rubbish bin is coming down the aisle.

Where have you wrestled with this tension between the old and the new in the Christian life? Where is “the old” lingering? Where do you see “the new” breaking through?

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