So then, from this point on we won’t recognize people by human standards. Even though we used to know Christ by human standards, that isn’t how we know him now. So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!
Paul knew at a visceral level the transforming power of Jesus Christ. The “old man” was a terrorist bent on destroying members of the Way. The “new man” was the most compelling ambassador for Christ in history.
For years, I carried the view of my Jewish father who renounced God after the Holocaust and bore deep resentments towards Christianity after experiencing much anti-Semitism. In high school I wrote a term paper about the hypocrisy of Christianity. I was known for my sharp and critical tongue. In college and in divinity school, I studied the psychological and sociological functions of the Christian faith with the aim of explaining it away. I disdained those with child-like faith. I even accused a Christian professor of the NT as being anti-Semitic.
Despite marrying Jay, a budding pastor, my struggles with Jesus continued for six more years. It was the brokenness of our marriage that finally drove me to my knees. I had a vision of Jesus on the cross, with the words, “Stop running, you who are heavy laden. Find rest in me.” Thus began a process of rebirth that continues to this day. I am becoming a “new creation” in Christ, Our marriage was also re-created, and within a year we were pregnant with our first child (previously I was afraid to be a mother). God helped my tongue become one that blessed rather than cursed others (James 3:10). He replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
We United Methodists face a Corinthian culture that is secular, indulgent, and success-driven. We, like Paul, encounter broken, desperate and devastated persons, yet there is the wisdom of our Wesleyan heritage and the transforming grace of the Holy Spirit to help others shed the “old life” and become the new creation. Let us step with Jesus into this ministry of transformation.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, we come to you with personal confessions of our own doubts and unbelief. Set us free to experience your transforming power and grace, and then to be agents of your transformational grace to others. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
The Rev. Christine Archer
Spiritual Formation Team-TN Conference
– – – – –
REFLECTIONS FOR THE DAY | Use a program on your computer, a traditional journal, or feel free to use the comment section of this blog post to record your reflections as a conversation with others…
READ – What spoke to me as I read today’s meditation?
REPENT – Where is God showing me that I have failed to be obedient to the call to discipleship today?
RECEIVE – What words of redemption and grace is God offering to me?
REMEMBER – Who and what is God calling me to remember in prayer related to today’s reading?
RESPOND – How is God calling me to respond today?