“God having provided
some better thing for us . . .”
The picture to your right was taken only a few days ago on a warm Missouri afternoon. I can’t take credit for most of the pictures I include with my posts, but this one is an exception. A local farmer created this scene when he decided to utilize only half of his land for a late-season planting of sod. Each Sunday as I travel this scenic route to church, I’m reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ . . . all things are become new.”
Of course that’s a passage of Scripture a majority of Christians are very familiar with. It’s been the key text of many sermons and Bible studies over the years, and so you may feel tempted to stop reading now with the assumption that I’m about to bore you with a cookie-cutter devotional you’ve heard a dozen times before.
The newness that characterizes a Christian’s life is the inevitable result of salvation and reliance upon “the LORD, the fountain of living waters.”
First of all, pay special attention to the present tense of this verse. Paul says the Christian is a new creature, not that he should exhaust himself trying to become one. Even the Apostle’s earlier reminder that “[Christ] died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves,” (5:15) resembles a statement of fact more than a commandment. Just as living grass is naturally green as a result of frequent watering, the newness that characterizes a Christian’s life is the inevitable result of salvation and reliance upon “the LORD, the fountain of living waters” (Jer. 17:13).
It’s also worth noting that the life Christ offers is not only new; it’s dramatically better. We are freely offered life for death, “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:3). Our sorrows were borne by the One Isaiah called “a man of sorrows” (53:3). Our sin was carried by Him “Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). The misery we deserved was endured by the Son of God so “that our joy may be full” (2 John 1:12).
When Christ asked His disciples if they felt inclined to join the majority and go back to their old lives, Peter’s response was profoundly simple: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). When others were enamored by “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches” (Mark 4:19), Peter was content “to be with Christ; which is far better” (Phil. 1:23). After all, there was nothing worth going back to.