There is a saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’, and in church circles, this can mean that we become so used to Biblical truth that we fail to appreciate the radical nature of the gospel and can lose focus and become distracted. Our goal as Christians should be to praise and glorify God and to teach and preach the gospel, making disciples of all nations. Dave spoke tonight from 2 Cor 5:17, a verse that reminds us that we are new creations in Christ Jesus.
Before salvation, we were without Christ and without hope. We can attend church services and still be without Christ, for salvation requires that we are born again of God’s Spirit. (John 1:12) When this happens, we are ‘in Christ’. Before salvation, the natural state of all humans is to be ‘in Adam’, affected by his disobedience and sin, but in Christ, we are rescued from sin and given eternal protection (just as the cities of refuge used to provide sanctuary to anyone who had killed inadvertently, protecting them from vengeful relatives.)
To be in Christ means to belong to Him as the branch belongs to the vine (John 15). Runner beans supposedly grow better near sweet peas, but the two things retain their own identity even so. But when we are in Christ, we are given a new identity and no longer have to live according to the old ways. By faith, we cling to the cross and can be changed from within as God’s Spirit lives in us. God’s work is not simply to reform us, but to do a work of re-creation in us. He brings transformation to us and therefore we can live in newness of life. So often, we fail to do this because we do not grasp the radical nature of what God has done and that the chains of sin have been totally broken. When we understand that the old has gone and the new has come, we can live in the light of God’s promises and claim those promises for our own lives.