September 5, 2014
II Corinthians 5:17
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In Wednesday’s blog, we talked about Beyond Repair as it related to the body after physical death. And according to I Corinthians 15:49 through 54, we saw – summarized by Paul in Philippians 3:21 – that God “…will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” We Christians will receive glorified bodies designed for spiritual living in God’s presence forever!
But is that the only Repair the Lord offers for us? Didn’t Jesus say in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly…”? “Life” is eternal life – starting from the moment you receive Jesus Christ as Savior. “Abundantly” refers more to this earthly life, since it is obvious from what the Bible says that life – once we get to heaven – will certainly be abundant!
And what is the “abundance” to which the Lord refers? It is not what the Prosperity Gospel proclaims – “Just believe! And if your faith is strong enough, you, too, will have perfect health and all the money and material things you want!” No, I believe “abundance” is best described as increasingly manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life – as described in Galatians 5:22 and 23 (NIV): “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” If you have these nine in your life, what more do you need? These will bless you in any situation! Life will truly be abundant!
We don’t have to look far – we can see right around us that too many people have a lot less than an abundant life here and now! Many, many lives are complete wrecks! Are they Beyond Repair as far as the Lord is concerned? Paul gives the answer in II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
That newness is prophesied in Ezekiel 36:26 this way: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” The heart, in Hebrew thinking was more than the blood-pumping organ of the body. It referred to the whole inner person. So if a new heart was given, it meant – as Paul wrote – that one had a whole new creation inside!
We are born into this old world with a sin nature that manifests itself soon enough in various sinful and rebellious acts. Witness the toddler who is just starting to speak. What is one of the first words he or she learns? “No!” And that rebellion continues to increase and show forth throughout that person’s life – unless a new creation is given when that one receives Jesus Christ into his or her life! And then such a person must nourish that new nature regularly and obey God’s leading through the Holy Spirit. How is the new creation nourished? Colossians 3:10 – “…the new man…is renewed in knowledge [of God’s Word] according to the image of Him who created him….”
You see, we still have the old sinful nature. That’s why struggles between the old and the new continue throughout the life of the Christian. If we do not actively and regularly nourish that new nature, the world will feed the old sinful nature, and that nature will dominate a Christian’s life. Such people are called by Paul in I Corinthians 3:1, “…carnal [Christians]…babes in Christ.” What God desires is what the apostle wrote in Ephesians 4:14 and 15, that “…we should no longer be children…but, speaking the truth in love…[we should] in all things grow up into Him, who is the head — Christ….”
From personal experience and from observations as a pastor for 42 years, I can attest that a lot of people live ruined lives – ruined by choices they make themselves apart from God! But no life is Beyond Repair!
• Jesus called a despised, cheating tax collector and made him an honest and respected disciple.
• The Lord reached out to a sinful, demon-possessed woman, and made her a faithful follower.
• He caught a proud, Pharisaical, hateful murderer, and made him an apostle who wrote almost half of the New Testament.
• Jesus Christ claimed me – a rebellious teenage alcoholic from a broken family who was increasingly involved in the occult. He cleansed me of my sin, called me into the ministry, and helped me to overcome my addictions. He has taught me over the years to keep close to Him through the reading and study of His Word, through prayer and through obedience to the Spirit’s leading. And I can’t imagine a more full and abundant life than that which I am now experiencing!
So how is your life going? Are you experiencing abundance in the Lord Jesus Christ? Or is your life strewn with sinful wreckage? You are not Beyond Repair! Turn to Him – heart, soul, mind and strength – and He will begin the Repair process!