Currently, we are participating in a sermon series titled “The New Has Come.” It is a New Year’s preaching study looking at biblical truths that highlight and celebrate “the new identity” that followers of Christ experience. The first message in this series focused on 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV)
This passage reminds us that when we place our faith in our Lord Jesus, we are “in Christ” and behold, everything becomes new. In short, we are recreated spiritually, from the inside out. The passage points us to several important biblical doctrines – the doctrine of regeneration, the doctrine of justification, and the doctrine of reconciliation.
The doctrine of regeneration emphasizes the spiritual reality that when we respond to the gospel through faith, we are spiritually born again (John 3:5-8; 1 Peter 1:3-5). As a result, we become brand new in Christ and are made complete in Christ. We no longer need to live in guilt and shame, rather we can change because we have been changed – “…the old has passed away, the new has come!”
The doctrine of justification means that God has not only forgiven us of our sins, but also has granted us the righteousness of Christ. Because of justification, we bear Christ’s righteousness and therefore are fully pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Because of our regeneration and our justification, we experience reconciliation. Reconciliation means that although we were at one time hostile toward God and alienated from him, we are now forgiven and have been brought into an intimate relationship with him. Because of reconciliation, we are now totally accepted by God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
Because of being reconciled to God, he has entrusted us with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19-20). In other words, we get to be his ambassadors – envoys who represent Christ to our lost friends, neighbors, family members, classmates, work associates, etc. What a great privilege. What a great responsibility. What a great opportunity.
Calvary, may we celebrate our regeneration, justification, and reconciliation by being good ambassadors of the good news about being “in Christ!”
Blessings in 2019,
Your Pastor, Scott
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