2 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.
We are fascinated with new things in our modern western civilization: the newest clothes, phones, cars, appliances in a house, and progressive thought. In the origins of our western society, our ancestors of culture, the Romans, had a fascination with old things. They allowed the early church to be grandfathered into their oldest known religion, Judaism.
Weirdly and quite funny, it was like an umbrella corporation of the ancient world. If there was a synagogue in a city, the church could meet within the city limits; if there was no synagogue, the church had to meet outside the city gates. Judaism was old; teachers of the Christians were the teachers of the Jews from the Roman legal perspective (although these men were being converted by Christ). Paul is an example of this.
Former Jewish super leader to Christian missionary. Roman law was this way and, to be cliche, when in Rome. Law in this format began feeding and developing what we know as the church. We can now look back through almost 2,000 years of history and thank God for Christ and his body, the church. It created universities, hospitals, and orphanages. The world changed due to a love for old things. This organism, called the church, was not ancient in its beliefs. It was new, it was fresh, and it was of God. The church taught of the Messiah, the Christ, our Lord. God does these new things; he works old into new.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, Christ makes us all new creations. The old has passed away, all things have become new. Keyword: all. This isn’t a pick and choose as I walk through the grocery store of spiritual life. This is all things in my life have become new. We always want to start a new year, make the “New Year, New You” resolutions, and fail after the first week. Due to the embedded culture, we see the old and hate it, hoping something new will come, something of our power.
Yet, we fail. To be new, we must look to the old and be grateful that we can look back and see that there is an old. It shows progression and reveals that we have been moving forward all along. I love to backpack through our beautiful Sierra mountains, and when I do, I travel many miles in a day. I always love to find a peak toward the end of the day and look back at where I was. I can remember the struggles in certain sections. I can remember the hunger and thirst in some areas. I can feel the pain in my feet and legs, but I know that it was all worth the journey to experience what I love, the mountains.
Similarly, this should be our view of Christ every year we experience. It is 2023, but that doesn’t mean that the years prior are lost and dead. We learned and leaned upon the knowledge that Christ has “made all things new.”
Again, the keyword: all. We must ask ourselves if we let Christ make all things new; not wipe our memory of the past. It means to give us a new outlook on the sovereign working hand of our glorious father in heaven. I can look back post-regeneration of the Holy Spirit and do as the Romans do, find a fascination that the old was beautiful in a way – even in all the evil surrounding the past. It was and will never be taken away; I look back at Christ on the cross, something 2,000 years old, and find the beauty in what is finished. Now, I stand in the glorious presence of the Triune God. Letting go of “new,” finding value in “old,” and realizing all things are created new in Christ Jesus through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. As Paul writes in Romans 11:36, “For of him and through him and to him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
Brady Roser is the associate pastor at The Bridge Church.