Big Idea: In the gospel, we are a new creation.
In 2009, the US government launched a $3 billion program called CARS: “Car Allowance Rebate System.” You probably remember it as “cash for clunkers.” A $3500 or $4500 voucher was given for old, fuel-inefficient vehicles, to go toward the purchase of a new one. The idea was to stimulate the economy and remove old cars and their smog from the road. It was very popular with the public: the initial $1 billion allotment was exhausted in just 6 days. Undoubtedly, many of those people knew that it would cost more to fix their cars than to replace them. Sometimes it is better to just scrap a clunker and start over.
The gospel includes some shocking news: our hearts are clunkers. They do not need a fresh coat of paint or some new tires. We are what insurance agents call “totaled” and it is time for an upgrade. The Law cannot repair the wreckage. Going to church, being baptized, or reading your Bible every day are about as effective as my son’s inflatable pool floaties would be on me. The burden is simply too great: we need to start fresh.
Thankfully, that is exactly what God offers us. The gospel has crucified us to the world and the world to us. That simply means that when we became Christians, our old selves died with Him and the world’s power over us was broken. But that is not all! Just as surely as Jesus rose again, we are new creatures, transformed by the power of the Risen Lord. If you have never trusted Christ as your Savior and have been gnawing at the edges, it is time to realize that your life does not need a make-over, but a do-over. If you have been born again, do not fall into the Galatian foolishness of believing that what God started with a radical transformation you are now going to finish by your works.
At a cost of infinitely greater than $3 billion dollars for old cars, God has purchased us to transform us fundamentally. We are new creatures, made fit for the new creation. The works of the old creation, the strength of our willpower or the might of our flesh, are already passing away. Everything that matters is ours by faith in the Risen Son.
Discussion Idea: Why do you think people want to believe that their lives can be fixed by behavior modification? What does the need to be born again do to our pride?
Prayer Focus: Lord, thank You for making me new. Teach me to live like the new creation that I already am, not so that I can earn Your favor, but in love for You because I already have it.