Not Home Yet: New! Now!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Christianity is fundamentally different from most other major religions. Yes, it’s true: Nearly all religions promise a kind of heaven in the afterlife. And most encourage followers to obey certain rules. All require some kind of faith or belief system.

nothome_350But Christianity stands out for the reason Paul declares in today’s verse: we have been changed . . . now. It’s not just that we will one day be in heaven. It’s that we have already been made new in our hearts at the moment we placed our faith in Jesus.

Most religions promise a payoff if you work the system long enough, if you do more good than bad, if you keep yourself in line and sell out to the cause. God promises those who trust in Christ that the essential change in us—the transformation necessary for us to become like Jesus and be welcomed into heaven—happened before we could even begin to try to follow Him. It’s a gift, not a reward.

The old us is already long gone. The new us is already here.

Think: Have you ever heard people talk about hoping they can be good enough to get into heaven? Hoping to earn God’s approval by not sinning and doing the right things? How is that different than Christianity?

Pray: If you are “in Christ,” thank God for already making you a new creation. Thank him for giving you a new self as a gift and not making you work to earn it, because nobody ever can.

Do: In a few sentences, briefly describe what it means to be in Christ (as a way of being ready to tell someone else).