Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Beginnings and Fresh Starts, Part III

After recognizing the theme of new beginnings and fresh starts throughout the Old Testament, it is when we get to the New Testament that we see God begin to put this plan into action, a plan which will usher out the old and welcome in the new.

All throughout Jesus' ministry, He seems to be turning the Old Law on it's ear with His teachings. "You have heard it said...but I say to you..." is the theme of His message, as He teaches not just the letter of the Old Law, but He teaches the intent of the Law. Of the Temple which was considered to be God's dwelling place, where the Jews came to worship, Jesus said, he would tear it down and rebuild it in three days. This angered the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, who did not understand that Jesus was not actually talking about the physical Temple, but rather, He was talking about Himself. He would give His life, be buried, and be raised to life again in three days.

It was on the night before His death that He actually proclaimed the ushering in of a new covenant that His death would bring. "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

The Hebrew writer speaks of this new covenant which Jesus established, this new covenant of which He is the mediator. "For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant."
That message is for us. With this new covenant, we have been set free! Once again, we see that with this fresh start He has given us, He has also given us hope! "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

So what does that mean for us? How is this new birth into a living hope supposed to affect the way that we live our lives?

We are a brand new creation! "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

We are to be transformed! "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing, and perfect will."

In that transformation, we are to become like Him! "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

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