2 Corinthians 5:17: If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.
The Kingdom of God is growing…and it is growing slowly. We don’t like that word “slow” for it denotes innefficiency, inferiority, or ineptitude for many of us. Yet it is not only Jesus’ testimony that the kingdom of God comes slowly, but experience and the testimony of Christian scripture shows personal growth also comes slowly. Last week I spoke about the importance of people and place in this slow process of, at times frustratingly slow, growth.
Yet what is it that we are growing towards or into? The above statement from the apostle Paul delivers a clear picture of what the goal of growth is for us–new creation. Yet Paul does not say that the one in Christ is becoming a new creation, but rather that they are a new creation. That does not seem slow. When One belongs to Christ and that person is a new creation,..that is their new, already happened, identity.
So much with a slow process? Not quite.
When one gives themselves to Jesus, he genuinely makes them a new creation. In fact, the new creation which Jesus intends to make is something in which we can participate now. So how does this relate to the slow and steady idea of the kingdom and the idea that most people don’t grow at rapid pace?
Have you ever seen one of those superhero movies where the hero comes to realize the great powers they have and slowly starts to learn how to use them? Well I want to suggest that in some ways the Christian life is like this–the new creation is here for the one who is one with Jesus! Most of our life is coming to terms and trusting all that this means. That is Christian growth comes in finding what we have by virtue of being a new creation in Christ?
Instead of spider senses or the ability to fly, we have been given a capacity for joy, peace, patience, kindness, and love that we hardly realize. It takes years to realize! Those are some of the great gifts (powers?) of the new creation through Jesus. Yet realizing what Jesus wishes to do with us as new creations, as those that are changed from old to new is a lengthier process of finding our strength in Jesus in us through the Spirit, that is the new creation.
It is very hard for us to realize over night all that it means for us to be new creations. It is a slow process to understand just how deeply we have already been changed. Living out the new creation is a slow and steady process.