2007-02-07 / Religion

Smelly scraps or fresh food

by Benjamin Miller

Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

My wife and I had an unfortunate thing happen to us while visiting my grandparents a couple years ago. Our small house dog, Chloe, caught the scent of the "scraps" left outside for the other animals. She made a straight shot for the pan and plunged snout first into the food. As many of you well know, yard scraps don't always give off the most pleasing fragrances. That putrid smell infested the hair on her face. I thought we were going to have to shave her to get that smell off. She has yet to forget the location of the food either. To this day whenever she goes back to my grandparents' home, she immediately sets out for that particular location. She might not realize it or understand it, but Chloe is bound to the experience of her past.

Unfortunately most people are like Chloe and remain bound to the wretched experiences of the past. They feel as though there is no way to break away from the sins they once committed. Here's the blessed news: Paul says we are not bound. The reason I am not bound to my past is that I am not that same person. It is a strange thing to grasp with our finite minds, but we have been recreated by the saving blood of Jesus Christ. When I expressed my faith in Him as my personal Savior, the bondage of the past was forever broken. Christ says, "You are not the same person you once were. You now stand identified with me, clothed in my righteousness." None of us have to return like the washed pig to her mire. We are free from the condemnation that once hung over our heads. I am a new creation; that which was characterized by the old has died. It has little power to plague me now unless I grant it the right.

Now let's push the application a bit more. As I am a new creation freed from the squalor of my past, I now have no right to live as the person that I once was either. This is where the majority of the church remains. We often willingly tie ourselves to our pasts so that we never truly have to turn them loose. This is not acceptable for a Christian. Cheap grace is just that…cheap. It requires a cheap sacrifice, and Christ's was not cheap. The notion that we can continue in the sins of our past and be a child of God is preposterous. Certainly we cannot completely rise above sin in our present condition, but we are not required to give into it either. If you live your life in open rebellion to God, please don't go around telling people you are a child of God. You bring no honor to Christ's name, only shame and reproach. You crucify the Son of God anew and submit His sacrifice to public shame. You have no right to be that person anymore. The lifestyle of that former person has passed away. Everything in my life and your life has been made afresh and anew. Christ died for us; may we all live for Him. Grace be with you all!

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