Midweek Connection – April 3, 2019

Silence and Centering     

Listen, O Lord, to my plea for justice; pay attention to my cry for help! Listen to my honest prayer.

Psalms 17:1

Confession:

Wise and all-knowing God, we confess our knowledge is limited. We don’t know what’s best. We don’t know how to control ourselves.
 We don’t know how to forgive.
 We don’t know how to love.
 And we don’t know how to faithfully follow You when there is a cost. Forgive our pride and our foolishness. Restore and redeem us. Give us a thirst for all that You are. In Jesus’ Name, 
Amen.

PAUSE FOR  2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

Reading & Devotional:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

One of the greatest lies told to those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus relates to our old and new natures. So many believers live under the oppression of the lie that God in his grace may see us as clean, but at our core we’re truly not. We live as if redemption in Jesus is like clean clothes covering up the dirt and filth that will always remain, and as if redemption is our get-to-heaven-free card. We hold fast to a belief that salvation was more of an illusion of redemption than an actual transformation. And those lies act like weights dragging us back to the ways and sins of our former selves.

Scripture could not speak more clearly of the opposite. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

If you are in Christ today—if you are saved—then you are a new creation. The old hasn’t stuck around until you die; “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” You see, the fact that you have been transformed into a new creation doesn’t have anything to do with your sins, failures, and beliefs. Transformation in Jesus is based on his power, not yours. Truth is based on his sacrifice, not your actions. You are a new creation totally and completely by the grace of God, apart from any of your works—as righteous or sinful as they may be. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Don’t live today with your experience as your truth. Don’t see yourself based on your works but rather on the truth of what Scripture says about you. If you will begin to believe that God truly has already transformed you into a new creation and reconciled you to himself simply by grace, then you will live and act on a foundation that births freedom and righteousness. But, if you set your mind on the things of the flesh, which is in opposition to the reality of transformation already worked in you at the cross, then you will live chained to the ways of your former self (Romans 8:6).

Take time today to reflect on your new nature in Jesus. Allow Scripture and the Holy Spirit to help you see yourself as one transformed and set free by grace. Commit yourself to live with grace as your source rather than your own strength. And experience freedom today that comes from living with a renewed mind.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

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