Friday, December 20, 2019

Brand New

We just completed an addition to our home. It is a new “mud room” or laundry room. The outside has new Smartboard® with a brilliant white baked in covering.  Thick new cedar shake shingles make the roof new. Yesterday our painter finished painting a bright white over the stained, cracked and chipped siding and window sashes after scraping and power-washing. Because the windowsills and cedar siding were rotting, a carpenter replaced that too.  The new room took up garage space, so we extended our garage with a new windowed extension. Around the addition was rock filled clay. The soil is now replaced with brightly collared flower and butterfly attracting bushes growing in it. Extending from the new garage is a brilliant white new concrete driveway, replacing the old cracked and blackened asphalt drive.  What a makeover.

But yet, as I rode my bike through the morning pre-dawn I saw something else. I saw my life before and after receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of my life.  Paul in Ephesians uses the metaphor of “washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27). God is speaking about washing away our stained lives and making them new.

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6). This Old Testament prophet makes clear that all of us are “filthy rags” because of our sin. Paul said in Romans, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is mankinds’ lot; we were born in sin and separated from God because of the original sin of Adam and Eve. Paul also said, “there is no one who does good, no not one”  (Romans 3:12). But God is good and He loves you and wants you to be transformed by the renewing of your soul. He wants you to find the source of our creation and cleanliness. God offers the purification and renewal of our souls and spirits. Our bodies start rotting away in our 20s and we can only temporarily put off our decline and eventual death. Diet, exercise, vitamins and lifestyle can help. But only one thing can make us new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2Corinthians 5:17). In Christ means receiving Him into your life. This is His gift for those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord in their lives.

At that time a transformation takes place making all things new.  We can become new creations, washed in His word and blood as spilled on the cross for each of us. This sacrifice gives who believe salvation and redemption. We are more than remodeled, but made brand new.

We love our new addition and the work that involves our entire home’s outside.  But God is saying more than externals. He is saying that all, body mind and spirit must be transformed.  “Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also” Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:26-28).  You may think Jesus is being harsh, and He is, but it is because of the Pharisees’ motivations and selfish hearts and thoughts. They were living false lives.  Just like our newly painted or whitewashed home, without a heart transplant inside, it is just like Jesus describes. We continue to clean up our house inside, getting rid of clutter and washing and painting walls of mold and making them new.  But more importantly we are seeking the Lord through His word, the Bible and prayer. We are asking for God’s Holy Spirit help to live godly and pure lives holy and obedient to Him. God is guiding and leading us as we seek Him in our renewal, continually being made brand new.

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