Not waiting for the afterlife
2 Corinthians 5: 16-21
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Last weekend, we left our office building in the heart of London, to move to a new one, half a mile to the east. The firm has been in this location since before I joined as a trainee solicitor more than 20 years ago. When we leave, the chances are it will be pulled down and rebuilt - taller, sleeker, glassier. As I left for the last time, I looked around - every single building had been rebuilt in the last 10 years. London is never static. The city constantly changes. To someone who worked here 30 years ago, it would be unrecognisable.
The “new creations” in the City are all too solid. Brick and tile has given way to steel and glass. There is no doubting that the old has been swept away and the new has appeared. Paul, writing to the early church in Corinth talks about each of us being a new creation in ways which are earth-shatteringly and eternally important.
It can be tempting to view our faith solely as an insurance policy - as if we’ve made a down payment on our place in heaven. But I think Christianity offers so much more than that. As the American band Switchfoot sing - “I’m ready now, I’m not waiting for the afterlife….”. This is what Paul is saying - the moment we invite Jesus into our lives, we are made new. We begin an experiment of living in the life of the spirit, with God calling us ever closer to Him.
But being “new” creations does not make us “finished” creations.The job of being a Christian is one for life. It’s a life of living with our feet on planet earth and our hearts homing in on eternity. It’s an existence of learning to live purposefully in community and living out the love of God. We all move at different paces and with different gifts, but we also live freed from guilt and secure in love - whatever twists and turns our crazy life throws at us.
I am your creation. Make me new in ways that surprise me. Make me a part of your new creation and give me the strength and gifts and perseverance to change the world around me, with your help, to bring in your kingdom.