So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (NLT)
Evidently “change” is not the most pleasant word in the English language. Some of us react to change like it is a plague to be avoided. It can get a little absurd; like the man who stood at his church board meeting and proposed a change to the church bylaws that, from this moment on, there is to be no change under penalty of excommunication!
Most of us do not like change!
And, I admit, the older I get, the more this probably describes me too!
But in his letter to the Corinthian church Paul was advocating keeping the change. That change is the newness of life in Christ that happens as a gift from God, when, in repentance we give our heart and will to Him. The change, specifically in that transaction, is a reconciling; a sinner is forgiven, and reckoned a saint in God’s eyes.
Now, that part of the transaction is wonderful; if you’ve experienced that, you are already shaking your head in agreement. But that’s only part of the transaction. The other part is living that change, keeping the change fresh and in focus daily, and passing the change along to others.
This is what Paul had in mind when he said we are Christ’s ambassadors. We are given this wonderful ministry of inviting people to remember that image of God stamped on their souls; we are given the change melody to play loudly for our friends, neighbors and acquaintences.
And we are to play that music until the whole of humanity, like a giant orchestra, is all atuned to the Master’s grand score.
Keeping the change isn’t about rearranging the furniture in the church, or getting new music forms, different styles of dress, cars, or hairstyles.
Keeping the change also isn’t about policing other peoples’ behavior; God knows if I teach my dog to use an Ipad for her entertainment and to express her feelings in a daily blog, it might look like I’ve changed her orientation…but in the end, when I’m not looking, she’ll still be chasing lizards out on the patio. She is, after all, a dog!
And that’s not change.
And so, enough about what is NOT keeping the change…here’s what it IS…
Keeping the change is offering Christ in word and deed, as we live this new creation existence of forgiven and thankful sinners who recognize what a gift we’ve been given.
What have you got planned for this new week?
Whatever it is, be sure to remember you’re a new creation in Christ; make sure you keep the change!