Big idea: In the gospel, we are a new creation.
Key verse: Galatians 6:15
In 2009, the US government launched a $3 billion program called the “Car Allowance Rebate System.” It was better known as “cash for clunkers.” A $3500 or $4500 voucher was given for old, fuel-inefficient cars, to go toward the purchase of a new vehicle. The idea was to stimulate the economy and remove old cars from the roadways; upgrading them would cost more than they were worth. The program was very popular with the public: the initial $1 billion allotment was exhausted in just 6 days. Sometimes it is better to just scrap the whole thing and start over.
The gospel includes some shocking news: our hearts are clunkers. They do not need a fresh coat of paint or some new tires. We are what your insurance agent would call totaled and it is time for a total replacement. The Law, whether circumcision, a restricted diet or observance of special holidays, cannot repair the wreckage. Going to church, being baptized or reading your Bible every day are all about as effective as a baby’s arm floats on a grown man. The burden is simply too great: we need to start fresh.
Thankfully, that is exactly what God offers us. In the gospel, we are promised that the cross of Christ has crucified us to the world and the world to us. We are made new creatures, transformed by the power of the Risen Jesus. If you have never trusted Christ as your Savior and have been gnawing at the edges, it is time to realize that your life does not need a make-over, but a do-over. If you have been born again, do not fall into the Galatian foolishness of believing that what God started with a radical transformation you are now going to finish by your works.
The whole thing is by God’s grace. As a cost of much greater than $3 billion dollars, He has purchased us to transform us fundamentally. We are new creatures, made fit for the new creation. The works of the old creation, the strength of our willpower or the might of our flesh, are already passing away. Everything that matters is ours by faith in the Risen Son.
Discussion idea: Why do you think people want to believe that their lives can be fixed by behavior modification? What does the need to be born again do to our pride?
Prayer focus: Lord, thank you for making me new. Teach me to live like the new creation that I already am, not so that I can earn your favor, but in love for you because I already have it.