Summary: If you have experienced the Father's Love in Christ at Christmas, this is not the end of all things but the beginning of everything: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation.
The Father’s Opened Gift
We have been looking at some of the gifts of the Almighty God in sending Jesus, the Messiah, the one-and-only-one-of-a-kind “Son of God”, anointed to come to earth in the Flesh to demonstrate the lavish Love of God in Christ’s Incarnation, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and living, dying, and rising from the dead to bring you back to life.
God works in us, planting His Holy Spirit-seed in US to give us NEW LIFE so that we are given a new nature that desires to follow the Savior and to Love God more than anything else. The theological term is “Regeneration”, being born again. Last week we witnessed God’s visit to earth in Christ and to the Cross of Christ as the Horn of Salvation. We know that Jesus killed satan’s work and power at the cross because Jesus rose from the dead and ascended again to His Heavenly throne. In doing so, He became our most prized gift, OUR Savior, our mighty Horn of Salvation.
This is not the end, but only the beginning! Does it “taste like MORE”? That’s what my Grandmother us to say to us when we had a special treat, like a root beer float: “It tastes like MORE, doesn’t it? Let’s have MORE!” Psalm 34:8 says: “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” We are going “taste more” on a walk through 2 Corinthians 5:11-17:
2 Corinthians 5:11 “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. (This fear is reverent worship, living humbly and obediently before God because of His Love to us. We know that there is NO HIDING from God. Our hearts are an open book before God.)
12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. (Is your reputation as one who fears and loves the Lord and loves the Body of Christ “showing”? Sometimes YOUR WITNESS and behavior are the only things that others will read concerning God’s Love in Christ in YOU. Are you showing the LOVE OF God IN CHRIST in your words and actions?)
13 If we are out of our mind, (or beside ourselves) it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. (If people say that we are crazy, it is because we are out-of-our-minds in love with God because of His Love for us! If we are IN HIM we have the mind and loving attitude of Christ. If we appear to you that we ARE always LOVING, it’s because we are demonstrating this UNREAL LOVE FOR God through the Spirit of God who lives in us. We are IN-control of our actions and our RE-actions because we have the Spirit of God living in us and through us!)
14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, (HIS LOVE CONTROLS US and we profess that Christ’s substitutionary death is the ONLY WAY to receive forgiveness!) and therefore all died. (Everyone who DIED IN CHRIST receives the benefits of His substitutionary death AND HIS RESURRECTION! We are overwhelmed with gratitude that He made us a part of the “ALL” of His Body!)
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. (Our old SELF-CENTERED lives are finished. That’s what kept us FROM God. We’ve been released from that and our lives are now DEAD to SIN and ALIVE to God in Christ: The Power of Christ and the Gospel! “I only live for the Lord, I only live for righteousness' sake, not for myself." Anything less than that is unacceptable.)
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. (We don’t regard people according to worldly external standard.,) Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. (We do not merely regard Jesus from a fleshly perspective, but according to WHO HE REALLY IS: The Love of God to become Savior, the Word becoming flesh, the only way to God, the only way of forgiveness, the only access to the Kingdom of God! Our Redeemer, our LORD, the King whom we serve.)
17 “Therefore, (A VERY BIG “THEREFORE” –on account of these things of God) if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (or CREATURE); the old has gone, the new has come!”