A new creation
Lord I don`t know what it is about the timing that you are pouring forth enormous amounts of glorious truths into my life these days. It’s as if you were an old friend I haven’t seen in such a long time, and now we just can’t seem to get enough time and enough conversations and enough questions and enough stories. Although it is a little overwhelming and I pray for the grace to sift through the truths, I am so thankful. So thankful.
This morning in Tapestry we talked about the most beautiful truth. Not only the rich words of scripture, but the detailed imagery of my life were woven together in a magnificent way for me this morning.
The scripture was Romans 2:17-29
But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."
25For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
It is so easy to read Romans and find yourself overwhelmed with the amount and depth of knowledge Paul presents in only a few sentences. And yet once you dig deeper you find the incredible application his words give to your life and the situations you are in.
This morning I found my past, my present circumstances, and my future in full embodiment through this scripture. The chunk was laid out into three paragraphs.
1. vs. 17-25 Hypocrite: say one thing and do another. Claim the law but don’t keep it
2. vs. 26-27 being a Jew doesn’t mean anything. It is better to be obedient and not Jewish.
3. vs. 28-29 The transformation of our heart is the Lord’s work, through the Spirit, and leaves us transformed.
Why are we such hypocrites? Why am I such a hypocrite? I can grow so angry and cold to my own sin, shame, and guilt, and yet within minutes, hours, or maybe days I realize that it is because I am a hypocrite that I need Jesus. My failures, my shame, my guilt, my hypocrisy is what drives me to know and seek Jesus. And it is the process by which he takes me junk and begins to make me more like him, to make me new.
What matters to him is not my good works, my outward actions, my cultural proofs of Christianity, but that I follow his words, that faith is expressed in my life through love, and that I am a new creation. 1 Corinthians 7:19, Galatians 5:6, 6:15
What matters is not who I am…but who He is. What matters is his holiness, his name, his fame, his glory.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.” Ezekiel 36:22-23
In order to see and understand how holy and glorious he is, he has to change my heart. That lesson has been the theme of the past few weeks. He brought me through dramatic circumstances to show me that it is vital that he change my heart. He started by stripping away all the outward things and people that were distracting me from truly knowing him and abiding in his word. And now he is going deeper into the core of my true heart, to weed through the sin and junk, and create me into something new.
“And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Ezekiel 36:25-27
He wants to take my heart of stone and make it into a heart of flesh that is tender and receptive to him. And it is so important that I realize this first is a process. And second it is a process that requires pain. It hurts, at first, during, and until the end. But in the end the pain brings a beauty and newness that is worth every bit of pain and sacrifice.
I am ready for this process. I am excited to know nothing but Christ and him crucified. He is all that I want, all that I need. And the pain is worth it. It isn`t about just knowing a set of rules, or even following them. It is about knowing Christ. And allowing his power to transform my broken heart into something new. Something beautiful.