We aren’t taking anything from our old nature into our new covenant relationship with Christ. God’s goodness and mercy completely redeem our past, and being “present-future” focused is about living fully in the present moment while also anticipating what God has in store for the future. In every difficult situation we face, He simply compels us to think differently. There’s a new way to see, speak, and respond to His love as we are learning to walk in newness of life.
1. We are learning to become the righteousness of God.
It’s really important for us to become settled about who we are in Christ, and who we are not. We need to be settled about what God is doing with us, and what He is resolutely no longer dealing with us about. So let me start by reading you a scripture from the Bible. This is 2 Corinthians 5, beginning at 14:
“For the love of Christ constrains us. Having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died, and he died for all. So that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him, who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore, from now on, we recognize no one according to the flesh, even though we’ve known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him in this way no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things have passed away. Behold, new things have come.
And all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Namely, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself” — deep breath — “not counting their trespasses against them. And he has committed to us, that same word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
It’s an amazing concept. He made Him who knew no sin, to become sin, so that we could become the righteousness of God. And that’s really what we’re learning.
2. We are being trained exclusively on how to live in the new man.
The old nature of sin, behavior, thinking, perception, language … all those things, rooted in our experience of the world, have all now been done away with. We’re all having a perception and thinking and language coming to us from the kingdom of heaven, that’s now within us. So we are in a place where we are saying yes to that learning, and no to the old expression of life. We’re not taking anything from the old into this new relationship. We’re doing away with that. And we’re learning that God is making all things new.
So in every situation you face, the one thing that God faces you up with all the time is what’s new for you, in this situation. There is a new way to think. There’s a new way to see this. There’s a new way to talk about it. There’s a new way to stand. There’s a new way to walk, because you’re learning to walk in newness of life. That means you face situations in a new way. You’re learning how to think about them the way that He would think about them, and see them the way that He does. So we’re being trained exclusively on how to live in the new man.
3. The cross closes the door to the old nature.
This means that we are breaking a spiritual tradition of focusing on the old nature. You can’t do both the old and the new, because that is classic double-mindedness. And a double-minded man is unstable in everything. You cannot do both. We have to focus exclusively on training people in the new man. So, for example, we need some pastoral ministries that are focused on “Present-Past” because people are going to come with trauma, alcoholic backgrounds, drug lives, and so on, with all the woundedness that comes from it. They need specific development to cut off the ties from the old so that they can come to a place of being fully present. And the past is no longer available. The door is closed. The cross closes that door, and then they become “Present-Future”. At that point, they may need to come under a different type of pastoral ministry. One that’s working with the prophetic. Because now, counseling is designed to empower us to live in the new man so we’re not dealing with the old. We’re only dealing with the new.”
Want to hear more? Tune in to today’s episode as we learn to live as new creations and to see ourselves the way Jesus does.
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As always, thanks for listening!