Wednesday, October 10, 2018
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
In the late 1920s a newly married couple moved into the husband’s old family home. It was a clapboard house with a hall down the middle. In the ’30s they decided to tear down the old house and build another to be their home for the rest of their lives.
When the house was done, the wife was dismayed. Many of the materials of the old house were re-used in their new house. They used old facings and doors, and many other pieces of the finishing lumber. Everywhere my grandmother looked, she saw that old house—old doors that wouldn’t shut properly, crown molding split and riddled with nail holes, unfinished window trimming. It was a source of grief to her. All her life she longed for a new house.
Contrast that with one of my favorite television shows from a few years back called Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I remember the story of Alice Harris of South Central Los Angeles. ABC Network producers volunteered to demolish her house. In 2003, a flood had left the community activist and her family, who had no insurance, living in one bedroom. Worst of all, the waters had ruined a stash of Christmas toys Harris had collected for poor children. Harris said, “I figured no one was going to come to Watts and help us. No one had ever done that.”
But Extreme Makeover: Home Edition found her. Its bullhorn-wielding host, Ty Pennington, shipped Harris and her family off for a week’s vacation in Carlsbad, California, while over one hundred workers and neighbors tore her home down to the foundation and built a new, bigger one. They replaced the Christmas toys and donated appliances, mattresses, and landscaping to her flood-stricken neighbors. They even threw in a basketball court for the neighborhood kids.
On the one hand, we have a rebuilt home that used old materials, while on the other we have a rebuilt home that is completely new. One house represents religion’s attempts to restore mankind. One house represents God’s restoration plan. Religion attempts to put old materials into a new context. God destroys the old and makes ALL things new.
The extreme home makeovers on tv all had something in common: an outsider comes in with a plan. First, that outsider sees the possibilities you couldn’t see. Second, that outsider does what you couldn’t do. Third, that outsider pays for what you could not afford to pay.
With much more perfection, that’s what God did for us. Life – our house – was in shambles because of sin. No amount of renovation could make it livable for long. But God saw what was possible if all the old was removed. He sent Jesus to remove the building materials of sin, and they were destroyed in His body on the cross. Jesus was then raised completely and eternally new. The old was gone. The new had come.
All of that is possible in our lives right now. The old can be put to death by faith in Jesus Christ. Life can be completely and eternally new. But each one of us must do what every person on the tv show had to do – be willing to let the old be destroyed. When we agree to that, God makes us a new creation in Christ Jesus. No more longing for a new house based on reminders of the old one. Everything is forgiven and gone. Everything is new, and better than we could have ever imagined.
Go ahead – open the door.