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So What’s New?

The marketers of Nikon technology have done what clever advertisers often do. Whether intentionally or not, they have found a way of using words to tap into a  spirituality that is much greater than the product being sold.

I found this example of I AM changing everything” on a Singapore billboard.

Readers of the Bible may find an echo here. The New Testament declares that God himself has begun the process of making all things new.

Yet the Apostle Paul seems to push the envelope even further. In his second letter to the Corinthians he says that, for anyone “in Christ,” all things are already new (2Cor 5:17). But if this is so, then why do those who have trusted him keep making the same old mistakes over and over (Rom 7:18-19)? Could Paul be overselling his message? In what sense are all things new for a follower of Christ?

Is there an unspoken but obvious elephant in the idea here?

(Painted elephants similar to these can be seen around Singapore as part of a Christmas season art contest combined with a “save the elephants” campaign.)

One well known commentary explains that if a person is a genuine Christian… “He was before full of pride and wrath; he is now meek and humble.” Another says, “All things have become new. The affections, the motives, the thoughts, the hopes, the whole life.”

But if such words accurately reflect the meaning of 2Cor 5:17, then what do we do with Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians? In that letter he begins by indicating that he is writing to people who are “in Christ” (1Cor 1:2) even though, in many ways, their lives remain unchanged.

By Paul’s own admission those who are in Christ are caught up in contentions and divisions among themselves (1Cor 1:11-12). Their strife, envy, and divisions were lingering evidence of unchanged flesh (1Cor 3:3). They accepted sexual behavior among themselves that would have been considered scandalous even by pagans (1Cor 5:1). Showing their inability to settle matters as brothers and sisters they were taking one another to court in full view of the community they were trying to reach (1Cor 6:6).

This was just the beginning. Paul went on to say that these people were acting so badly toward one another that when they met together as the people of God it was not for the better but for the worse (1Cor 11:17).

The new that Paul called for in chapter 13 was being pre-empted by the old (1Cor 13:1-7).

So how do we explain then Paul’s words in his second letter that “in Christ”  “all things become new.”

Seems to me that one clue is found in the words that Paul writes just prior to verse 17. In verse 16 he indicates that he’s talking about a way of seeing that is “not according to the flesh” (2Cor 5:16). In other words this perspective cannot be seen clearly with our normal vision.

Paul’s implication seems to be that, even if our behavior is to the contrary (i.e. even if we are acting like “mere flesh” (1Cor 3:3), any one who is “in Christ” does have a new identity, new beginning, new future, and new relationship with God that puts everything—even bad, inconsistent behavior—in a whole new light.

The result is that, anyone “in Christ” is far more, eternally more, than what their present actions and attitudes may suggest.

The point is not that it therefore doesn’t matter whether we are marked by new behavior, motives, attitudes, and ways of relating to one another. Rather the point is that in God’s eyes, anyone who is truly “in Christ” is “a work in progress…” and has every reason to be dissatisfied with anything that is merely business as usual…

If you’re still with me, would like to hear what thoughts this brings to mind. Have you noticed the way culture uses allusions to spirituality in an effort to touch something deep in us? What about Paul’s words that “in Christ” old things are passed away, and that all things have become new? Could he also be suggesting that being “in Christ” may have a practical/functional meaning as well as a “positional” in-Christ meaning?

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53 Responses to “So What’s New?”

  1. poohpity says:

    I have been crying all night and into today because of the remorse I feel for my behavior lately. Before Christ, I would have tried to justify or blame my behavior on someone else. Now I know it is only me that speaks or types the words I do and I am so in the wrong.

    I am so sad for the hurt I have caused you, Steve and Gary, davids or anyone else. I know that everyone wants to feel important and wanted, that includes me but I have challenged the things that have been said in an effort to prick your pride and have found that it was me who ended up being prideful. Please forgive me. The Lord has so convicted me and I am so sorry.

    It would be so nice to have a gentle spirit like so many on here to convey messages to encourage, uplift and spur on to good works but instead I have caused anger, hatred and malice. Please find it in your hearts to forgive me.

  2. davids says:

    Yes, believers are born again, they are new men/women. But even in other things people mature at different rates. Some people mature emotionaly at a young age, while others take a long time.

    Becoming in Christ does not automatically make one instantly mature spiritually. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, Paul talks about spiritual milk for those that are not yet ready for solid milk. He did not say that they were not in Christ, merely that they were still spiritual infants. But then we are all “works in progress”.

  3. davids says:

    Pooh, we all get out of joint sometimes. No hard feelings!

    Blessings, David

  4. poohpity says:

    Thank you David, love Deborah

  5. Cameron says:

    Often secular music lyrics are from scripture that rings true within us. It strikes that chord in our hearts with a connection that we long for. Most times, it is in a love song and the words are like those of worship and the need for a saviour!

  6. SFDBWV says:

    Pooh you have asked many times for forgiveness from me and each and every time it is my pleasure to do so. Only you know if it is sincere and if it is life changing.

    Personally speaking I do not speak here in order to feel important and never have. I have enough notoriety in my life to know what price comes when others feel that somehow another person is more important than someone else.

    Please believe me here in my life I would much rather be left alone to care for my son and family rather than be responsible for an entire municipality, but it is a chore apparent to me that God has lain on my shoulders to do, so as a part of the cross I bear, I bear it to the best of my abilities partnered with Christ in order to do so.

    I can give an opinion concerning the many subjects Mart brings up, but they become just that an opinion. I try and share my life with everyone who reads the blog so that they can see the hand of God upon our lives as well as the struggles we have waiting on God’s deliverance and the outright miracles He has provided us with as well as the disappointments we feel, all part of living life as a Christian..

    This is not to be seen as important but rather an honest and open life story of a Christian family and our struggles all the while exposing Christ in our daily walk.

    Often I am led to write and when led to do so it feels right and comes out right, others are blessed and I as well. This is my goal in participating here to pass along good feelings and blessings.

    It isn’t very often that I have to be harsh toward another, too often I am pushed into that corner and would rather ignore the urging to do so, but then sometimes God speaks to others through just such an encounter.

    I admit I like hearing the kind remarks made toward me, and try and do the same for others, it is important to encourage and uplift each other, it is not about pride but rather about being kind to one another.

    I do so appreciate all of you and the kindness you have shown me and my family, it is agape love and I hope I reciprocate that same love back to you all.

    All for the glory of God and our Savior Christ, whom we all try to uplift as a beacon for us all.

    Has my acceptance of Christ changed me? I would wonder what kind of person I would be without Christ. All to often the *other* me is always waiting in the back ground for me to stumble or be tempted into following his advice rather than Christ’s. Like a cartoon where the devil sets on one shoulder and an angel the other, waiting for me to make a decision.

    Without Christ I would not be struggling with decisions just following that one voice.

    I apologize for not centering on the topic, I will return to it later, but felt I needed to respond to poohs plea for forgiveness and her need to be forgiven.

    I hope Deborah that you know you are.


  7. remarutho says:

    When our hearts, minds and bodies are “in Christ,” (2 Corinthians 5:17) then the brilliant, perhaps dazzling images in the store windows (in Singapore, New York or Paris) do not excite us. We “waltz to a different tune.” In fact, Paul argues for the life of faith so radical that we are to “set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

    Mart, you asked:
    “Could he also be suggesting that being ‘in Christ’ may have a practical/functional meaning as well as a ‘positional’ in-Christ meaning?”

    Our position is in the resurrection with Christ. This is seen in our habits of purchase and consumption. I am not saying we must look like Puritans of the 17th century! Still, there will necessarily be a discerning edge in Christian marketplace behavior.

    It may be the Nikon ad that plays upon Isaiah’s thrilling prophecy of the Lord making “a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19) will have an effect the advertising folks have not predicted. Believers who see the ad that says “I AM changing everything” will identify *I AM * as the name of the living God. I pray the marketing team hired by Nikon will experience the mercy of the God they have named! Paul wrote to the Galatians:

    “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh, but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.” (Galatians 6:7-8) Blessings, Maru

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh…I do not believe we are off topic when responding to each others, our brothers and sisters in Christ, their heartfelt concerns. I forgive you, any trespass you have given my way. Thank you, for helping me with one of the issues involved in forgiveness.
    One of mine that liners still, I’ll post here as a question for all my brothers and sisters.
    It is this… I find, even how we choose to accept forgiveness, becomes a lifelong stress test for many. For if we believe we already have it, through our eternal salvation, than why do we suffer to continue to ask for that which we already have?
    Why would God teach us to pray daily and give us a prayer asking to not be led into temptation, and to be forgiven, if we have already been forgiven our trespasses? Just a thought!
    Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV, NIV, speaks to me loudly, and with its rough edges, is also meant to save us?
    As I ponder its answer for myself, so comes the conflict of many modern beliefs now being taught. I believe, Christ would know the better way, and through his teaching us that way, I choose to follow His teaching instead. “Forgive me Lord, for I have been told, by those who choose differently, that I do not understand your word because of my beliefs in salvation.
    I speak only for you Lord, but what is heard, are my self inflicted opinions, which I attempt to render here through my humanity.” In His Love, Gary

  9. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart, So what’s new? Like the Nikon add… I would have to say, the lense we choose to look through now, is what is new. The more the Lord polishes us, just like the lense of a camera, do we see more clearly. Gary

  10. oneg2dblu says:

    Lense, could be a new word I’ve mistakenly created, which to me now looks more like cleanse. So, perhaps it may not be an accident.

  11. oneg2dblu says:

    To all …I love my brother Steve as the brother in Christ WE ALL do, and I forgive him his trespass. In the love Christ has given us, do I speak collectively, and for myself. Gary

  12. poohpity says:

    For Gary, from Jesus Romans 4:1-5:11

    I think the new is that now as a believer I am alert to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Before I accepted Christ I sought everyday to do that which pleased me, make me happy, did things for people for the recognition, obtained things to bring joy, tried to fill a void in my life through sex, comfort and well being through drugs and alcohol and loneliness by having people around all the time. Now it is as if I yearn to hear His voice daily, to live my life with a desire to know more about Him. Not that I do things perfectly but is my life the same today as it was a month ago or even a year ago, no it is a change. Sometimes I take two steps forward and one step back but now I am still a step ahead. The old life was one step ahead and two steps back no matter how much I tried but inside there was no growth, maturity or a sense of belonging to anyone or anything and now I know I belong to Jesus.

    I am no more perfect now than I was then but now I belong to someone who never gives up on me, always has my best in mind, forgives without shame, and has put new desires in my heart for Him, a longing that nothing else can satisfy but the Living God. So what is new? My desire for God and that is sure not what I desired before.

  13. yooperjack says:

    Being we are: a spirit, with a soul (mind, emotion and will) living in a corruptible body; when we got saved our bodies didn’t change, our minds need renewing so it had to be our spirit man that has become brand new. We can’t see our spirit with our five senses so we have to go to the manual to find out about our spirit. “Wow” when you find out because of our renewed spirit we are heirs and joint heirs to the throne of God. I won’t go into all the blessings being heirs of God gives us you can read it for your self.
    Your spirit is perfect in Gods eyes but we will need to renew our minds and crucify that flesh. It does get easier with time.
    Pooh: Stop beating your self up. You just got caught up in a stupid argument. As I said before “I can not change anyone, not even my self.” Only God can change lives.
    Rocky: thanks for directing me to pasteing from MSW.

  14. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… thanks for sharing those verses. Gary

  15. foreverblessed says:

    The verse Mart gave
    2 Corinthians 5:16
    From now on we no longer regard anyone in the old way.
    It took a while before I saw it: it says: no one.
    I always assumes it was talking about fellow christians.
    No one, not fellow christians, or anyone else.
    Well that is something!
    This is only possible when my way of looking is changed,
    so changed as Jesus looks at us humans, believers and non believers.
    And the more difficult a person is, the more difficult it is to look with a new heart: (I am talking about people who live around me) So I pray, Jesus fill me with your love, I of myself do not have it.
    With the last topic, some people have asked for prayers: sonchild2, november 30, 2011,11:10 pm
    And Steve asked a prayer for Amy at the end of the topic.
    You have my prayers.
    There are lots of people who need the love from Jesus, and our prayers, lets focus on the mind and heart of Jesus that our eyes may see as He sees, and pray for each other.
    God bless you Pooh, for being so brave to write what you wrote! God bless all of you: believers and non believers.

  16. poohpity says:

    That is so true foreverblessed, I do not look at others in the same way I did before I was saved. I look at them with a different sense of their worth according to what God says, they are of value to the God who created all people whether believers or not. I guess we look at all things in a different manner nature, finances, sex, love and yes even our enemies. I think the biggest thing I look at in a different way is our God from the way I viewed Him before I was saved.

  17. yooperjack says:

    foreverblessed: You are right on, when your spirit being is in agreement with the Holy Spirit, everything in your life will be new, you will see little things happen every day that will amaze you and you will say: “Thank you Lord.” After a while it will become natural. We serve an awsome God.

  18. bill34sl says:

    Jesus Christ died on the cross not to change man from bad to good. He did it so as to make salvation available to all mankind because we are all bound to die. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).
    Since God knew that it is impossible for us to save ourselves, He devised a Great Fix. His Son had to be a sacrifice for the entire human race that whosoever believes in Him as his or her personal savior shall not perish, but have eternal life. Once a person becomes a true Christian, the old sinful self dies on the cross with Christ, so that this same person becomes a new creation. Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to him or her by the Holy Spirit. This person’s perspective and priorities in life changed. However, this doesn’t mean the sinful nature is gone. Far from it. As long as we are still alive in flesh and blood, our sinful nature stays. But Mart is right, to God, Christians are new creations. He simply sees it that way. It’s like we’ve just put on a “spiritual costume” that resembles Jesus Christ. That’s how God sees us – in a “spiritual costume” that mirrors His Son in all His righteousness. The carnal personality with its wicked inclinations is hidden. That’s why we appear to Him like a new creation. When the carnal body inside dies, God in due time will replace it with a glorified body – without sin nature – with the same attributes as the glorified body of the risen Christ our Lord. Mart, is again right to say that Christianity is a work in progress (2 Tim. 3:14), a lifelong process that eventually transports into eternity. Meanwhile, the carnal nature in every Christian manifests itself from time to time. This is why the churches founded by the Apostle Paul was caught in contentions and divisions among themselves. But we must also understand that not all those who gather into a church are genuine believers. Just because the church is open to everyone, pretenders can sneak in. That’s why Paul asked the elders to disfellow anyone in the church who practices immorality. If that fellow repents, then they should embrace him back. Remember the Seven Churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3 were described as having faults and weaknesses. Finally, as Mart said: “The result is that, ‘anyone in Christ’ is far more, eternally more, than what their present actions and attitudes may suggest”.

  19. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well with you. Been away for awhile but glad to have a few minutes to read some of Mart’s into comment (wish I had time to read your comments too). Interesting intro comment, Mart. Haven’t read it all, but will be able to read more this weekend (that’s my goal. at least).

    Love to all,

  20. SFDBWV says:

    Three times I have sat and began a comment to this subject; three times the Holy Spirit has said to remain silent.

    I would have to say that Bill34sl has said much of what I would have to say on the matter and I could only say many of the same things in my own way.

    We had a beautiful snow event Wednesday thru Thursday; it was one of those snows that clung to every limb and wire and blade of grass. Only 6 inches but beautifully coating every branch every bush every thing that the wet heavy snow stuck and froze to.

    The odd matter being that all day yesterday nothing changed and even this morning it is still as it was yesterday morning.

    There being no wind and the sun not warming things up at all (11 degrees this morning) the sunlight we had yesterday had no effect.

    It is one of those times when everything even life seems frozen in time with no sounds nor movements.

    I have been noticing a phenomenon of nature this morning; there is no wind but as the sun rises on the wires coated with inches of frozen snow they are vibrating and dancing, without there being any wind present at all. Apparently effected solely by the energy of the sunlight.

    I feel the same, starting out covered with the blood of Christ, God overlooks my sins and shortcomings, but the presence of His energy causes me to react in contrast to the normal nature of events around me and may still be present in me.

    I act differently than expected.

    The changes in me are made apparent when the circumstance of life present themselves as troubles and confrontations and struggles placed against life and living in this world.

    There are also good and wonderful circumstances that occur in my life that I can now attribute to God as kindnesses and blessings He has presented as well, this too can be seen as a change in me.

    I can simply Thank God.

    Is this all because Christ has changed me, or because I have matured over time? Or is it because Christ has matured me over time? Molded me and shaped me through the many circumstances life has presented? Does it really matter which is which?

    In the end I will be presented guiltless because of the blood of Christ, but will have either allowed Him to work His good work in me or resisted it and fell short of all He had held for me as rewards and treasures in eternity.
    Only through a complete surrender of my rebellious nature am I able to diminish so that He may grow in me and I in Him. Then and only then can I hope to change and begin the journey of changing into the man He wants me to be. Indeed a lifelong work in progress.

    Some lives being longer and some shorter, God only knowing when we are ready.


  21. oneg2dblu says:

    Goodmorning All…As we continue our discussion on topic, the words, “in Christ” are highlighted to me.
    As we each define for ourselves what it means, to us.
    To me, I see being “in Christ” as a present tense, a moment of choice. You either are, or you are not, and you choose your moment yourself.
    According to the words of Christ, He alone says, “Away from me you evildoers.” Were those he cast out, also in Christ at the time of their evil doing, or does doing evil have no bearing on being in Christ?
    Just a thought…
    To me,when you are busy in your evil doing, you are not also found to be in Christ. You have moved youself, mind, body and spirit, away, and are then held captured by another spirit, the one of your evil doing.
    If not, than what does living a life in righteousness that honors God, really look like? Was the theif on the cross practicing his form of doing evil that put him there, or was he “in Christ” only in that moment of his remembering? Although, he was obviously currently held physically captive to the law of the Roman World for which he was impelled, he was found free by Christ, in his Moment of Remembering. He was not in his wiles of his evil doing. At those moments, he was captive to his evil desires, and his spirit was to me at that time, also dead!
    But, I could be wrong, perhaps he was saved before he got on that cross! That is the choice you have to make for yourself, for who are you really, other than what you choose to believe. In the Faith I now possess, I am free in this moment of choice, but very captive to my sin, if I choose differently. Then, I am free to act with my mind, body and spirit, as an evildoer! Only by my current fruit, do I define my current moments. Galations 5:16-26 speaks to me of what moments we can each choose for ourselves to live, and with our mind, body and spirit, choose one that leads us to death. If you think the words of God are only written in Red, think again, for every word written in the Holy Bible is really His!
    Even the one you do not want to choose to believe!
    I read somewhere we are saved by grace to do good works!A search of the word “good” may shed some light on that which I am speaking, as it leads to many verses.
    In Christ, Gary

  22. bratimus says:

    When Paul writes “anyone in Christ or Those that are in Christ.” To me it seems that Paul is drawing a line of seperation between members or people.

  23. poohpity says:

    Those power line vibrations are from the electricity passing through them. That made me reflect on “Christ in us” when He is in us it is His power that makes us think and act in different ways like the electricity that passes through those lines. To me things are new because we have a different perspective and everything looks new because we see it through the power of God and seeing the hand of God takes a relationship with Him, knowing Him and understanding His ways. Like those lines conduct electricity but when a bird sits on them and does not touch the ground they remain unharmed but if they were to touch the ground while touching the lines, they would get fried. If we were not connected to this body we would be as a bird sitting on those lines.

  24. yooperjack says:

    I always like to use these analogies of the power of God; it’s like the electricity that is running through our homes. It’s invisible but we know it’s there it can do many wonderful things to make our livies better but how do we tap into it? It’s simpler than you may think; you flip the switch. The switch to turn on Gods power is “faith” believe without doubting is the answer, no magic, miracles or begging necessary. Just ask in the name of Jesus and believe in your heart that your prayers are answered and your lights will turn on. The power company supplies the electricity but we have to flip the switch. God gives us an abundance of power but we have to use our faith and speak to those mountains in the name of Jesus.

  25. oneg2dblu says:

    good points all, i do get the whole electric concept like an unseen power charging us up or when we turn the switch on, on comes the light. anytime we see the light it is evidence that there is a power source connected to it. when we burn, or illuminate for him we are connected, and his power shines through us. but my background working with electric circuits also tells me, we must always test before we touch, remember this force is unseen, we must test for its condition to know if the power is present or absent. that would certainly apply to any spirit we encounter. goose bumps alone are not evidence, they are the birds on the wire, we must look beyond the obvious or the glitter, and then you find the real source. man has always found something he needs to worship, and what that is makes all the difference. are we just people who worship something, or members of one body? good point bratimus :)

  26. yooperjack says:

    I’ve got my tester right here on my end table, it’s called a Bible. And if that’s not handy, my helper will let me know if there is an unclean spirit trying to lead me down the wrong path. We can’t loose.

  27. davids says:

    Mart, I hope that your travels are going well, and that it has been a joy to work with the people in that part of the world.

    I would like to pick up on the idea, “Have you noticed the way culture uses allusions to spirituality in an effort to touch something deep in us?” What I am writing is not biblically based, and so not a statement of faith, merely my observations.

    There are symbolic and cultural indications that God has burned into our beings some common needs: The yearning for salvation – for oneness with God – and a thirst for a morality that is beyond our own personal benefit. It is this that drives us to seek God, and has led many of us that were lost into his salvation.

    But many have used these natural impulses to their own ends. In older times they used them to pull people into false religions. Today, they are often used to pull people toward commercial and political goals. These are all idols, when they lead people away from the God of Creation and his will.

  28. bratimus says:

    Since God is the God of creation, there will be alot of moments that things said and done that will reveal God or aliegn with God, because God is in creation.

    Now when in come to advertiesing, intention can be very supisious in how they draw you in, look how commercialized Christmas has become.

  29. yooperjack says:

    Davids: Are you writing about Acts 2:14-21? Every good thing God has given us, the enemy has a conterfit.

  30. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart and Friends!
    Davids, what you wrote is Scriptural:

    “…God has burned into our beings some common needs: The yearning for salvation – for oneness with God – and a thirst for a morality that is beyond our own personal benefit.”

    The prophet Isaiah sang this song: “My soul yearns for you (God) in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9)

    The psalm writer says: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2))

    I am with you on some attempting to twist the “eternal thirst” and “godly yearning” in our hearts. Can that remaining God-image be misused for gain or even wicked purposes? I am not sure it can be misused for long. The prospects for those who “presume on the riches of his (God’s) kindness and forbearance and patience” are not good. (Romans 2:4) Christmas advertising brings no glory to the Prince of Peace, in my opinion. Blessings,

  31. sonchild2 says:

    While we as Christians see ‘I AM’ as part of His Name I AM THAT I AM which God reveals to Moses, I wonder if perhaps in advertising those two words stand for Nikon being ‘Supreme’, #1 and declaring itself to be able to ‘change everything.’

    Just thoughts that came to mind…..

  32. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes, putting in writing I AM in any context to represent something, could be very pride filled, or completely true!
    Two people say I am this person, which one do you consider is not telling what he feels in his heart to be true? As both profess the ultimate possession, I AM!
    Suppose a competitor wanting to prove their camera superior, also claims “I Am!” Then what? Must it be a first come first serve basis for us to believe?
    It must become more than just words to prove it.
    It must show itself to be what it claims!
    In the old law you had to have a witness to justify your claim; today we need a body of evidence, or an eye witness.
    If I say, “I am Gary and I can prove it by what I can show you.” Then, you won’t need faith to believe me, you will have another’s written proof, unless someone living can come forward standing as my witness, saying I am who I say I am. But who decides?
    We take the bible to court here, one witness shows us we have eternal salvation, the other shows us that certain people who have also claimed it, do not have it and will not enter the kingdom, because both have a witnesses stand in writing, to prove their case, and both are holding the very same evidence, the Holy Bible!
    Do we use the volume of evidence, every word written as written for a purpose, or do we dismiss half of it, to prove who I am?
    I think in all honesty, we need to let the Judge do what he alone has the authority to do. Judge us by our heart’s conviction and our actions. I believe that his decision will honestly stand for us. If, Revelation 20:11-15, speaks of two books being used for judgment, why do some of us choose only one, is that not becoming a judge yourself?
    I say from the entire body of evidence we have in our hands that both our convictions and our actions, after we claim we have received our initial salvation, will be judged accordingly. But, we all read what you choose to read, and that is to me… “So What’s New?” Gary

  33. poohpity says:

    You are right Gary, what we do after we are saved shows a lot about how much we treasure our salvation. After we are saved it shows God how thankful we are by telling others about the Gospel. Romans 10:9-10.

    Even if Nikon uses that phrase to push it’s own products we as believers when we see those words we see it in a different light and it causes us if in that moment alone to reflect on the great “I AM”. I think God can and will use whatever comes to us in the day to think about Him. If we do not start with the Word everyday God will get our attention during the activities for us just to say a “hello” or an “I love you” or a “Thank you” to our lord if we are opening to listening for Him.

    Who knows maybe God put it on the advertisers of Nokia to use that phrase. Romans 11:33-36 NLT

  34. poohpity says:

    I meant Nikon not Nokia, LOL.

  35. foreverblessed says:

    To become new in Christ it is necessary to be fully convinced in our minds how old our old self is.
    The apostle Peter became very useful to God, after he had really failed in denying Jesus 3 times, the apostle Paul was a fierce antagonist of Jesus, harassing christians. Jesus used people that were real failures, and they knew it.
    “Each had first to learn to know Jesus as Savior and Lord by a bitter consciousness of having failed Him.”
    Maybe many of us christians do not yet know how much we have failed Him, to know how much He is our Saviour, realising we are nothing without Him. We think we can do it ourselves when reading the bible and following God’s principles we are OK, while our whole being our sitting and our standing is in connection with our Maker.
    A real mistake, failure thus becomes a real treasure, we are now totally dependent on our Saviour in our lives.
    (this is to be read in God at eventide, December 10, by twolisteners. You can find it on internet when searching with these words.)

  36. poohpity says:

    It seems foreverblessed that for any of us to come to a point when we know we do not know it all, that we will always have mistakes and failures to deal with, that seems to be the kind of spirit God pays attention to. David wrote about that in Psalms 51:16-17 NLT. I think that is what stops those who are filled with pride and self importance from dependency on God. The old person took glory for themselves in the things they do but the new really understand who we each are at the foot of the Cross and that keeps us from looking at others and their faults and failures.

  37. davids says:

    Thanks, Maru and yooperjack, for doing the legwork on this that I neglected.

    The passage that was running through my mind at the time was in Acts when Paul sets about explaining their worship to an unknown god.

    Wouldn’t it be great if instead of deriding people for worshiping false idols; we could say, like Paul, “Hey, you’ve been looking for all this, but you’ve just been looking in the wrong place!”

  38. davids says:

    I guess that again I should have been more specific, Acts 17:23.

  39. SFDBWV says:

    When I was a child I looked to God to help me in every disastrous situation I found myself in. I ran first to Him in what seemed to me at the time to be the most desperate and immediate need of rescue.

    When I think of being a child I can still remember whether dreams or actual memory of looking skyward and feeling homesick.

    As I looked heavenward with my eyes and heart on a yearning for something familiar and comforting behind me was the din and ruckus of life distracting me from that strangely familiar comfort.

    It would seem that in my nature was innocence, but that life began to place other matters in my head and on my heart that were to be pretenders to fill my longing for complete comfort and contentment.

    I still can remember how safe and content I felt in my mothers arms or no my fathers lap, and how content I was. All too temporary.

    When I was a child, I knew of God and of Jesus and depended on them, believed on them and took their existence and place in my life as a matter of fact.

    When I was about 13 or so I had a dream that I still remember to this day and often recount to others; in this dream I was with a group of other people walking up a mountain, not just any mountain but the one I now live atop. As we walked along the pathway it was strewn with boulders and bushes and was difficult to traverse. There were obstacles in my way and it was pitch dark except of a little light to shine our way along. Like a kerosene lamp would light, but above me the sky was inky black.

    As I looked up into the inky blackness of the sky above us I could hear the sounds of whooshing like the wings of a huge bird, whoosh, whoosh back and forth over my head.

    There was an old bearded man leading us up the slope and I stopped for a moment and ask him what those sounds I kept hearing were?

    He said to me that those were the sounds of angels going back and forth from the throne of God to the earth.

    Right away I said hey I want wings too so I can fly up this mountain and not have to walk, this way is tough and difficult I want an easier way to get there.

    Immediately a voice from above me, from above the inky darkness said “don’t worry Steve you’ll make it, but this is the way you have to go.”

    I have never forgotten this dream and never will. It is one of many such encounters that prepared me for the life I have and am living.

    Have I been changed since my acceptance of Christ? I must think more on this as I don’t remember ever having not accepted Him nor living without Him in my life. It seems even from before my birth and certainly in my youth Christ has always been there.

    09 degrees this morning, but we are safe and warm and hope all of you are as well.


  40. foreverblessed says:

    All is well with your soul, Steve, right in the center of Jesus’ attention.
    Thanks Pooh, the passage Psalm 51:17
    a broken man, woman, is what God is looking for!
    Not that we should strive for failure, but when we have failed, how deep our state is, as you were Pooh at the top of this topic, then you are there where God is, right at your side.
    When we have a broken spirit in front of Jesus, depending on His life, then we are there where we ought to be, all is well, our soul can say! That is the place where God likes us, even if we are not perfect, and as many have said here, nor will we ever be in this life, bur we are in Him, Christ in you, and we are in the center of God’s universe. All is well.

    Davids, about your mentioning Acts 17:23, lately I heard a pastor talking about christians being so stressful about the New Age, (I know I have been like that). When there is a New Age market, or congres, christians would stand outside and hand out flyers to warn for occultism. But a few young teenage christians went into the hall, hired a table, and had a sign: For a prayer for healing in Jesus name. There was a very sick lady, who had been to all other tables for healing, nothing happened, then at last she thought, why not try this table of Jesus, the youngsters prayed for her, and she was healed, which brought quite some excitement in the hall!
    You have tried many gods, why not go to Jesus- the big I AM, the Way the Life and the Truth.

  41. yooperjack says:

    I found out we have to watch what comes out of our mouth. We will speak life or we will speak death to our self and yes to others. We cannot sin without first thinking about it. If I get an evil thought from my own lust, or the old man pops up now and then or the devil whispers in my ear. I simply say go away evil thought, if it keeps coming back I start praising the Lord out loud and no devil, demon or any other unclean spirits can stand it and will leave. If things get really bad bring out the big guns start speaking scripture at them. They will leave trust me, the more you do this the less you will be bothered. If you get sick or have a bad day be on guard for an attact.
    Just remember who you are in Christ, your sins are forgiven, get over it stop beating your mind to death with your past and move on, read the end of the book: “We win”. This is just wisdom from the school of hard knocks it’s not intended for any one person at this blog.

  42. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well with you. :) Awesome testimony and godly wisdom shared, Steve & yooperjack! Thanks for sharing, and “Thank you” to all who shared on this blog topic.

  43. Regina says:

    Mart asked, “Could he also be suggesting that being “in Christ” may have a practical/functional meaning as well as a “positional” in-Christ meaning?”

    I think Paul was definitely trying to convey that Christianity is just as much “practical/functional” as it is spiritual. As Christians, we become fishers of men. Jesus wants us to share His gospel (the good news) in a practical, *down-to-earth* way with people who’ve never heard it because we may be the only “church” that some people will ever experience. He compels us to share the “good news” with others in the same way that it was made alive to us. Thinking about how we’re called to be “living epistles” read of men.

  44. SFDBWV says:

    I have given this subject a great deal of thought and wonder more about the concept of “new”.

    Many times Mart’s subjects have us look at the difference of events and cultures that existed 2000 years ago within the peoples that Paul taught and lived with. Many times we disagree about whether some of the restrictions have a modern connection or not.

    It occurs to me that Paul was bringing the religion we know of as Christianity to pagan and people completely alien to the concept of who God is and the entire fullness of the scripture we all have heard all of our lives.I am wondering if this is different then from today?

    So nearly all of the people, except for many of the Jews that he preached to, had little or no idea or the life changing revelation Paul was revealing to them.I am wondering if this is different today?

    Once they accepted what Paul had preached and the Holy Spirit entered their being they became completely new and certainly different in their actions and attitude contrary to the culture they were raised up in.I am wondering if this also is different from today?

    Is todays culture somewhat different? As Mart alluded to our culture mediums have taken spiritual familiarities and woven them into a culture of worldly living and we have become glutted with religions from every corner of the world and all the false teachings they produce. This also happened to some of the first churches, whereas Jews attempted to indoctrinate the new gentile believers into following the laws of Moses.As well as the infusion of old pegan religious habits into Christian worship.

    Truth came under attack right away.

    Amazing as it seems to some of us, many people today have become disillusioned with Christianity and go looking into other religions for “enlightenment”. I would have to say the same occured over and over these past 2000 years.

    Truth is still under attack.

    So in the societies we now live in, modern day disciples have a difficult time finding people who have totally never heard the gospel, but rather have heard a twisted version of it and then somehow convince the listener that not all people who call themselves Christian are.

    Presenting the gospel becomes a contest in competition with other disciples of various views of the same message…..very confusing to many.

    So what is new?

    People who have the Holy Spirit in them produce the fruits of the Spirit; those who have the spirit of the world produce the fruits of this world. That is the new found in anyone who is in Christ. They produce the spiritual fruits of Christ not the actions of the world. Galatians 5: 14-26

    Just some thoughts on the subject; 08 degrees this morning and the snow is going nowhere. Blessings to all.


  45. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart, to bring your commentary down to fewer words,
    “Anyone who is “in Christ” has every reason to be dissatisfied with anything that is merely business as usual.” Thank you for your understanding of my given, and loving position, which is all about having a great dissatisfaction with those who call themselves Christians, and who just go on living like the rest of the world! Who profess they walk in the light when they also look so worldly and darkened. My position is, it is very hard to see the fruit in the dark, as their claim is, they live by faith alone.
    I prefer how Hadden Robinson describes faith.
    “Just as thunder follows lightning, good works always follows true faith. We are saved by faith, but faith that saves is never alone.”
    That view I can stand behind with the “new thing” I have received by faith. Obedience to God’s Word, in the faith I now possess, is never a stand alone position!
    We must bear fruit, and only through the testing of our faith do we show the world around us our witness and our, “In Christ” position.
    “If nothing changes, nothing changes!” Gary

  46. Ted M. Gossard says:

    Great post! You took the words out of my mouth, Mart! I’m reading John Howard Yoder- nearly finished- “The Politics of Jesus.” I realize I need to work on this passage exegetically, the 2 Cor 5 passage. Yes, something is different and at work in the world through the new creation come in Christ.

  47. SFDBWV says:

    Having a little lunch while Matt is listening to a CD “The Blind Boy’s from Alabama” a country gospel group of old blind men, my eyes filled with tears listening to these faith filled men as they lift Christ up in song.

    Listening reminds me of my mother, and how she used to sing her favorite hymns while going about her routines around the house.

    Having my mother in mind today is no strange idea, though she has been gone in body from us these 30 years come April, she is always with me in my heart and spirit.

    A wonderful Christian woman who loved her family with sacrificial love, in my eye she stands in stark contrast to the many “mothers” I see in my goings and comings these days.

    Two mothers with problems have crossed my path in these past few weeks. One I have already asked prayer for. Since having met her I have offered her my friendship and help in what ever way I can. She is a confessing Christian, but has serious mental problems and now calls me almost daily crying because her boys aren’t with her.

    Family court has given custody of her two sons to her brother who lives far from here, in an attempt to keep them safe, from her manic depression and uncontrolled fits of anger directed at protecting them from the world.

    The other “mother” had her husband arrested for domestic issues and the hour her husband was taken to jail moved another man in with her and her 4 children, several months ago.

    The charges against her husband turned out to be false, but the husband stayed away and filed for divorce.

    Over the last several weeks the police have been called to her residence, each time in an attempt to have her boyfriend removed from the house by the “mother”, each time she changed her mind. Ultimately she approached me in an attempt to keep the city police away from her and her boyfriend, because the Family court had placed him under a court order to stay away from her and her children and she didn’t want to and wanted the police to stay away even from watching her house. I also offered her my friendship and help, but gave her advice she didn’t want to hear.

    Her mother and sister filed charges with the county in an attempt to have the children removed from the house and eventually sought my help in the matter of protecting the children.

    Wednesday the Family Court Judge ordered the children to be placed in the joint custody of their father and their grandmother, ordered the “mother” to undergo psychiatric evaluation and she is to have no contact with her boyfriend or else she will lose custody of her children permanently. She left the courtroom with her boyfriend.

    As for the first mother I presented you with, I feel very saddened for her, as she is seriously mentally ill and truly doesn’t see reality as the rest of us might. She tells me this time God is testing her with too much and don’t know if she can take another day and don’t know what else to do but pray.

    The other mother is of course not talking to me as she doesn’t want me to know what is going on in her relationship with her boyfriend. As I had already warned her if her behavior continued unaltered she would indeed lose custody of her children.

    I lift both of these unfortunate mothers up in prayer as one needs healing from the Author of life the other the life changing power of Jesus Christ.

    A little peek into my life.


  48. poohpity says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if non believers felt safe to share their struggles with Christians and not fear condemnation or judgment to know the mercy that we share in Christ Jesus. That we have the same type of sorrows in life and are not the best at all decisions but we do have safe place to go to bear our hearts and pains to the One who is open to listening and healing. I think the new created in us with the humble spirit displayed by the One we follow will help us be a very safe place to go just like Jesus is if we can set aside our former way of thinking.

  49. poohpity says:

    Steve, you have a unique position in your community being the Mayor, Judge and other offices you hold as well as being a Christian and that probably puts you in so many different places to determine which is the best thing to do for all parties as well as being example of Christ. I bet it is a hard job with a lot of responsibility for one person.

  50. davids says:

    Since I think we are probably near the end of this topic, I’ll plug for another part of RBC ministries. If you go to getmorestrength.org, you can search for Born Identity.

    Joe Stowell gives a wonderful 2-part sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:17, and being “in Christ.

  51. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Had a busy day today with work and chores, but thankful to be able to have some time to rest and rejuvenate. Sounds like there’s never a dull moment in your life, Steve. Don’t know how you manage to find time for yourself. It’s so sad that those women have not discovered that Jesus is willing to heal every broken place and every situation in their life (they’re blessed to have you for a friend as you’re praying for them). Their situation reminds me of a song:

    Jesus is the answer,
    for the world today,
    Above Him there’s no other,
    Jesus is the way.

    If you have some questions
    In the corners of your mind,
    Traces of discouragement,
    And peace you cannot find,
    Reflections of your past,
    Seem to face you everyday,
    But this one thing I do know,
    Jesus is the way.

    Jesus is the answer,
    for the world today,
    Above Him there’s no other,
    Jesus is the way.

    Again, thank you to all who’ve shared/commented on this blog topic. 52 degrees in my neck of the woods right now(47 degrees this morning).

    Love to all

  52. poohpity says:

    Thanks David. I listened to Joe Stowell’s message on being “in Christ”. It was very good thanks again for sharing.

  53. davids says:


    A bit late for a comment here, but I was reflecting on how we tend to differentiate between physical injury and other trauma. If someone gets cancer, we tend to think, “Pray to God, but see a doctor.”

    But when people have mental or emotional injuries, we tend to think, “Turn to Jesus, and you will be made whole.” I guess that in your responsibilities you realize that it is not that simple.

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