Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Message of the Gospel: New Creation

I read numerous responses today reflecting on the suicidal death of Robin Williams, and at the end of it all was left with a sense of perplexed sadness. I believe the Bible teaches the core of our human problem is our will. Therefore, our choices supremely matter. But I also am aware that we can make repeated choices over a long period of time which groove our brains in ways that cripple us and make transformation/new creation difficult. While the passion of my life is to prevent such grooves, (as in proactive parenting that looks far ahead) I care about people in this condition. I realize the path to healing can be long and arduous. But where should our focus be? When are we coddling the will to its own destruction, and when are we picking up the pieces of a broken life, helping to bring about the needed healing, the remaking? It isn't always easy to know. 

While I don't fully understand/embrace N.T. Wright's perspective on every issue, I was encouraged this week after reading his book Simply Christian. (See quotes below.)

Father, as ever, we need Your help. Our heart's desire is to be agents of new creation in your Kingdom, but we must have Your wisdom.

When Jesus rose again God's whole new creation emerged from the tomb, introducing a new world full of new potential and possibility. Indeed, precisely because part of that new possibility is for human beings themselves to be revived and renewed, the resurrection of Jesus doesn't leave us as passive, helpless spectators. We find ourselves lifted up, set on our feet, given new breath in our lungs, and commissioned to go and make new creation happen in the world... 
Something has happened in and through Jesus as a result of which the world is a different place, a place where heaven and earth have joined forever. God's future has arrived in the present. Instead of mere echoes, we hear the voice itself: a voice which speaks of rescue from evil and death, and hence of new creation... 
The Spirit is given so that we ordinary mortals can become, in a measure, what Jesus himself was: part of God's future arriving in the present; a place where heaven and earth meet; the means of God's kingdom going ahead... 
One key element of living as a Christian is learning to live with the life, and by the rules, of God's future world, even as we are continuing to live within the present one (which Paul calls "the present evil age" and Jesus calls "this corrupt and sinful generation.")
Those who follow Jesus are called to live by the rules of the new world rather than the old one, and the old one won't like it. Although the life of heaven is designed to bring healing to the life of earth, the powers that presently run this earth have carved it up to their own advantage, and they resent any suggestion of a different way. 
2 Corinthians 5:17! Your own human self, your personality, your body, is being reclaimed, so that instead of being simply part of the old creation, a place of sorrow and injustice and ultimately the shame of death itself, you can be both part of the new creation in advance and someone through whom it begins to happen here and now.
~N.T. Wright, Simply Christian