“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) 

Whenever you see the word “therefore” in the Bible, you should ask yourself the question, “What is it there for?”  “Therefore” links what is being said to what has been said. To best understand this passage, you have to read it in its context.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NIV) 

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) 

Most of us wouldn’t have any problem identifying what is meant by the old has gone in this passage.  We all have baggage we need to release – old habits, regrets and hurts we need to unload. That’s why the Gospel is such good news!  In Christ, we can say good riddance to them all!  Praise God!

But, that’s not all!  It’s not enough to simply let go of the past; God has a hope and a future for each of us in Christ, and He desires for us to flourish today! “The new has come.”  What does that mean?  I call it the great exchange!  We get to exchange our guilt for God’s grace!  We exchange our unrighteousness for His righteousness!  We exchange our bondage for His freedom, our death for His life, our darkness for His light, our sorrow for the fullness of His joy, and our poverty for His wealth!  All that the Father made available to Jesus is available to us in Christ!  The Bible says we are complete in Christ! Continue reading

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) 

You were made to flourish!  Jesus said He came to give us life – abundant life!  One translation of John 10:10 says “… more and better life than they ever dreamed of!”  Are you experiencing that kind of life? The life that Jesus came to offer you and me is nothing short of His own!  Without Christ, man is dysfunctional.  We were created to be inhabited by our Creator!  It’s only when we are in Christ that we can be made a new creation as our verse this week says.  What does that mean?  When Adam sinned, the life he forfeited was not just physical, but spiritual.  God told him that, in the day he ate of the forbidden fruit, he would die.  Although he would not physically die until years later, he died spiritually and hid from God.  Man has been hiding ever since. Continue reading

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

After a number of failed New Year’s resolutions, I’ve realized I need to do more than just turn over a new leaf. I need a new life! That’s the promise of this passage! The Life Application Bible helps us understand the mystery:

“Christians are brand-new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or re-educated – we are re-created (new creations), living in vital union with Christ.”

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

To be in Christ is for Christ to be in you. It’s a reciprocal relationship! There is no more secure place to be than in Christ. In Christ, you have forgiveness! In Christ, you have hope! In Christ, you have eternal life! In Christ, you have confidence that you have been made right with God! In Christ, you have the capacity for transformative power to change! Only in Christ can old sinful habits be replaced with new and righteous ones. Continue reading

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Yesterday, we began our second week of Forty Days to Flourish with a new verse for our meditation this week. As you read it, you’ll want to give emphasis to each word. Not only will that make it easier to memorize, but you will discover spiritual insights that will nourish your soul.

On Monday, we focused on the word “if” and discovered that the promise of this passage is determined by our own response. If we want a new beginning, we can have one. If we want to shed the weight of our past mistakes and failures and get a fresh start, it’s possible! And, if you think that’s good news, just wait – it gets even better! Continue reading

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

This was one of the first verses I memorized as a Christ follower when I began my journey of faith. It’s filled with hope and promise for a new beginning! You and I can begin again! We don’t have to remain as we are. This is the miracle of redemption! Redemption offers transformative power to become all that God wants us to be in Christ. Becoming a Christian is a decision followed by a process, and 2 Corinthians 5:17 describes that process of transformation. Continue reading

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) 

You’ve just completed your first week of meditation!  Well done!  If you’re just beginning, it’s not too late to benefit from the nutrition of feeding your soul with the truth of God’s Word!  You’ll begin to flourish in your faith as you do. Effective meditation means you read the verse, recite it out loud, remember it throughout the day and reflect it by making a connection between what you are going through and what the verse says.  Meditation enables you to engraft the truth of God’s Word into your heart so you can reap the benefits and flourish! Continue reading

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

Our Scripture meditation for this week focuses on what God has and has not given us. When you meditate on a passage you read it, recite it, remember it, and reflect on it throughout the day. By taking just one passage a week, we are giving God’s Word time to be engrafted within our souls. Whatever you nourish will flourish! Meditation on Scripture is nutrition for the soul.

As you’ve meditated on this passage for the past few days, did you give emphasis to the verb, “has”? It’s easy to overlook what may seem like an insignificant word when you’re memorizing a verse. But, the more you read and meditate on Scripture, you’ll discover that every word has significance, especially the verbs. In this case, the verb “has” describes an action that began in the past and continues in the present. The implication of Paul’s statement to Timothy is that he was struggling with fear and timidity in the present. He was a young pastor in a hostile culture. Both the Roman government and the Jewish religion would be opposed to claiming Jesus as the Messiah and King. Many of those who followed Christ in this first generation of the church came from diverse backgrounds and traditions as well as races. Jews and Gentiles found themselves worshiping together. The only Scripture available was the Old Testament and the letters Paul would write. As a young believer himself, Timothy was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother. His spiritual background was rooted in the faith of his mother and grandmother. Paul began to mentor Timothy and left him in Ephesus to pastor the church there. The task was daunting. He must have felt overwhelmed and afraid. Maybe you feel that way right now. You’re faced with an impossible task. You’re afraid you’ll fail. You don’t feel qualified. Hear the words as you read them in this passage. God has not given you that fear. He gave you the task, but the fear associated with it is not from God. What He has given you is the power, love and self-discipline needed to accomplish the task. The implication in the word has is that you possess those necessary qualities already! You don’t have to work them up or try to find them somewhere or, even, beg God to give them to you. He already has. When you thank Him for what He has given you, you are appropriating by faith what is yours. It’s like opening the present you’ve been given at Christmas and, then, using the gift.

Pause for a moment as you meditate on this passage and begin to thank God for the power, love and self-discipline He has given you for the purpose to which He calls you today.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

By now, some of you are already beginning to flourish as you meditate on our passage for this week.  If you’re just beginning the adventure, you, too, will begin to really thrive as you start meditating on the truth of God’s Word and stop listening to the lies of the enemy.  In our passage this week, we’re discovering that our fears don’t have to keep us from flourishing!  The truth is we all struggle with fear and timidity.  Some of you may have let your fears have the final word, and you find yourself just surviving when God desires that you thrive. Continue reading