16So 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. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! (2nd Corinthians 5: 16-19 NIVUK)
I have recently been reflecting on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
It was on 31st October 1517 that Martin Luther is alleged to have nailed his 95 theses to the doors of Wittenberg Cathedral: this moment is considered the starting point in the Reformation. I say “alleged” because it is some doubt as to the truth of this story; some consider it is a myth which was told many years after the fact.
Whether Martin Luther nailed anything to anything else is, however, irrelevant: what is relevant is that we live with the consequences of the Reformation today. Even our denomination owes its existence to the Reformation! One major theme of the Reformation was a desire for the Church to return to doing things God’s way. Over many centuries, the institution of the church had become corrupt: The Reformers reacted against this corruption, and desired to return to a more biblical expression of Church.
In a way, this mirrors our experience of faith in Christ, as Paul explain above: our old self (corrupt and sinful) is removed, and replaced by a new creation: one which free of sin, and therefore is considered right before God. We do not view this self from an earthly perspective because, while we live in this world, we will continue to live sinfully, no matter how hard we try. Instead, we view this from a heavenly perspective: while we are waiting for God to fully put our world right, we are confident that because of Jesus, He already sees us as sin-free, holy and blameless in His sight.
Where does this leave us in the Church today?
I think it gives us this challenge: do we actively share this message with our community, parish and world? Through our words and deeds, do the people around us know that we are already a new creation in Christ, and that they can be too if they believe in Him?
I hope and pray that, as we move forward together, into my second year as minister of Clincarthill Church, that we will all ensure that we live and share this message with our world; that through Christ, we are a new creation. The old is gone, the new is here!
May God bless you,