If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Two men attending a convention committed every transgression they could. Traveling to the airport, a sinfully sacrilegious idea came to one of them: Why not top off the trip with a shockingly scandalous bit of irreverence? “I dare you to go into the first church we come to and confess everything you did last night. I’ll bet $100 you can’t do it,” he challenged. His companion accepted by saying, “Sounds like easy money to me.”
The first church they came to was Catholic. The man found the priest and began, “Father, forgive me for I have sinned.” In graphic detail, he told of his escapades. The perceptive priest, discerning the man’s insincerity, replied, “My friend, I give you a simple penance. Go to the front of the church, kneel before the statue of Jesus, look into the Savior’s suffering face, see the nails in His hands and feet, the crown of thorns on His head, and say, ‘Jesus, all this You suffered for me, and I couldn’t care less.’ ”
The man came out of the confessional and demanded his friend pay up. He replied, “First, do your penance.” The confessor went to the altar, looked up to the Christ on the crucifix and facetiously began, “Jesus all this You did for me and I …” At that moment something he had learned, and ignored, flooded his head and heart. He cleared his throat and tried again, “Lord Jesus, all this You did for me …” Then he burst into tears and the Savior Christ reclaimed and redeemed a lost soul. That man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became a new creature.
Scripture says if you are in Christ, you are a new creation. So, are you? You can find power in the cross and hope at Jesus’ empty tomb. Human hearts that are hardened find themselves convicted and converted. At the cross, sufferers find solace, repentants find redemption, and the unforgiven find freedom.
You can do just about anything to the cross and the empty tomb, except ignore them. You can’t disregard the cross upon which your sins were crucified. You can’t discount an empty grave that says, “Here death has been defeated.” Why? Because the cross and the empty grave are God’s power to create a new creature (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on July 13, 2003
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, open my heart and mind to your will. May I not only see, but also act upon the opportunities you place before me today. I am a new creature, and I praise You! Amen.
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