2 Corinthians 5:17-18 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
God wants to make you a new person—just like the apostle Paul wrote in our passage above. Being in Christ means to be part of that multitude right now, at this very moment, not in the future. It means to live a life focused on eternity and not on life's material possessions that will not follow us beyond the tomb.
Salvation belongs to God. It's a gift of His mercy and love. It's not imposed, however; it's given freely and therefore can be rejected. If you are not yet a member of God's people through Jesus Christ, God wants you to be among that great multitude, too. It doesn't matter who you are, where you live, or how bad your past has been. God wants to clothe you with His mercy, forgiveness, and love through Jesus Christ.
Lutheran author and television media producer Rev. Dr. Herman Gockel tells a story about a painter in the 16th century who was looking for a model. He wanted to describe the worst of humanity using a human face. One evening, sitting in a tavern, there comes in a dirty, unshaven, stinking, miserable-looking man. He was exactly the model he was looking for.
The painter jumped up from his seat, approached the man, offered him some money, and invited him to his studio the next day to serve as his model. That strange, miserable-looking man accepted the painter's offer. Next morning, the painter was waiting anxiously for his model. What a surprise, when a showered, shaved, and well-dressed man entered his studio. "Oh no!" shouted the painter, completely disappointed: "I wanted you exactly as I saw and met you at the tavern yesterday!"
So with God; He wants you as you are. He doesn't want you as the best-dressed and most-qualified person you think you are. God wants you exactly as you are, with your sinful nature and all the negative consequences it has produced in your life. He wants to clothe you with His gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love through Jesus Christ. He wants you to be in that great multitude with Him in eternity, where you shall hunger no more, thirst no more, and where the sun shall not strike you, nor any scorching heat. For Jesus will be your Shepherd, and He will guide you to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from your eyes (see Revelation 21:4).
Through Jesus, God has made new life possible for each one of us. The Father invites you into this redeemed new life and by His Holy Spirit will keep and sustain you in faith unto life everlasting—when, one day, all believers will gather with Him forevermore.
It is our prayer that you are a part of that great multitude, too.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, lead me in the way everlasting, the way Jesus won for us on the cross and through His glorious resurrection. In His Name we pray. Amen.
Taken from "That Great Multitude," a message excerpt by Rev. Dr. Nilo Figur
1. Was there ever a time in your life when you felt like you were able to start over—completely?
2. What is it about the Person of Jesus that has allowed us to be reconciled to God the Father?
3. As a Christian how do you live as a new creation?