21-24 But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.
We are all sinners, and all fall short of the glory of God. We are utterly incapable of living the way God intended us to live. I mean, that’s a pretty straightforward statement. It’s not as if it is saying ‘we do okay, and can live a good life based on our own merits’, but actually saying that we are utterly incapable, ie. unable to achieve or do anything correctly, of living the glorious life God wanted for us.
It’s something that continually amazes me about the goodness of God, (possibly because it ceases to make any logical or rational sense). How can something that is absolutely incapable of functioning correctly, or how it was designed, be of any use or be valuable at all to the creator, let alone anyone else?
But that’s the thing, we were designed by God to be like God, to function at our full potential in Him. Unfortunately we’ve been corrupted and who we are now is only a scratch on the surface of who we were meant to be. The best thing is that God doesn’t leave us the way we were (corrupted and not fully functioning), but he changes us. That is the part, I think, that scares most people. The idea of being completely ‘changed’ leaves us feeling like we will lose ourselves or become someone we don’t recognise. As someone who has been through the transformation that God through Jesus Christ can do, I can confidently say that the parts of my life that I don’t recognise about how I used to be, are the parts I never liked about myself anyway. God doesn’t just ‘update’ the old you, the ‘utterly incapable’ one; he actually makes you new.
The best way to illustrate this is through an analogy. If you know me, you know that I am a visual person, so need to build a visual story around a concept to understand it. So, imagine that a super smart IT guy created an amazing, revolutionary computer. It had all the bells and whistles, and was seriously a game-changer. As the designer of the computer, he knew all the intrecsuoies of the device, from the hardware to the software, the cogs and bolts that made it all turn and run to it’s full potential. But unfortunately, the computer was hit with a pretty nasty virus and it corrupted the whole thing. Yes, it could still be used for basic functions, but was absolutely nowhere near the computer the designer had once created.
Now, the logical next step would probably be to either wipe the computer clean of the virus and hope that it hasn’t done that much damage to the internal running of the devise, or to chuck it and start all over again (making sure to put an in-build virus protectant so it wouldn’t happen again). But the IT guy decides to to neither of these things. He made the computer perfect when he first created it, so there is no need to start from scratch and simply throw the other one away. But the dilemma is that he can’t just leave it with the virus still around. So instead he firstly wipes it clean of the virus, and adds the strongest anti-virus software ever known, and then bit-by-bit dismantles the computer and beings to recreate it with the original pieces. He gets rid of the pieces that are far too corrupted by the virus, and adds new pieces there. He restores some of the original pieces that have only been mildly damaged by the virus and makes them new, and places them back in to the updated device. What he is left with is a restored and changed computer from the start, but still intrinsically the same.
That is truly a vision of what God does to us through Jesus Christ. We were made perfect in his image at the start, but we were corrupted by sin and were changed forever. Who we were initially created to be was poisoned and infected by a virus that we couldn’t shake ourselves. But Jesus Christ came to become our Lord and Saviour, not only wiping the virus and all it did away, but also installing a safeguard in us. Then God, bit-by-bit started to re-build us and make us new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! God re-builds us from scratch, including all the best parts of us from before, but getting rid of the parts that were too corrupted or weren’t necessary anymore. He adds more in us that we didn’t think we needed, or wanted, but ultimately it’s exactly what we required. He restores us to our former glory, to exactly who we were meant to be in the beginning. Not because of anything we did or because we deserve it, but because we are his and so unconditionally loved by him.
We were utterly incapable, but gloriously redeemed.