Most of the fences that we built were replacing old fences. You see the thing about old fences is that they were built at a different time with different materials. The old fence is warn out and broken down. An old fence has trouble performing the duty that it was created for. They just loose their function. Which is the reason we were called out. The owner of the land wanted a new fence, so they called us out to build one. Before we could build a new fence we had to clean up the old fence.
Each piece of barbed wire, each fence post had to be picked up. For the most part this a relatively easy task. You would unhook the barbed wire from the post and then pull up the post. Sometimes you would have to wiggle the post to loosen the dirt around it and sometimes it would take more effort than that. For those stubborn posts, Chub, had a contraption that looked like a car jack that he would hook to the post and jack it out of the ground. Of course I never used this contraption because Wade and I would go from post to post and pull the easy ones up and leave the hard ones for Chub. When worse came to worse, especially when dealing with old cedar posts, we might have to dig it up or if for some reason we had the tractor we would hook it up to the tractor and it would pull it out. No matter what, the old fence had to come out. We could not leave it there because it would interfere with the new fence.
When we put our lives in the hands of the Builder, He sets the corner posts in our lives. He gives us direction and strength and the goal that He will work out in our lives. God calls us to become One with Him through Christ in the Holy Spirit. When you respond positively to the grace of God that has been given to you, God reveals these corner posts. God is not, and I would say we should not, be concerned with our destination in life, but with who we are. Salvation is not a destination, like going to heaven or hell, it is becoming the image of God in the world. We are becoming the image of Love for all to see. When we perfectly love God and love neighbor just as Christ did, we have received our salvation. This is extremely important to remember that perfection is obtainable in the age. This becomes more apparent if we believe and put our faith in the truth that it is God doing the work in and through us. God makes this possible and this should be our desire. We should be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy.
As we discussed last week we are being saved from sin, for a holy or sinless life so that all that we do will bring glory and honor to our Heavenly Father and reveal His presence in creation. For this to take place God must deal with our sin. Today and next week I want to focus how God deals with our sin so that we are free to be like Christ, so that we are free to be Holy. The first thing that God does is remove the old life of sin. I believe before we can discuss the removal of the old fence we need to know why this is important.
We often talk about sin in terms of identity. “That person is a sinner.” or “I am not a sinner.” We equate identity with our actions and this I have no problem with. I mean, Jesus said you will know someone by their fruit. However, what we fail to remember, especially when we point at other people’s sin, is that we are still a creation of God. Not only us, but that all of humanity, whether they believe it or not, whether they live it out or not, humanity is still created in the image of God. The word “sin” in the greek form is actually an archery term. It means, missing the mark or bullseye. When we sin we miss the mark of living as we were created too. You might think well I will just correct my aim and hit the mark next time. The problem is that sin does not work this way. Sin is not an easy fix. Every time you sin your vision of the mark is blurred. Every time you sin the mark that you are aiming for becomes less visible. In fact humanity has been so infected with sin that we tend to believe there is no mark.
This is a problem. It’s kinda like that old fence. As it breaks down the sturdiness of the the fence begins to be destroyed. It looses its function. Its identity has been changed. It is no longer referred to as a fence, but now it is referred to as an “old” fence or a “broken” fence. Stop me if I’m wrong, but give direction with an old fence as a marker. You will say turn left at the “old” fence, or turn right when you see the “broken” fence. So sin is a huge problem because it changed and changes our identity.
God calls us to a different identity. He calls us back to our original identity, “Children of God.” The problem with this is that we still have the marks of sin upon us. We still have the cuts, bruises, stains, scars, of sin in our lives. The reality is that sin has destroyed us. It has turned us into something that we should have never been. It has completely crippled us to the point that we can’t even move. Its as if someone tied us down and wrapped us in barbed wire so that every time we moved we would receive another scratch and another cut and those wounds become infected because the barbed wire that we are wrapped in is rusty and dirty.
Have you felt like this before? Do you want to continue to be and feel like this? When you reach that point where this life that you are living is not everything that you thought it would be, maybe it is time for a change. In that moment you can turn to the Lord and pray that He would make you new. You see this is the Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ, God can make you new! He can transform you into a new creation where the old creation has no resemblance, it has no part of you. He can remove those old posts and those old barbed wires from your life. He does this by not causing you to forget, but by showing you that every sin you partook in or were exposed to, He was also exposed to those sins. He also was crippled, cut, bruised, and broken. He received all the weight of your sin. When you missed the mark and were blinded to it, Jesus was there in your state being blinded. He walked and walks with you in the valley of death because sin is the cause of death. When we are identified with sin we are identified with death.
However, Jesus in His infinite Love conquered sin by exposing Himself to the full weight of sin and dying. Jesus identified with humanity in their sin. God became human in their sinful state. By doing this Jesus on the cross became the thief, murder, rapist, pedophile, drunk, drug addict, and the sexual immoral. Jesus became the sinner who deserved death. Though He did not commit these acts, He became them so that humanity, who does these things, would not die, but be exposed to everlasting life. Jesus took upon Himself the identity of sin and received the final blow of sin which is death FOR US, FOR YOU!
But, He did not stay dead. He rose again! He became new! He became a new creation so that we can become a new creation! He became sin so that we who sin can receive life and be made new! New Creation is the Father’s mighty work in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit!!!
Lets face it, we need to be made new. Every part of your life needs to be renewed in the image of God. There is not one part of your life that has not been effected by sin. Every part of our life has missed the mark. Every part of our lives is tainted with sin. Every part of your lives need to be given to Jesus so that He can change them. Whether your were raised in the faith, new to the faith, or still seeking a faith of your own, every part of your life needs Jesus. Your attitudes, emotions, disciplines, worship, friendships, marriages, family, bodies, thoughts, and jobs need to become a new creation. If you have not given every part of your life to Jesus to be transformed in essence you are claiming that you do not fully need God. You fall in to that sin that humanity fell into in the beginning; we are greater than God.
This is a lot like taking up that old fence. We never used parts of the old fence to build the new fence. The entire fence was removed. If you try to leave parts of the old fence, it will not look like the rest of the fence. In fact no one will notice the new fence because their eyes are so focused on the old fence. It is the same with our lives. If our old life is not completely removed, who will see the new creation that God is working in your life. They will still focus on the old life. Not that the new life is done in one night with one simple prayer. No building the new fence takes time, but as a new creation we do not look upon the world with our old eyes. We see the world with new eyes, in fact we see ourselves through new eyes. What we see is that no matter how good or new we might seem, there is still more work to be done. There is still a new creation that God is working in our lives. We can still LOVE more.
The question that is presented to us is, are we willing to be made completely new? Are we willing to let the Holy Spirit come into our lives and remove the old creation and replace it with the resurrected power of Jesus Christ? Will we let the world tell us lies that we do not need God in every aspect of our lives? Will we let Jesus create a new life, a new family, a new worship, a new love for God and neighbor? “The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!” Is this the Good News in your life that you tell all people?