By Scott Walsh
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. - 2 Corinthians 5:17
This is a special time of year for so many reasons. Christmas and New Year's are the time when we look forward to new beginnings, to fresh starts. It begins with the newness of a baby in a manger and continues with the flipping of a page on the calendar.
One of the wonderful things about hockey is the abundance of opportunities it presents for rebirth. With every season, every game, every period, every shift-sometimes even on successive rushes in the same shift-comes the chance to atone for previous mistakes.
We need that in hockey because we're not perfect. We make mistakes. We turn the puck over, whiff on a one-timer, don't see a wide open teammate on the back side of the crease, blow a sure 3-on-1 breakaway by being too anxious and getting caught offside, or mishandle a soft shot through the five hole. But the very next time we jump on the ice we have a chance to right our wrongs.
We're the same way off the ice: we're imperfect and we make mistakes. Maybe you look at the cute girl in your class in a way you know you shouldn't, or lie about where you went after school, or cheat on a test. (Or maybe we yell at our son when we shouldn't, or take an extra deduction we're not entitled to when we file our taxes, or flash an unseemly single digit at someone who cuts us off in traffic.) In short, we miss the mark and we sin. And while we can strive to do better and repent, at the end of the day, every day, we're sinners, every single one of us.
But that's where God's truly amazing grace comes in. He knows this about us-indeed, He knew it before He created each of us. That's why He sent us not a doctor, or a lawyer, or a coach, but a Savior-and not just any Savior, but His one and only Son-because that's what we needed.
As if that weren't miraculous enough, He promised us that if we would do just one thing-believe that His Son, the Christ, who lowered Himself unimaginably and came to earth as a little baby to take the punishment we deserved for our sins-that not only would we be saved from the eternal torment our sins warrant, but we would become a new creation.
What does that mean, to be a new creation in Christ? First, let me say what it doesn't mean: it doesn't mean that, as soon as you pray the prayer of salvation that you are immediately free from temptation, especially not those you are particularly susceptible to. That would be far too easy!
What it does mean is that you are a new creation in Christ. You are spiritually transformed, and you can no more return to the old you than a butterfly can reverse the metamorphosis of the cocoon and become a caterpillar again. With Christ as your model and your source of strength, you can put off the old you and resist the devil. Sin no longer has a hold over you. You are a child of God, saved by grace and faith in Christ alone. News flash: you will not be perfect and you will still be a sinner. But you will be forgiven, and the Holy Spirit will begin to work in you and make you more and more Christ like, a work that will be made perfect one day. But not now.
When you accept Jesus Christ and His free gift of eternal life, "Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace" (Romans 6:14). The process of living your life in a Christ-like manner, or sanctification, is a long-term, really never-ending process. Unlike justification, which is immediate and takes place at the moment one accepts Christ as Lord and Savior, sanctification is a process because it involves both the work of God, through the Holy Spirit, and of the believer (and hence the process; if sanctification was performed by God alone, it would be instantaneous, like justification, but he has to work with us to achieve sanctification-and, frankly, we turn the puck over, a lot, and slow down the process).
When you are saved, your value is no longer in what you do or who you are-your value is in Christ Jesus. Actually, that's true for everyone, but only those who are saved are aware of it, thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit. My son, Jack, is a goaltender. He's solid in the net and has excellent instincts. And I love him very much, quite literally more than life itself. But Jack's intrinsic worth is in no way connected to his won-loss record, or his goals against average, or his save percentage. Like anyone, including Jack, I would like those numbers to be as strong as possible and for him to have success as a goalie. But his worth, his value, is not in any of that. Jack's value is in being a son of the Prince of Peace and in being made in the very image of the Living God.
So the next time you step on the ice or jump over the boards to join a rush, know that, as a Christian, you are playing out God's plan. Play in a way that would honor Him and give Him the glory. After all, you are His new creation.
- Galatians 2:20
- Ephesians 2:10
- Romans 12:1-5
- Colossians 3:9-10
About the Author
Scott Walsh works for Liberty Institute, the largest law firm in the United States dedicated solely to defending and restoring religious liberty in America. He and his wife Monica live in Oceanside, California and homeschool their son Jack. They attend Coastline Baptist Church in Oceanside and are constantly trying to figure out how to help Jack achieve his dream of playing in the NHL without playing travel hockey.
Posted on Tue, January 5, 2016
by Rick Randazzo filed under