By Katie Kafka
A pink postcard arrived in the mail for me the other day with large, bold letters at the top exclaiming RENEWAL NOTICE. Thankful for the reminder, I realized it is that time again. There is no way I would have remembered on my own if this relevant postcard had not arrived. My current Driver’s License will expire soon. It is time for me to renew the small plastic card that identifies who I am and authorizes my privilege to operate a vehicle.
Renew. An intriguing term, in that, this single word contains contrast. Somehow, in the space of time, something that was brand new has become new again.
Can something or someone be new more than once?
Likewise, can something that is old or used reverse back to a new status?
Well, clearly that is a possibility, since we have a word in our language to describe just that. The irony of it all leads me to marvel at the upside down nature of renewal and the opportunity to turn something old or used into something new.
Isn’t that just like our God, though? He is often about turning things upside down. There is no surprise that God works in curious ways. Did you know that our salvation in Christ yields renewal? The upside-down nature of the gospel message leads to the renewal of our hearts when we acknowledge Christ’s work on the cross. The promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Being in Christ yields new creation and the passing of old creation. The old becomes new again. Renewal takes place in the life and heart of the one that is in Christ.
Looking closer at the first part of this verse, I ask myself,
If renewal comes from being in Christ, what does it mean to be in Christ?
We find the answer to this question a couple verses prior in 2 Corinthians 5:14-16.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.
Being in Christ is a process that starts with acknowledging that Christ died for all. All includes you! He didn’t stop at death, though. He defeated death and rose again for all. This includes you too! He paved the way for renewal through His own death, burial, and resurrection. Christ, Himself, became a new creation.
When we acknowledge that He did this for us, we become in Christ, held together by the overwhelming love He demonstrated for us. Therefore, we have been given the gift of renewal. It is an opportunity to live as a new creation, free from the weight and burdens found outside of Christ. The old no longer has a hold on you like it once did. Consider this your Renewal Notice.
I am grateful for this reminder in God’s Word, and yet, I also see glimpses of renewal all around me that can remind me often of the new creation that I am in Christ. If not in the expiration of my driver’s license, then in the beauty of renewal in the life of a caterpillar turned butterfly . . . or the start of a new school year . . . or the adoption of child into a family . . . or the evidence of spring and the passing of winter.
The old things have expired. Behold, renewal has come. Praise God, renewal has come.