Jesus Gives New Life
For everyone who believes on His Name, Jesus gives new life (2 Cor 5:17). If you have accepted the work of Christ as the only way for you to be at peace with God, as the only way for you to be right at all, then you have been given a new life!
The butterfly has long been a symbol for new life in Christ. During its life cycle it undergoes an amazing transformation! But sometimes, symbols like this that can leave us confused and discouraged. Often I look at myself and wonder, Where is my new life? I still feel like that worm in the Before picture. No progress! Some
days weeks seasons are one step forward, two steps back! When do I really get to the After? When am I going to transform so I can take flight??
The truth is that, in this life, we are always a bit like the worm, and we are always a bit like the butterfly. Two processes are being depicted by the life cycle of the butterfly: justification and sanctification (immediate, saving grace and gradual, growing righteousness). This Gospel is true in the now and in the not yet.
In the now: When God justifies us, He makes us like that butterfly, immediately. He accepts us and gives us a new identity — like the pretty butterfly, He makes us a totally new creation (2 Cor 5:17). He declares us to be not-guilty and perfect because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, who was not-guilty and perfect (Hebrews 10:14). God is not bound by time, so right now He can declare us not-guilty on the future Day of Judgement. “The blood of Jesus has made us right with God now, and certainly we will be rescued by Him from God’s wrath in the future” (Romans 5:9, VOICE).
In the not yet: While we are in this world, we cannot live completely not-guilty and perfect lives — we still make mistakes. For all practical purposes, we live as worms and not butterflies throughout our time on earth, and that’s ok. God is not surprised by our flaws and weaknesses, in fact He is glorified by them because they teach us how we must rely, so completely, on Him (2 Cor 12:9). Still, we have to remember that we won’t be perfect in this life. We can’t be perfect this side of heaven. But we can be humble, just like our little friend, the worm.
And God’s promise is that, in the end, He will absolutely finish the work of making us into beautiful butterflies (Phil 1:6). That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9, ESV). Life feels uncertain at times, but we can be certain of this: Jesus Gives New Life!
When your life seems to taunt you, showing you how stuck you are, when everything around you is begging to be finished, remember that God is at work right here in the middle. He is very present. His timing is perfect. His plans are certain. His love is strong.
Oh! You might be wondering why I called the little creature in the Before picture a “worm” and not a caterpillar. Caterpillars are not worms, but they are worm-like. This Before & After reminds me of a song by John Newton, who is most famous for his hymn “Amazing Grace.” The song about the worm describes the process of sanctification. “I Asked the Lord” always brings tears to my eyes, it explains that God wants to make us more and more like Him, even if the process is a little painful. You can read the words here or you can listen while you read the lyrics via Youtube (if the video doesn’t appear, please refresh your browser and, if you are reading this via email, you’ll need to visit the website to see the video).
I shared this post at Kristin’s Three Word Wednesday: