“Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor 5:5)
“Christianity inserts a new option for dealing with time, one based on the pouring out of the Spirit, the coming of the kingdom of God, and the resurrection. Jesus and the early church taught that the future has invaded the present and determines how life in the present is lived. Christians live in the presence of the future.” (Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are: A Christian Understanding of Identity)
“The gift of the Spirit is the crowning evidence that God’s end-time promises are being fulfilled. For Paul, neither his own experience of the Spirit nor his perception of that experience makes sense apart from the perspective of the fulfilled promise and salvation as already but not yet. From his Jewish heritage he well understood that the Spirit was part of the promise for the future.” (Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God)
Questions: What was the largest deposit you’ve ever laid down? Did you have any intention to withdraw it? Unlike human beings at times, God is fully committed to his promises. The sending of his Spirit demonstrates his commitment to bring the future back to us today.
Let’s pray: “Thank you Jesus for sending us your Spirit. Father God, we know you are committed to having us experience the new creation now and in the age to come. Amen!”
Celebrate with the song “Won’t Stop Now” (click here) by Elevation Worship
“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (Rev 21:4-5)
People feel the effects of time in one direction, that is, from the past to the present. If possible, humans would time-travel into the past to change events and make things better today. We are convinced that the power lies in the past. However, Christians are no longer held hostage to the past. They are now impacted by the future. It is the power of God’s future promise that travels back in time to affect us today. The Holy Spirit is the means by which we can experience the life of the promised future right now.
Questions: How does this change your perspective on the “power” of time? How does the present reality of Holy Spirit run counter to our natural ways of thinking about time?
Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father, thank you freeing freeing me from my past. I am no longer held hostage to the shockwaves of past events. I am now living under the shockwaves of your future for me. I am now impacted the blessings the new creation.”
Worship and pray with “The Same Jesus” (click here) by Matt Redman
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead… not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph 1:18-21)
“If there is no evidence of the newness as something lived, should we not be laughed out of sight? The church has the task of demonstrating the presence of the new age in the midst of the old. That means living into one’s own God-defined future.” (Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are: A Christian Understanding of Identity)
Questions: If someone asked you why you believe the new creation can be experienced today, could you share a recent personal story? Just as Paul exclaimed, “I have seen the Lord,” we too must also have stories to share with the outside world. The world is longing to see the new creation in action.
Let’s pray: “Jesus, thank you for all new creation I’ve experienced so far. To the glory of your name, let there be even more in my life and my church. Let me have new stories to share with others for this world longs to see that what we have is real.”
“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.” (Luke 24:36-42)
Questions: Would you invest in a product on GoFundMe or Shark Tank that was just theoretical and didn’t have a working prototype? What if the product was not theoretical but was already real and had a proven working prototype? We know the new creation is not a theory but is real. How do we know that? Because Jesus resurrected from the dead. Just think about that… the new creation is available for us to experience today because Jesus is alive!
Let’s pray: “Thank you Father, that we can enjoy the benefits of the new creation today. I believe healing and restoration is available today. Let the new creation invade my life, my family, my church.”
Celebrate with the song “Overcome” (click here) by Elevation Worship
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17)
“The gospel is a weaving together of the past and the future, but humans do not handle time well, understandably so given its complexity. Some try to hold on to the past and fail to do justice to the present and future, but life is always changing… Some focus only on the present as if the past and future were irrelevant… Some focus on the future and fail to do justice to the present…
“Jesus encouraged—even forced—people to live in the present, based on the past, and pulled by the future. This triple hold on time deserves reflection, and we must do justice to the past, present, and future.” (Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are: A Christian Understanding of Identity)
Questions: Reflect on who you are. Are you someone who is more fixated on the present, the past, or the future? How is the Spirit leading you to redefine those three areas of your life?
Let’s pray: “Father in Heaven, give me a proper perspective on my whole life… past, present, and future, according to your Word. Let me see my whole life according to the finished work of Jesus on the cross, the present power of your Spirit in me, and your future promises that are YES and AMEN.”
Celebrate God’s great love with this song “My Future Decided” (click here) by Hillsong.