As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, it’s still Easter. Yesterday was only the fourth Sunday of Easter (out of seven).
We’re only half-way through Easter!
The fundamental thing happening at the Resurrection was this: God was ushering in the first part of what would be called the “New Creation”. We usually think of something being “resurrected” as being “brought back”, but what Jesus did was far more than simply moving the clock backwards and rising again. In a sense, he was instead ”brought forward.
As my pastor loves to say, “Jesus is God’s future in our present”. Or, as Eugene Peterson put it in The Message translation, Jesus is “leading the resurrection parade” for the rest of us (I’ve always loved that image).
But how do we personally relate to this Resurrection/New Creation now? When I think of “Resurrection” and “New Creation”, what usually comes to my mind is Jesus, the World being glorified, institutions being made just, a bunch of future stuff that I’ll participate in, and my role in ushering in New Creation; I don’t so much think about my participating in it right now in the present.
I think I subtly assume that I work for it now, and participate in it later.
But that’s not the Christian hope. One of my favorite verses on this is 2 Corinthians 5:17, usually translated something like:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Many of us that grew up in church probably remember memorizing this translation, but this isn’t the most accurate translation. Here;s the Greek:
ὥστε εἴ τις ἐν Χριστῷ, καινὴ κτίσις· τὰ ἀρχαῖα παρῆλθεν, ἰδοὺ γέγονεν καινά·
A more accurate and literal translation is this:
Therefore if any one is in Christ–new creation! The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!
In the Greek, there is no verb saying “he is a“, nor does that phrase kainē ktisis ever mean “new creature”–it’s always “new creation”.
In other words, if anyone is in Christ, then this is–they are!–the New Creation!
We do not merely “usher in” New Creation. We do not merely “wait for” New Creation. We do not merely “celebrate” New Creation. We are the New Creation, present on earth!
I heard a story once about an old professor that would walk around the halls of my old seminary and stop students in the hallways. Pointing at the, he would just randomly say, “at this very moment, you are as Resurrected as you ever will be.”
The important thing he was pointing out–and that we would do well to meditate upon–is that the final Resurrection, as it pertains to us as individuals, will only do two things: get rid of sin, and give us new bodies. Our souls, our personhood, our consciousness, and everything that makes us “us” in the truest senses of the word, have already been fully resurrected!
Yes, our resurrected selves are burdened and clouded by sin and the “Old Self“, but that just means we are weary resurrected saints, not any less resurrected.
And so, for whatever measure of life can be changed through mere perspective-shifting, be encouraged in this on-going Easter season that you are a fully-resurrected, card-carrying, citizen of heaven, dwelling in this, your home-to-be, with all the privileges, resources, and blessings that come with such am honor.
[image credit FAIL: this was a piece I saw at the Philadelphia Museum of Art a couple of weeks ago. I can't find who the artist is. I have a voicemail waiting in the mailbox of their Modern section's curator trying to find an answer. As soon as I find it, I'll post it up. If you know what it is, help me!]