A Christian Meditation on Being a New Creation from 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21

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This is a podcast episode titled, A Christian Meditation on Being a New Creation from 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21. The summary for this episode is: <p>Talking about facing the reality of his pancreatic cancer, Tim Keller recently said, “I came to realize that the experiential side of my faith really needed to strengthen or I wasn’t going to be able to handle this. It’s one thing to believe God loves you, another thing to actually feel his love. It’s one thing to believe he’s present with you. It’s another to actually experience his presence.”</p><p><br></p><p>One way God‘s people have been experiencing God‘s presence and love for thousands of years is through meditation. Meditation is learning to experience unseen realities using our biblically guided imagination.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>When we don’t live lives <em>empowered</em> by our biblically guided imagination, our Christian experience gets <em>reduced</em> to merely theological doctrines and moral rules. Of course, true biblical doctrines and moral boundaries are essential for living spiritually healthy lives. But if that’s all our “Christianity” is it will not produce spiritually healthy lives because something very very big is missing.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>And that kind of Christianity always gives way to more powerful imaginations. But because those other imaginations go <em>against</em> the grain of reality, our lives become fragmented from reality in God’s universe. And the fruits of fragmented, unreal lives appear in our mind/spirit as worry and fear and insecurity and self protection and frustration and anger and resentment. And in our body as stress and tension and anxiety.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>This is a “Christianity” and life that’s missing the <em>infinite awe</em> and <em>intimate presence</em> and connection with Christ. The I Am. It then becomes little more than an ideology with a set of ethics. Our faith gets reduced to <em>beliefs</em> and <em>commands</em>.</p><p><br></p><p>Biblically guided meditation gives us a better imagination. The reality of the bigger story of all that God is for you in Jesus is a far better imagination. Explosive with wonder and beauty and glory and joy and life promise. Infinite awe and intimate presence!</p><p><br></p><p><strong>2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)</strong></p><p>Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)</strong></p><p>God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.</p><p><br></p><p><em>BEHOLD</em>. You are in Christ. You are a new creation. Feel this new creation reality into your body. The life of God’s Spirit in you. The creator. There is something freeing and empowering and life-giving knowing that you are a <em>creation</em>. You don’t have to create yourself. You are a creation of God. The one who loves you.</p><p><br></p><p>This is imagery of life replacing death. New creation replacing death and decay.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Where I live there’s a woods behind my house. I’m recording this in May. In the spring each day it’s kind of like a time lapse photography of new life replacing the old death and decay. It starts on the ground of the woods. Green starts to appear and you see more and more of the ground slowly becoming more and more green each day. Then smaller plants begin to bud and slowly a bit of green starts to fill the smaller branches of the smaller plants lower to the ground. After a couple weeks they start to become lush with green. Then some trees begin to bud and there are some trees where you can see small sprouts of green leaves in the tall branches. But there are other trees that still look like it’s February. Completely bare branches. The dead look of winter. In one sense it seems to happen fairly fast over the course of a month or more. In another sense it’s a slow process. Some trees that are coming alive still look dead. Other places look more and more alive but not near what they will be a month from now. It depends on your perspective of time. Not much happens in an hour. But lots seems to happen in a week. Especially a warmer week with lots of sunshine. Colder weeks seem less so. Day by day.</p><p><br></p><p>This is what it’s like to be in Christ. A new creation has begun but the process takes time. You are in the already/not yet. But you have God‘s promise and you have his Holy Spirit to give you confident expectation that breathes/speaks life into you right now. Feel this into your body. <em>Behold</em>.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Who can you share this podcast with? If you found this episode helpful, consider sharing it on social media or texting it to a friend you think might benefit from it.</strong></p><p><br></p><p>Follow Dave Cover on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/davecover" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">@davecover</a></p><p>Follow A Bigger Life on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/abiggerlifepod" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">@ABiggerLifePod</a></p><p><br></p><p>Our audio engineer is <a href="mailto:diego.huaman@thecrossingchurch.com" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Diego Huaman</a>.</p><p><br></p><p>This podcast is a ministry of <a href="https://www.thecrossingchurch.com" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Crossing</a>, a church in Columbia, Missouri, a college town where the flagship campus of the University of Missouri is located. </p>
Meditation: The need to experience unseen realities of God's love
03:03 MIN
New Testament 2 Corinthians 5:17
04:07 MIN
Meditation: The new has come
03:40 MIN
The righteousness of God
01:40 MIN
Meditation: Focus on your body
07:32 MIN
Prayer
02:16 MIN

Dave Cover: This is Christian Meditation For A Bigger Life. I'm Dave Cover. I want to help you with Christian meditation and experience God's presence through biblically guided imagination, where you can draw near to God and get the stress and anxiety out of your mind, out of your heart, and out of your body, so you can live a bigger life. If your podcast app is set to skip silent sections, disable that now. In a minute, I'm going to read a verse from 2nd Corinthians 5 for us to meditate on. But before we do that, let's get your body in a good disposition to meditate. Lie flat on your back, or sit comfortably in a chair. Uncross your legs and close your eyes if you can. And when you're ready, begin to take in a deep breath through your nose and send the air all the way down into your belly. Make your belly rise. You don't have to be self conscious about your rising belly, because nobody is looking at you right now. Breathe in slowly, making your belly rise. And with each release of your breath, let go a little bit more of your muscles. Let your body feel heavy. A little bit more, notice your muscles releasing throughout your entire body, softening and your body feeling heavier and sinking into the surface that you're on. Let your out breath be a little longer than your in breath. Breathing through your nose, making your belly rise, and then slowly releasing your breath, feeling your body relax, become heavy sinking into the surface you're on. Tim Keller has pancreatic cancer and he is interviewed recently about that. And he says," I came to realize that the experiential side of my faith really needed to strengthen, or I wasn't going to be able to handle this. It's one thing to believe God loves you. Another thing to actually feel his love. It's one thing to believe he's present with you. It's another to actually experience his presence." Tim Keller is talking about the need to experience unseen realities of God's love and God's presence for our faith to be real. One way God's people have been experiencing God's presence and love for thousands of years is through meditation. Meditation is learning to experience unseen realities using your biblically guided imagination. So imagine this right now and feel it into your body. God's love for you. God's infinite presence with you. Feel it all at once in your body. Imagine your mind going within your body and feeling your body from within. Imagine the awe that you are alone right now with the infinite intimate presence of the God who created this entire universe, just you and God. When we don't live lives empowered by our biblically guided imagination, our Christian experience gets reduced to merely theological doctrines and moral rules. Of course, true biblical doctrines and moral boundaries are essential for living spiritually healthy lives. But if that's all our faith is, it will not produce spiritually healthy lives because something very, very big is missing. And that kind of Christianity always gives way to more powerful imaginations, the more powerful imaginations of sin. But because these other imaginations go against the grain of reality, against the grain of God's universe, our lives become fragmented from reality in God's universe. And the fruits of fragmented unreal lives appears in our mind, in our spirit as worry and fear and insecurity and self protection and frustration and anger and resentment. And it appears in our body as stress and tension and anxiety. This is a Christianity, so to speak, and a life that's missing the infinite awe and intimate presence of connection with Christ. The, I am, it then becomes little more than an ideology with a set of ethics. Our faith gets reduced to just beliefs and commands, but biblically guided meditation gives us a better imagination. The reality of the bigger story of all that God is for you and Jesus is a far better imagination. It's explosive with wonder and beauty and glory and joy and full of life promise, infinite awe, and intimate presence of God. So again, imagine this right now and feel it into your body, the infinite awe and the intimate presence of God, the God who created this universe. Feel that reality right now in your whole body, all at once. Imagine going within your body and feeling your body from within. Imagine the awe that you are alone right now with the infinite intimate presence of the God who created the entire universe. Let me read from the New Testament book of 2nd Corinthians, chapter five, verse 17." Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come." And then verse 21, just four verses later." God made him who had no sin to be sin for us. So that in him, we might become the righteousness of God. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come." Being in Christ is said over 165 times in the New Testament as a description of what it means to believe in Jesus, to be in Christ and Christ to be in you is the biblical image of your relationship with God. This is imagination. You being in Christ and Christ being in you. This is an imagination you can feel right now into your body. Your body is eternally part of who you are. There'll be a resurrection of your body and your salvation. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you. The spirit of Christ is in you and you are in Christ." So behold," he says," The new has come. The old has passed away. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Right now, imagine this reality. Imagine it into your body and feel it in your body. You are in Christ. Christ is in you. You are a new creation. New creation. You are a creation. This is imagery going back to the second page of the Bible, God forming the man and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. You are a creation now, the Holy Spirit breathing into you. New creation, new life, because Christ is in you and you are in Christ. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come." Notice the tenses of the verbs, the old has passed away." Behold, the new has come." It's already true of who you are because you are already in Christ and Christ is already in you. Behold. We behold through our biblically guided imagination. Let's do that now. Focus your mind on feeling your body, breathing in through your belly, making your belly rise, breathing out. Feeling your body relax, become calm. Feel your body all at once. God's life flowing through your body. Using your imagination, try to feel your entire body all at once. And now using your imagination, feel this verse into your body." If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come." Use your imagination of being in Christ and Christ being in you." Behold, Christ is in your body and you are in Christ. You are a new creation." Feel this new creation reality into your body. The life of God's spirit in you, the creator of this entire universe is in your body right now. You are in him and he is in you. There is something freeing and empowering and life giving, knowing that you are a creation. You don't have to create yourself. You are a creation of God who created you for a purpose that's eternal and created you out of love. Feel the spirit of God speaking, breathing new creation into you right now. Behold, feel this image in your body. Behold it through your imagination. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come." God made him who had no sin to be sin for us. So that in him, we might become the righteousness of God. Using your imagination, imagine the old, the sin, passing through your pores out of your body, like oily, dark ink, oozing through your pores, being transferred to Jesus on the cross. He's becoming sin for you, taking your sin upon himself, your sin being washed away. This oily, dark ink, oozing out of your pores being washed away, taken to Jesus on the cross. Behold, feel this image in your body. God made him who had no sin to be sin for you. So that in him, you might become the righteousness of God. Remember, the righteousness of God is not some judgemental, unhappy person with your arms folded judging everybody. That's never an image of God's holiness in the Bible. Remember, the fruits of God's holy spirit are described in the Galatians 5: 22. This is the righteousness of God. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. God made him who had no sin to be sin for you. So that in him, you might become the righteousness of God, a life exploding with the power of love and joy and peace. Shalom, kindness, patience. This is imagery of life replacing death. New creation, replacing the old. Sin, death, decay, thorns, thistles, dust. Where I live, there's a woods behind my house and I'm recording this in May. And in the spring each day, it's kind of like a time lapsed photography of new life replacing old, death, and decay. It starts on the ground of the woods. Green starts to appear and you see more and more of the ground slowly becoming more and more green each day. Then smaller plants begin to bud and slowly a bit of green starts to fill the smaller branches of the smaller plants lower to the ground. And after a couple weeks, they start to become lush with green. Then some trees begin to bud and there are some trees where you can see small sprouts of green leaves in the tall branches, but there are other trees that still look like it's February, completely bare branches. The dead look of winter. In one sense, it seems to happen pretty fast over the course of a month or more. In another sense, it's a slow process. Some trees that are coming alive still look dead. Other places look more and more alive, but not near what they will be a month from now. It depends on the perspective of time. Not much happens in an hour. More happens in a day, but lots seems to happen in a week, especially a warmer week with lots of sunshine. Colder weeks seem less so, but it's day by day. This is what it is to be in Christ. A new creation has begun, but the process takes time. You are in the already not yet reality of God's promise, but you have God's promise and you have his Holy Spirit to give you confident expectation that breathes and speaks life into you right now. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come." God made him who had no sin to be sin for us. So that in him, we might become the righteousness of God. Hold this image for a moment and feel it into your body. Behold it, using your imagination. Feel it in your body. Focus on feeling the sensation in your body of your body feeling this truth. Almost like feedback in a microphone, a microphone picks up its own sound through the speakers. And then that comes through the microphone. And it makes feedback that you sometimes hear with a microphone in an auditorium or something. You're kind of doing that now in this meditation, you're using your imagination to feel this reality into your body. And then you're using your mind to feel your body feeling this reality. And it becomes a kind of feedback loop where you become more and more relaxed, almost like your body is floating. This is using your imagination to feel the presence and the love and the awe of God and the reality of this truth into your body. Try to feel it into your body, all at once, your whole body. You are a new creation. Jesus has taken all your sin and given you his righteousness. You're becoming the righteousness of God. You're becoming a new creation, more and more in the reality of your life, ultimately in your resurrection. But it begins even now, just like a forest in the spring. Let focus now on different parts of your body, specifically. Bring your mind's awareness to the top of your head. Focus on your scalp. If there's any tension there, release it. Let it relax. Let go of tension. Now down to your forehead, letting your forehead relax, let go. Your eyelids and your eyes, the muscles behind your eyes, letting go of the muscles behind your eyes releases a lot of tension in your face. People hold their tension in their eyes. You can see it. Let your eyes go. Let them relax. Let the muscles release. You're feeling the peace of God's presence. Now in your cheeks, letting go of tension. You are in Christ. Christ is in you. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come. Relaxing your jaw, releasing the muscles in your jaw so that your bottom teeth separate from your top teeth. Now up to the back of your head, using your imagination to release the muscles in the back of your head. Release any fight or flight response in your limbic system, right there inside your skull at the bottom of the back of your head. Using your imagination, just let that relax. Let go of fight or flight. Let go of stress and tension. Let go of anxiety, worry, self- protection. You're in the awe of God's infinite, intimate presence. You are in Christ and Christ is in you." The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come." God made him who had no sin to be sin for you, so that in him, you might become the righteousness of God. You can let go of self protection and stress, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame. Now, feeling down your neck, your muscles relax, the top of your shoulders, your shoulder blades, letting go of all tension you carry in your shoulders. Release all your clenched muscles there. Now feeling it down your arms, into your wrist and hands and fingers. Now feel your head, your shoulders, your arms, your hands, all completely let go and relaxed in the loving presence of God, feeling the truth into your body that you are in Christ and Christ is in you by his Holy Spirit. You are a new creation. You're a creation by his spirit. You don't have to create yourself. You don't have to create your life. He has created you and you are a new creation by his spirit. The old has passed away. He has taken your sin upon himself and become sin for you. You are a new creation. You're becoming the righteousness of God. Feel this now in your entire torso, your chest, your diaphragm, your gut, letting go of all the tension in your gut, your abdomen. Taking in a deep breath and making your belly rise, and then releasing the breath with relaxation. A confident expectation that you are in Christ and Christ is in you. You are a new creation. You're becoming the righteousness of God in Christ, letting go with every exhale, tension now in your back, your upper back, your lower back, letting go of all clenched muscles. Now in your pelvic area, now feeling it down into your thighs, your knees and your calves, your ankles, breathing in, making your belly rise. With each exhale, relaxing your legs, your feet, and now focus again on your entire body. Your head, your feet, your hands, your arms, your legs, your torso. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come. Feel that reality into your body, your whole body, all at once." God made him who had no sin to be sin for us. So that in him, we might become the righteousness of God. Let me pray. God, I thank you that I am in Christ and Christ is in me. I don't understand all what that means, but it's an image you want me to have. I am in Christ and Christ is in me. I am a new creation, being given new creation by your spirit that created this entire universe. And you breathe into me the breath of life, the breath of your spirit. My body is a temple of your Holy Spirit. The old has passed away. The new has come. Again, I don't know everything that means, but that's an image you want me to have, the old passing away out of my life, out of my body. Sin being given to Jesus, being taken away from me. And the new has come. God made him who had no sin to be sin for me. Thank you, God, that you have done that. You have taken my sin and you have transferred it to Jesus in some way. I don't understand all that, but Jesus has become sin on my behalf, so that in him, I might become the righteousness of God, being given the righteousness of Jesus. This great exchange, my sin for Jesus' righteousness. This is an image you want me to have, an image you want me to behold through my imagination. And so I behold it now and I feel it into my body that you died to save. I am a new creation, the righteousness of God, and I pray in Jesus name. Amen. Thanks for listening to Christian Meditation For A Bigger Life. If you found this podcast helpful, please give us a rating in your podcast app so others can find it more easily and consider sharing this episode with a friend. Our audio engineer is Diego Haman. Look for a new episode each Tuesday and Thursday morning.

DESCRIPTION

Talking about facing the reality of his pancreatic cancer, Tim Keller recently said, “I came to realize that the experiential side of my faith really needed to strengthen or I wasn’t going to be able to handle this. It’s one thing to believe God loves you, another thing to actually feel his love. It’s one thing to believe he’s present with you. It’s another to actually experience his presence.”

One way God‘s people have been experiencing God‘s presence and love for thousands of years is through meditation. Meditation is learning to experience unseen realities using our biblically guided imagination. 

When we don’t live lives empowered by our biblically guided imagination, our Christian experience gets reduced to merely theological doctrines and moral rules. Of course, true biblical doctrines and moral boundaries are essential for living spiritually healthy lives. But if that’s all our “Christianity” is it will not produce spiritually healthy lives because something very very big is missing. 

And that kind of Christianity always gives way to more powerful imaginations. But because those other imaginations go against the grain of reality, our lives become fragmented from reality in God’s universe. And the fruits of fragmented, unreal lives appear in our mind/spirit as worry and fear and insecurity and self protection and frustration and anger and resentment. And in our body as stress and tension and anxiety. 

This is a “Christianity” and life that’s missing the infinite awe and intimate presence and connection with Christ. The I Am. It then becomes little more than an ideology with a set of ethics. Our faith gets reduced to beliefs and commands.

Biblically guided meditation gives us a better imagination. The reality of the bigger story of all that God is for you in Jesus is a far better imagination. Explosive with wonder and beauty and glory and joy and life promise. Infinite awe and intimate presence!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

BEHOLD. You are in Christ. You are a new creation. Feel this new creation reality into your body. The life of God’s Spirit in you. The creator. There is something freeing and empowering and life-giving knowing that you are a creation. You don’t have to create yourself. You are a creation of God. The one who loves you.

This is imagery of life replacing death. New creation replacing death and decay. 

Where I live there’s a woods behind my house. I’m recording this in May. In the spring each day it’s kind of like a time lapse photography of new life replacing the old death and decay. It starts on the ground of the woods. Green starts to appear and you see more and more of the ground slowly becoming more and more green each day. Then smaller plants begin to bud and slowly a bit of green starts to fill the smaller branches of the smaller plants lower to the ground. After a couple weeks they start to become lush with green. Then some trees begin to bud and there are some trees where you can see small sprouts of green leaves in the tall branches. But there are other trees that still look like it’s February. Completely bare branches. The dead look of winter. In one sense it seems to happen fairly fast over the course of a month or more. In another sense it’s a slow process. Some trees that are coming alive still look dead. Other places look more and more alive but not near what they will be a month from now. It depends on your perspective of time. Not much happens in an hour. But lots seems to happen in a week. Especially a warmer week with lots of sunshine. Colder weeks seem less so. Day by day.

This is what it’s like to be in Christ. A new creation has begun but the process takes time. You are in the already/not yet. But you have God‘s promise and you have his Holy Spirit to give you confident expectation that breathes/speaks life into you right now. Feel this into your body. Behold.