A not-so new thing
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
These two opposing ideas in scripture have always bugged me – God is doing a new thing, but nothing is new under the sun. How do we reconcile these two scriptural ideas together?
We Christians often speak of God doing a new thing, moving us into a new season in life or ministry, embracing God’s new move. We’ve used this understanding in so many different ways: new forms of contemporary worship, new ideas for outreach, new sermon series, using the newest trends and media in popular culture to reach new people.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that all of these things are wonderful tools and should be embraced. But is this really what Scripture is saying about God doing a new thing?
Yes, we have new seasons in our lives as we grow. Yes, we have new seasons in ministry as it ebbs and flows. God calls us to new places and new adventures. We are continually being made new, and growing in new ways. We are learning to love in new ways, teach in new ways, worship in new ways, write new music, and experience new things. And these new things are absolutely true in scripture: The incarnation of Christ was a new move of God.
But Solomon reiterates in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. So the only conclusion I can see is that none of these are things are truly new things, but perhaps just a new perspective in me.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
-2 Corinthians 5:17
Paul writes about us being made new. In 2 Corinthians, Paul is writing about sanctification, the process of being made holy by living into the grace of God. Since there is only one man who is truly holy, Jesus, sanctification is essentially being made more like Jesus. And Jesus isn’t new at all: He was, and is, and is to come; eternal with the Father from the beginning and unto the ages of ages.
So being made a new creation isn’t really anything new at all. Rather, it is surrendering and submitting our lives to Christ. It is sharing in His death and resurrection. It is simply allowing our old selves to die (Gal 2:20) so that the not-so “new” Christ can take over in our lives. Essentially, the only new thing happening is the change in us!
It is an internal move of grace – a new season, a new passion, a new love, a new anointing. It is changing and growing to become more like Christ, to better reflect the image of God we were made in. We are the ones who are changing, and the only new thing is that we are becoming who God created us to be.
About the Author
Kevin Cook is a 4th year student at Asbury Theological Seminary and an Aspirant for Ordination in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). After graduating, Kevin hopes to plant a contemporary three-streams Anglican Church. He and his wife Nicole attend Wilmore Anglican Church in Kentucky.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Business Administration from Florida State University. Kevin enjoys playing music and leading worship, reading fiction and spiritual classics, drinking coffee, and spending time with family and friends.
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