Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17).
It was a specific softball bat that I especially wanted that Christmas, and I had spent considerable time in the store checking it over for weight, balance and the like. Perfection…
A couple days after Christmas, I was out in the alley taking some practice swings, one of those balmy winter days when the snow had melted, everything was wet, and you could almost delude yourself into thinking, “By the weekend we’ll get a pick-up game of softball going…”
I so much wanted to hit something, anything, with my new bat, and even though I knew better, I picked up a rock and took that smooth stroke that sent it sailing high into the sky and landing in a nearby prairie.
No, I didn’t break any windows or put out anyone’s eye. But when I looked at the barrel of the bat, a wooden bat because aluminum had not yet been discovered when I was a kid, there was a deep gouge right above the label. My new bat…
In a sinful world, nothing is “new”—sin and decay are all around us. But in Christ, St. Paul says, “we are a new creation.” And he emphasizes this in case we don’t get it: “The old has gone, the new has come!”
In our sinfulness, we’re used to it being the other way around: “The new has gone (never to return); the old has come, and you’re stuck with it!” But Luther tells us that Baptism “signifies that the Old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise.”
May that Baptism promise be so for Jesus’ sake this New Year.
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