Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18–19
If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. 2 Corinthians 5:17–19
Sometimes I hear someone say something like “Christians are New Testament People,” and I cringe a bit. Go to the Christian bookstore and you can buy Bibles with just the New Testament in them; a recognition that we don’t quite know what to do with the Old Testament and maybe believe we don’t really even need it, or if we do, only for historical concept or to say “I’m glad I’m not that.” I remember being at a Starbucks early in the morning a couple of years ago. Two guys were meeting and the one was sharing how he was encouraged by the words of the prophet Jeremiah that God knew the plans for him and that they were plans for good and not for evil. The other guy said, “oh, that is an Old Testament promise not a New Testament promise, it doesn’t apply to us today.” I almost — probably should have — interrupted and said, “excuse me, but you are completely and destructively wrong.” As followers of Jesus, we are not New Testament (or Old Testament) people. We are a People of God, shaped by the Story of God and his people in scripture — all scripture.
Are there specific regulations and ceremonial requirements that do not apply to us today? Yes. Much of the requirements of the law were shadows of the light of the cross of Jesus who came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. God’s character, God’s love, faithfulness, grace, provision, and mission do not change from Old to New Testament. God did not make a mistake in the Old Testament and then have to correct it with Jesus. Jesus is God and was with God in every page of the Old Testament. The New Testament is not God 2.0.
God is always doing a new thing and inviting us into that new thing. God is always making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. With Jesus that newness has been completed, reconciliation made whole — our sins not counted against us because they were counted against him. He has delivered us into the promised land, where we can dwell with him and he with us, step by step, on mission with him in the world. As he was present with his people in the Old Testament, so he is even more fully present with us through the Holy Spirit.
In each and every step of our everyday life God is there for us to see and experience and move with; he has created things (opportunities, experiences, need) that are waiting for us to see them, divine moments waiting for us to step into them.
His question, voiced through his prophet Isaiah, is his question to you and me today: Can you see it? Do you not perceive it? Will you see it? Are you even interested? Are you willing to look (and find) the new thing I am doing?
God has done the work, God has created and continues to create the new. Now the responsibility (the invitation) is ours — notice and join in. That’s a pretty low bar really – notice and enter in. Yet I fear few of us are intentional about meeting that low bar. How about you? God is doing a new thing, will you perceive it?
What might you do today (and tomorrow) so as to notice, perceive and not miss out on the newness God is inviting you into? Do that thing today and be amazed at how much of him you will see.
Peace, hope and love