Just Some Things Or Everything?

“God, men, the whole creation, heaven, earth, and all therein, appear in a new light.” John Wesley (Notes, II Corinthians 5:17)

What did the apostle Paul mean when he wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new”? In context this verse is referring to the mystery of the ministry of reconciliation achieved through Christ’s death and resurrection. Paul is trying to have his reader understand the scope of Christ’s work on the cross and in His resurrection. Thus, he chooses to say, “everything has become new.” Why, then, do we not talk about the whole of reality when we speak of Christ’s redeeming work? We always talk and hear about purifying our hearts, protecting our minds, and feeding our soul, but is this really everything? If so, why didn’t Paul just say, “See, your hearts, minds, and souls have become new”? Why would he say, “everything”?

Paul was a careful rhetorician and would not use such an encompassing term lightly. Therefore, we should not read this verse lightly. Are we so naive to think that the human who is in Christ is only reconciled in heart, soul, and mind, but nothing else? I think not. The human is a whole person, an integrated being, not to be divided or compartmentalized. Therefore, for a human to be truly reconciled, the reconciliation made possible through Christ must be for the redemption of everything – the body, the mind, and the soul (and even the universe in which the human dwells).

I submit that as we continue to purify our hearts, protect our minds, and feed our souls we should, additionally, discipline our bodies. It is an error to elevate the unseen areas of the human only to forsake the vehicle that carries the individual. There is much to say about purifying the body by considering the type of foods we consume and how exercise purifies physiological processes in various systems such as memory and clarity of thought, all of which will be addressed in subsequent articles. For now let us begin to expand our vision by taking back our captivated imaginations that have been dampened by nominal Christianity and accept that when Paul says, “everything has become new” he means everything, “God, men, the whole creation, heaven, earth, and all therein, appear in new light.”

Steward everything given to you.

Allow your heart to be purified.

Be diligent to protect your mind.

Generously feed your soul.

Care for the Earth you inhabit,

And Discipline your body.

How could such an expansion in thought change the way you view your reality? We would love to hear from you:

-SD

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  • http://www.mattbrady.net/ Matt Brady

    If we really take the time to digest that “everything has become new”, I don’t think we can remain as we are right now. If “everything” means everything, then potentially everything must become new and change. I can’t say it without just continuing to restate the same thing over and over again. Even in terms of our faith, even it must change and become new.

    • EchoStaff

      That reminds me of a Thomas Merton quote…I’ll have to find it and post it here…

  • nun

    You wrote” Therefore, for a human to be truly reconciled, the reconciliation made possible through Christ must be for the redemption of everything – the body, the mind, and the soul (and even the universe in which the human dwells).” show me where the body and the universe part you mentioned above are in scripture please. Cause I dont see it. If we got a new body then why when we die does the bible say that THEN we will get a new body. You contradict yourself greatly. Your meager attempts to justify your worship of health and exercise is sadly taking scripture and twisting the life out of it, not only that, but you are adding to it, thus your comment I quoted above. Then you mention a comment below of something Thomas Merton said. Thomas Merton was a catholic mystic, since you went to seminary, you should know the very UNbiblical mindset and doctrine that stems from the catholic church. The more I read these posts on this blog, I am grieved by the extreme compromise, and new age spirituality that is being brought forth. I praise God He has answered my prayers for spuritual discernment, not to mention I spent 7 years in the new age aka new spirituality movement until I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ, so I can read between the lines. While I do not believe you guys are purposely coming from a bad motive, I do see another spirit here, and its not of the Holy Spirit. Examine yourselves.

    • TabMiller

      When Christ arose, He did not leave the old body behind. The dead body was RESURRECTED. That is what resurrection is. Moreover, the Scripture says that the Creation groans for redemption (Romans 8:22). Yes, Christ makes all things new, these “things” being already in existence, like you and me. We are made new, but we were already here before becoming a new creation. Making new out of old is something God can do, and that is what we call resurrection. Might I recommend NT Wright’s “Surprised By Hope” for a better treatment than I could ever do on the topic of “making all things new.”

    • Richard

      One of the greatest disservices ever done to the church is
      to try and proof text a personal opinion. Proof texted has supported slavery,
      the lack of women’s ordination and pastoral leadership and continues to leave
      others outside of the God’s grace and mercy. I say to that say this, I don’t
      think it is beneficial to be drawn into a debate of who can reference the most
      Scripture to support their passage. Many evils have been done in the name of
      God and the most out of context Scriptural references.

      That being said, we must ask, Is the good news of the Gospel
      truly good – and by good I seek to assert that good must be good across the
      board and not selectively applied? For instance, is the Gospel only good news
      for our disembodied spirit to float away to a magical place after we die? If
      this was the case, then it would seem the majority of Jesus’ miracles would
      have been simply for show and a “look what I can do now follow me” mentality
      instead of the Son of God showcasing what true redemption entailed. Why heal
      someone if all they need is a pass for the soul after they die? Why care for
      the poor in this life if we just need to save their souls? Why visit the sick
      or imprisoned? Because the Gospel is good news for all and for everything and
      Jesus’ life and ministry provide a foretaste of a redeemed world so that we
      might join in on his work. This is why we are invited to love God with our
      whole being (heart, soul, mind) and not just our heart.

      I believe that a Christianity that only focuses on the
      health of the soul is anemic. If our soul is healthy, the the health of our
      body and mind follow. If our bodies and minds are unhealthy, we must examine
      the health of our souls. A Gospel message that only preaches the salvation of a
      disembodied Spirit is a great disservice to the true narrative of Scripture.
      From the time we walked out of the Garden, God has pursued us and opened
      pathways so we might one day dwell again physically in Eden. Thank God for the
      gift of community to sharpen each other and grow together along the way until
      we are all home.

      In Christ,

      Richard

      • Nun

        I never was trying to battle with scripture as you assumed, I was sincere in the fact that what the context of that quote says is not in scripture. I never once undermined health and praised gluttony, but Jesus also said that what comes OUT of a man’s mouth is what makes him unclean, NOT what goes in. Its all a matter of the heart, THAT is the message of Jesus, particularly in the Beautitudes. Anyway, I digress, God bless you

    • Natalie

      Hi there nun,I’ve read a few of your comments here and there and I just have to say a few things. As a reader of this blog, I believe you may be very confused as to what The Echo Life is. I do not believe it is here to tell people they should worship their bodies or that the way to salvation is through health, as you have clearly stated. I am honestly not quite sure how you came to that conclusion. What I think it is here to do is to bring light to an area that is often forgotten about. The area that I speak of is that of our call to take care of the vessels God has given us. While most people see this as abstaining from drinking excessively, sex outside of marriage, or steering clear from drugs, I believe The Echo Life is asking, “Is that all of it?” Could Christians live out what they say? Could taking care of our bodies mean more than just staying away from these things? Could it actually mean that we are to eat for proper fuel, rather than for pleasure alone? Could it mean that we are to maintain a healthy lifestyle? I think it can and does mean those things. So many people believe that if I don’t do these really “bad” things, then I am ok. But is one sin worse than another? Just some things to maybe ask yourself. I have watched Christian leaders stand up and talk about the “sins” against the body, sexual sins, alcohol or drug related sins, and sins against their neighbors. I have then watched those same Christian leaders be extremely gluttonous. Again, I ask, is one worse than the other? Sure, sexual sins may be of a different nature entirely and can reap horrible consequences, but watching someone eat a dozen donuts as a diabetic and “christian”, I can’t help but ask how smart or responsible that is when we are called to take care of ourselves. And how does that look to those looking in, those told that, “All sin is sin and you are to be judged for these actions” by the very leaders they watch degrading the self by not taking care of themselves? Also, let me say that I took personal offense to the comments that you made in this section in particular. I spend time with the Lord daily, He is my breath and life. Without HIM I am nothing. Now, let me also say that I grew up Catholic. But, according to you, I have an UNbiblical mindset. You need to be very careful about making such broad assumptions. If my local Catholic church was better, I would have probably remained Catholic. However, I have found a community church that meets my needs and my desire to know Christ better so that is where I choose to attend. Since you are a scholar on all religions, then you may also know that in every denomination there is history and areas where I am sure believers are upset, embarrassed, or disappointed with. The Catholics that I have come in contact with have been God-fearing, Christ-centered followers who have literally given EVERYTHING away to serve God’s people. They live in countries far, far away from their own families, and ask NOTHING for themselves, just for those they serve. We could use a little of that in other denominations, and individuals. As far as Merton, I simply ask, what is the catalyst that brought you to Christ? I know many that have read Merton and have fallen in love with the Gospel because he helped to lead them. The reason I ask about you is because you dabbled in new age, so I am curious as to what brought you to Christ. One must be careful not to disavow someone else’s relationship with Christ and where the Holy Spirit is leading them. While I do not believe that you have bad motives here, I do see a strong spirit of anger, so I leave how you left. Examine yourself.Sincerely,Reader

      • Nun

        I too grew up Catholic, and with all do respect, if you delve into the scriptures you would see for yourself that Catholicism is very contrary to the Bible, its a record fact not an opinion. You can take offence to that fact but it remains UNbiblical to worship, pray to Mary, regarding the Saints as means to intercede for us, purgatory, the belief that Mary was a perpetual virgin, the belief that the pope makes people saints, works based salvation and on and on. As far as Merton, he, like the core catholicism, had a very echumenical mindset and teaching -look it up its on record. So with that being said, I am not speaking out of ignorance nor am I angry as you assume. Writing on blogs or commenting leaves no room for tone or voice or articulation. Going back and forth on these forums is not gonna change anyone’s mind. The bible clearly says to rebuke when error is being taught, thats biblically record. I am sorry but I do not agree with this blog, if that offends you then I cannot help that.

        • Num

          Meant to add “worship Mary” on my last comment, didnt mean to
          just write worship and to leave it at that. And I also meant to add about Merton and the fact that due to his echumenical beliefs, he embraced buddihism and hinduism, something that Jesus warned about as far as not sitting at the table of demons and/or the Father simoultaniously. You ask
          of my conversion, how is my conversion applicable to the content of my comments here? I am a bible believing christian and going into my testimony is really not in the context of whats been said here. Yes I said that I see a compromised spirit on these blogs, but its not as if this is the only place that it is present. But I never questioned the authors nor am I questioning yours, I dont see what relevence it holds.

          • EchoStaff

            Natalie and Nun thank you for the conversation. We welcome it. Please do you best to remain on topic. The Echo Life is not a place to discuss the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. If you’d like to continue please consider what it means for the whole person to serve in the Kingdom of God.
            Regards, EchoStaff

          • Natalie

            Thank you for responding. I did not bring up Catholicism to debate on it being unbiblical or not, I was simply asking that broad assumptions wouldn’t be made. And that one must be compassionate and sensitive to how someone came to know Jesus and came to be a Christ follower. I am very sorry that you don’t agree with this blog, and maybe it’s not for everyone. For me, it has been extremely uplifting and has helped teach me how to worship and glorify Christ through everything I do, yes even through my workouts, shopping for groceries, or simply interacting with others on a daily basis. It has taught me to approach my workouts with an attitude of gratitude and worship of Christ, rather than an attitude of
            look how strong I am and look what I can do, it has taught me that “I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me” not ME who strengthens me…it has taught me to maintain the vessel God has given me, I need to take care of it so that I may be strong and able to do the work the Lord lays out for me. These are things that are simply not talked about within most churches. On a spiritual or mental level yes, but very little on a physical level. It’s true that our sole purpose is to preach Christ – nothing else. But most blogs must have a niche and an audience to connect. I believe the authors are going after a specific group. I could compare it to a youth pastor. Their goal is to communicate Christ to teenagers – this is done through relating to them on their level and speaking with them on subjects that interest them. I believe this blog does the same.

            I am thankful of your response, and you are right, minds probably won’t be changed. But as you said, writing and commenting on blogs leaves no room for tone of voice or articulation. It also does not allow one to know someone’s heart or desire to follow Christ.