The New Testament is all about Jesus and everything within its twenty-seven books was, in one way or another, shocking, leaving hearers either incredulous, furious, confused, or elated. The religious ‘status quo’ was brusquely upended. The Roman authorities were dismayed at the renewed uproar from the Jews. Jesus’ teachings were turning common folk into masses of zealous followers. It was an era of huge change, contentious change. The breaking in of the Kingdom was a rattling of Satan’s dominion.
These are just some of the shocking developments: Jesus told his disciples his yoke was easy and his burden was light, and instantly the Enemy prompted their flesh to begin to point out how hard was his yoke and how heavy was his burden. Paul told the community of new believers that the One who began this work would faithfully continue the process of maturing them and would put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ and instantly flesh piped up, griping about being left alone with this impossible task. Jesus instructed the rich young ruler to give away his wealth and he would have eternal treasures, whereupon the young man protested the impracticality of such a move, leaving saddened and heavily burdened. Jesus went on to instruct his followers to love not just one another, but their enemies, too, again prompting a wave of questioning as to how that would be put into practice. When Paul exhorted the churches to give honor to one another and those outside as well, the need for divine intervention was clear.
Two thousand years after those twenty-seven books were penned, we continue to grapple with the challenges, even though Paul wrote: “Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 TPT. David Benner, in his book, The Gift of Being Yourself, uses this language to describe our new, in-Christ, state: the real self (the re-created self) and the false self (the now-vanished self). When we move toward God in relationship, it is our real self at work. When we choose to move away from relationship with God, it is our false self in action.
Paul wrote this in Romans 8:19: “The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters!” As we scan the global and cultural landscape of the earth in 2023, it seems more urgent than ever that we, God’s glorious sons and daughters, be unveiled for the world to see. Let’s be real, y’all. PD