Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
In the past few weeks I have been viewing the classic television series "The Andy Griffith Show". I have many fond memories from watching the reruns of this show with my father when I was in high school. Each day we would return home at roughly the same time and watch the show together. I am certain I have seen most, if not all, of the episodes. Even though I can recall moments from the show most of episode plots now escape me. It is because of this that viewing the show again has been enjoyable for me. It is very nostalgic for me to watch this black and white classic but my 12-year-old son believes it would be more entertaining if it was in color.
One episode that stuck out to me as I was watching recently involved a plot centered around Sheriff Andy Taylor being out of town. The legendary deputy Barney Fife is left in charge and to give him a hand he has deputized local mechanic Gomer Pyle. These two hapless deputies are walking through town and realize that someone is robbing the town's bank. They quickly hide behind a car in fear. After a few moments of wondering what they should do Gomer has a solution. He turns to Deputy Fife and says "Shazam! We need to call the police." Completely exasperated Barney says back to Gomer "We are the police!"
Many times in our Christian walk we can be so much like Gomer. We don't realize who we are in Jesus Christ. We are new creations and we have been set free from sin by the work of Jesus. We are his. He has bought us and redeemed us. It is because we are in him that we can trust that we are safe and secure in him.
Many of the statements I just made are things we are familiar with and yet we fail to live in light of that good news. This is because we are entrenched in a world that is twisted and broken by sin and we will never be free of this until our death or the return of Jesus. With this in mind, I would like to return to the story of Barney and Gomer. Really, it is hard to find fault in the response of Gomer. He is not used to wearing the slick khaki uniform of a deputy in Mayberry. He is instead accustomed to turning wrenches at the garage. No wonder he is out of sorts when confronted with a bank robbery occurring right in front of him. He is not only woefully unprepared to combat a bank robbery, but he is not used to approaching his life from the perspective of an officer of the law.
It is so important that we are fed by the Word of God. If we are to understand who we are and to grow in holiness we must prepare ourselves with the means by which God has ordained our sanctification. God the Holy Spirit works in us not randomly and haphazardly as though we are getting conformed to the image of Christ just walking around randomly. The Spirit works through Word and sacrament to do this. It is so vital that we are in God's Word and attending Lord's Day worship.
You are a new creation in Christ. As we grow in grace and the Holy Spirit works in us we will see this coming through in our lives. While we do not reach perfection in this life we are confronted with our sin, comforted with the gospel, and God grants us the gift of repentance to love and serve him in his world. As we journey through this life may we come to embrace our identity in Jesus and never doubt who we are or whose we are.