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Friday-What Counts

 

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

 

Galatians 6:15

 

Staying focused on what counts, what’s important is bad enough. But now paying attention to anything has gotten to be just about impossible. And why? Our attention spans are shrinking.

 

The famous Microsoft study revealed that since the dawn of the digital revolution in 2000, the average attention span dropped from 12 to eight seconds. But that piece of data isn’t what got our attention. It was the comparison to a goldfish that made everyone sit up and pay attention[1].

 

It’s so easy to get distracted. There are about a million things that are all yelling and screaming at us, trying to get our attention. Emails arrive at all hours of the day or night. Messages pop-up on our phone at the worst possible times.

 

And now it’s bleeding into television. Commercials include those funny-looking QR codes so you can take a picture of it with your phone and be instantly taken to another part of the internet so you can sign up for some life insurance you probably don’t need.

 

And if you happen to be one of the more than 150 million Amazon Fire TV devices, you can talk to your TV. Or, should I say, you can talk to Alexa. During commercials you can ask for information about the product. During Thursday Night Football, you can ask for real-time statistics.

 

Yes, all around us are distractions so we take our eyes off the ball, so we miss what’s really important. What really counts. Stephen Covey famously said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.[2]

 

The truth is that when we received Jesus, we gave him all our sin. In its place we received all his righteousness. We’re more than renovated, we’re transformed. He once and for all time changed us from who and what we were and made us new.

 

But not just a new coat of paint kind of new. Or a new pair of shoes kind of new. Or a new phone. But completely new. Totally new. Radically different from the ground, up. As a matter of fact, Paul says that we a new creation.

 

And why are we a new creation? Because Jesus’ death on the cross took care of the sin problem once and for all. Period. As Jesus is dying, he says the most remarkable words ever written in any faith or religion.

 

It is finished.

 

Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34

 

I hope that takes your breath away. Because it should. It’s the most astounding statement ever made about faith. And coming from a Jew who followed all the Laws of Moses, it’s even bigger.

 

Jesus is saying that his death means no more sacrifices. No more sin offerings. No need to sacrifice lambs, bulls, goats, or anything else. It’s done, once and for all.

 

No more need for the priests to perform their duties. No more offerings or sacrifices. The day-after-day parade of sacrifices[3] came to an end. We’re made clean once and for all. We’re made new once and for all. We’re made into a new creation.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Jesus’ death on the cross has the power to make anyone into a new creation. Jew and Gentile, male or female, slave or free[4] have total and equal access to God. Nowhere had anything like this ever been said before, and nowhere since.

 

But this new creation doesn’t hide somewhere deep inside of us. No, it creates a radical change in how we act. It totally transforms our character from the inside out. Our wants have changed.

 

This is the total opposite of rules. Rules try to control us from the outside, holding us back from doing what we want to do. We’re afraid of God’s punishment. His anger. His beating us with a stick.

 

But the new creation wants to change from the inside. The fact that all our sins have been taken away frees us from trying not to do bad and makes us want to do what’s good. We want to please the one who loves us.

 

So, when you’re thinking about what counts, I can’t think of anything more important than Jesus paying for all our sins. Jesus is not only what counts, but who counts.


[2] Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey, August 15, 1989

[3] Hebrews 10:11

[4] Galatians 3:28

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