The Essence of Christianity - Reflection in Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year is an annual reminder for us to clean the house, pay our depths, close the past nicely and prepare to welcome the new. A key verse is 辞旧迎新 ( or 送旧迎新 or 弃旧迎新)translated as sending off the old and welcoming the new. The old badness is hopefully replaced by the new goodness. But with time, the new will decay to old and we repeat this cycle of life.  It will be great if the new will remain and we add newness yearly breaking free from this vicious circle to a greater height of newer life.  But the Spring of the new year is the abundant growth of new lives. The lifeless winter is replaced by the life of spring, hinting to us the possibility of new life. Giving New Life to remove the lifeless and badness is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The essence of Christianity is best captured in the quote "Jesus did not come into this world to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live!" preached by many famous preachers. We will benefit much by meditating on it.

Here is a mind-map:
1. Not about Making Bad Men Good
This is the differentiating factor of Christianity from all other religions. Religions, in general, teach a set of codes for good conduct and men shall be saved by following the codes. Another form is a summation of good works minus the bad works to give a positive result that qualifies one to enter heaven. But Christianity is gutsy enough to face the fact that while men are created in the image of God with goodness and greatness within, men still suffer from this great sin of wanting to be his own God and wanting to define their own standard of right and wrong. When men could not be right, they legalize it to be right! e.g. abortion. It is in fact because of man's ability to be good that we over qualify ourselves thinking that we are not that bad after all. Paul recognized this righteousness from his flesh is nothing but dung. Philippians 3:8
Calvin said that men are so bad that they will not know to seek God. It is by the grace of God that we realize our badness to seek for God. The hope is then not on man to try to be good but to realize man's hopelessness to save himself. The goodness of man is a stumbling block of self-righteousness. The better we become, the more self-righteous and godlessness we become!

2 Making Dead Man Alive!
The solution to man's problem is a transformation of rebirth by the Holy Spirit, and to acknowledge and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 3:16-18). Our decaying body is but a simple and sure proof that we are in fact dying and will one day be fully dead. Rom 8:19-22 tells us that the whole creation is 'groaneth and travaileth in pain' waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.

The needed strengths for the new life comes from God through His Spirit and not of our flesh.

See Flesh vs Spirit - Flesh is Not Body by Mapping Rom 8.

May your Chinese New Year be filled with the truly New Life.

 See also Eat, Drink & Enjoy - A Reflection on Sunday's Chinese New Year ...

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