‘So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ – 2 Corinthians 5.16fFrom Martin Hayward:
I wouldn’t be surprised if you are as fed up of hearing the phrase “the new normal” as I am! Journalists have been saying for weeks that things won’t ever be the same again after the upheaval of Coronavirus. If we are to continue to keep society safe then “social distancing”, working from home and maybe even wearing masks when we go out shopping will all be part of a different way of living for us all. Many people hope that some of the changes over the past few weeks that have shown society working at its best – supporting weaker and more needy neighbours, causing less pollution and so on – will continue well after Covid19 has been overcome. But I can’t say that we’ve seen evidence in the past few days to support that outcome; it will take nothing less than a turnaround in basic human nature to bring that about.
As Christians, looking forward to a “new normal” is hardly a new way of thinking. Paul’s letters often tell us that everything in our lives before we became a Christian has to go, and giving our lives to Christ means that we have to start living by different standards. Telling lies and acting dishonestly, scrounging, saying unhelpful things, being inconsiderate of others… bitterness, rage and anger, gossip and slander all belong to the past. Instead we are told that the new normal which Jesus will breathe into us will be one of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness… and a fearless, obedient and worshipful relationship with him.
I read the other day about a London businessman who was selling a warehouse property. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and trashed the interior.
As he showed a prospective buyer the property, he took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct structural damage, and clean the inside.
“Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said. “When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site.”
Compared with the changes God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives and live a new normal in our own strength are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse before demolition. When we become God’s, the old life is over (2 Cor. 5:17). He makes all things new. All he wants is the site and the permission to build.
For Christians, a new normal is possible because God starts by turning around our human nature.