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Discussion Verse

2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17

“So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!”.

 

What  constitutes a newness of life in Christ? To what extent has it changed your own cultural identity, if at all?

1 reply on “2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17”

My cultural identity both naturally and spiritually, are very important. I think God put me in both families for a reason.
In the beginning of my spiritual journey, it was very important for me to make a distinction between my natural/experiential cultural identity and my spiritual cultural identity, as a sort of protection, and comfort. The transition was not as hard as it could have been because I had family that was part of the new identity, and plus, I felt like I was tired and disappointed with the old.

I would have to say that I became more interested in God, largely due to the change that I witnessed in my Aunt, and how the words that she spoke (Gods Words) resonated with me. “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:15.

As time goes on, and after many missed and failed opportunities for connection with the natural; I have the desire to be more inclusive of my first culture, because it also gave, and gives love.
We have to preach the Word of God to others, and a common cultural identity provides a connection with people, and more opportunities to discuss God.
Our first cultural identities can also make our spiritual lives challenging in a good way, if we work to understand and love one another, like Christ does for us.
I think our natural cultural identity can make our relationship with God stronger, knowing what He has brought us through, and how He was with us, even when we did not even know it, or appreciate it.

Luke 6:
35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

I think the problem comes in when we put our trust in the old way of life and the politics associated with it.. I think this was an especially difficult trial for Peter:

(1) When he denied Christ out of fear of the Jews (Mark 14: 66)

And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gatewayh and the rooster crowed.i 69And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

(2) When he was told to visit Cornelius the Gentile centurion Acts 10

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hourb to pray. 10And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven….
And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation,c for I have sent them.” 21And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” 22And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.”…..
The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

(3) When he stopped eating with the Gentiles, because he feared reproach from the Jews..

Galatians 2: 11-14
“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.a 13And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

I love Peter, and think he was amazing; so I know I have a ton of work to fulfill my identity in Christ.

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