ALL THINGS NEW

ONE NEW HUMANITY

Since Genesis 3 humanity has been divided. The first expression of this alienation was between the first man and the first woman [Genesis 3:12, 16]. The second expression of this alienation was between the first two brothers [Genesis 4:9]. These initial expressions identify two of the basic divides – sex and religion. A further divide of language/race comes to light in Genesis 11.  Biblical history reveals the emergence of two other divides – social standing and bank balance: slave/free, rich/poor. The ‘anti-discrimination’ laws of contemporary society identify further divides: age and disability, and the media exposes the less easily measured divides of successfulness and physical attractiveness.

This multi-layered dividedness of humanity is part of our being what the Bible terms ‘lost’.

There, in Genesis 3, we lost the one true God, and in losing God we also lost our true identity as human – our true significance, our true importance, our true role, our true responsibility, our true purpose, our true meaning.

And our unity.

Severed from God and from our true human identity we are characterized by vulnerability: we set up our multiple human definitions of God and our multiple human definitions of identity and significance, and measure ourselves and others by those definitions. We are threatened by the possibility of our own failure to live up to those definitions, and by the failure of others to fulfil those definitions.

We spend our lives endeavouring to excuse, protect, preserve, defend, promote and justify ourselves, and this self-focused individual or group activity is often, as it was in Genesis 3:12, and 4:8, [or maybe ‘usually’], at the expense of other individuals and other groups. [We need to observe here how readily the theory of evolution reflects our awareness of our vulnerability; but the theory of evolution assumes that our vulnerability, and hence our need to preserve ourselves, is our original and permanent condition. Neither assumption is true.]

The Gospel of Jesus Christ redeems us from this lostness, this vulnerability, this division, restoring our relationship with the one true God, and in doing so restoring our true human identity and our true human unity:

"he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier … His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two.” [Read Ephesians 2:11 – 18].

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” [Read Galatians 3:26 – 29.]

“Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” [Colossians 3:11].

Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, has come to us with the express intention of saving us from our lostness – “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” [Luke 19:10]. This lostness is reversed when we recognize and acknowledge God in Jesus Christ – “Come to me … and I will give you rest … learn from me …and you will find rest for your souls” [Matthew 11:28,29]. In receiving him as our God our connection with God, and to our true human identity, is restored – “… to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” [John 1:12].

In Christ all who believe in him are now ‘one new man’ – “one new humanity”. All of our previous efforts and criteria to discover, define and defend our identity have become pointless and redundant. Because Christ came and revealed God to us, because Christ came and revealed true humanity to us, we now know God, and we now know what it means to be human. All who are ‘in Christ’ are no longer lost. All who are ‘in Christ’ are no longer divided. All who are ‘in Christ’ are one.

The challenge, the command, is to express this knowledge and this unity in thought, word and action.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2012