√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
The census of the Roman world replaced the legal status of Joseph and Mary as individuals and recognized them as a couple. The shepherds became the first witnesses of God’s own testimony proclaiming a Holy purpose for their lives, renewal through the birth of Jesus. The ancient ceremonies observed for Jesus’s birth THEN have been renewed through His life. They’ve become modern day testimonies for us NOW of the reality of God’s Holy purpose for our life…Renewal
CIRCUMCISION THEN • Luke 2:21 “Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived”
NOW • Colossians 2:9 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands.”
REDEMPTION THEN • Luke 2:22 “When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord…4 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons”
NOW • Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
DEDICATION THEN • Luke 2:34 “Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise”
NOW • Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
II Corinthians 6:3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
I read through these verses and was struck by how many word comparisons Paul uses just after he writes about weapons so I made a list – but in columns: a left-hand one and a right-hand one. Apparently comparisons are catching and maybe that’s exactly what Paul had in mind. It certainly has made me think.
The left column is clearly filled with recognizable defensive weapons of righteousness. What if all those words in that right-hand column might also be weapons of rightousness? The Holy Spirit revealed our desire for those commendable words in the left-hand column to be a reality our lives at the same time our eyes recognized the words of the right-hand column were a part of that same reality. Doesn’t that make those dismal words pretty effective weapons of righteousness too?
Good Report. Bad Report
We Live On Dying
Not Yet Killed. Beaten
One column wasn’t enough to bring us into the faith of Jesus Christ on that day we came to our senses and returned to His victory and I’m guessing a majority of us would admit our lives still need both columns today. We couldn’t have understood glory if we hadn’t recognized dishonor or desired a good report if we hadn’t been aware of our bad report “then”. You can continue on down the list for yourself and just make the change to present tense: we can’t understand glory if we don’t recognize our dishonor, or desire a good report if we can’t confess a bad report.
The words in both those columns have turned out to be very effective weapons ”of endurance, in purity, understanding, patience and kindness “then” and “the power of God [to arm us now] with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and the left…”