Plus ça Change
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV UK)
It’s nearly summer and the sound of the lawn mower is heard throughout the land! Only the lawnmowers of today differ vastly from the manual push-pull variety I remember. And many other sounds once familiar have gone—the drone of aircraft propellers has been replaced by the scream of fan jet engines.
It illustrates a point: things change; but the reality is, things stay exactly the same. The anapodoton of the French expression used above says it all when quoted in full: “Plus ça change, plus c’est même chose” (“the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing”). Science moves on but what motivated people of old to act, and to act in a particular way means that today, given the same stimuli, people will act in exactly the same way. This is important for us to realise, since, reading the Bible, we are not reading about some historical race of people long gone, we are reading about people just like us, who bleed when injured, who cry when hurt and who rejoice when something good comes their way. Given the same stimuli as we might have had, they reacted in exactly the same way.
That’s why so much of what is written for those back then in the New Testament is directly applicable to us today, and why we can learn so much from their examples.
One thing has changed, however. And that is the level of belief. We look back at some of the early examples of faith and find it naïve, even touching, the reliance some had in their beliefs. But then, on the other hand we still hear stories today of people who have had some life-threatening experience and they relied on God only to pull through against all the odds. Coincidence many will tell you. But is it? Because, you see, our God hasn’t changed either. Ask Him and He acts just as He did of old. Believe as the people of old, and the result is the same.
Yes, time moves on and rushes by, leaving us gasping for breath at the speed of things, but the reality is that although time is outside of our control, it is well within the control of our God.
Many today ask if only we could stop and start again. Well, Christians have been given a second chance, and we have been granted a new beginning. After our calling and election was made sure though faith, that’s exactly what God gave us; we are a new creation. Everything is new. And everything remains new because our God dwells in the now, which never ends. So don’t be fooled. Don’t let others persuade you that really nothing has changed, that all things continue as they have from the days of the fathers. No, people don’t change and circumstances can be very similar, but the reality is that we have changed essentially and internally, thanks be to God, and now nothing is the same.
Holy Father, thank you that you don’t change, but have called us to change—and then made it possible for us to change. Change is our calling, change is our goal, to become more like you and your Son day by day. Our prayer is through His name.
Study by John Stettaford
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