A new dress. A new shirt. A new car. A new friendship. How we value these things! A new way of doing things? Not so much.

God stays the same, but regularly revises his methods. His relationship with humans changed after Noah—meat as food, capital punishment for murderers, the promise of the rainbow. His choosing Abram and renaming him Abraham initiated a new divine modus operandi. Or what about the union in the Christian Church of Jews and Gentiles? Jesus abolished in his flesh the enmity between these two classes “so that in himself he might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.” He accomplishes this through inaugurating “a new covenant with Israel and Judah, not like the covenant I made when I took their fathers by the hand to bring them out of Egypt.” God will some day make a new heaven and a new earth.

If you own a personal copy of the Bible, translated into your native tongue and printed in book form; if you drove to church and value our chairs and air conditioners; if you have watched a Chris­tian movie or listened to a gospel CD; if you prefer a jet over a sailing ship as your means of transportation to missionary ventures; then you profit from New Things never envisioned in Acts.

God not only does new things. He likes new things—“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.” He gives new things—“Those who wait for Yahweh will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” He provides old things in new measure—“Yahweh’s lovingkindnesses and compas­sions are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.” The blood of Jesus opens up “a new and living way.”

It should not be news that “new” is used 176 times in the Bible. If we wish to walk with this innovative God, let us expect him to lead us into deeper levels of closeness with him, and fresh avenues of service for him. “I will put a new spirit within them. I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” Not that we automatically eject all that is old—“Every scribe who has become a disciple of the Kingdom is like a head of a household who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” Still, the security we sense by insisting on sameness may be our own worst enemy.

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