Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.” [John 3:3 (GNT)]

So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy. [Ephesians 4:22-24 (GNT)]

Galena, ILReal estate ads can be somewhat misleading. “Needs TLC” usually means  structural damage; a “handy-man special” requires  rehabbing and money; “waterfront” probably has a basement that floods; “cozy” means really small and “intimate” is even smaller than cozy. “Tear-down,” however, means just that; while the property may have value, the house isn’t worth renovating. In our southwest Florida community, it is not unusual to see advertisements for homes with an asking price in the seven digit territory (none of which need TLC, handymen, have flooded basements, are cozy or intimate.) Since it’s difficult to believe there’s anything needing improvement in such expensive houses, the shocker is that some of those homes are listed as tear-downs. That hefty asking price is for the privilege of tearing down the existing structure and spending several millions more to build another one in its place.

The price God pays for us is greater than millions of dollars—we are purchased with the blood of Christ. When we accept His offer, we turn possession of our lives over to Him to do with as He pleases. We’re not in pristine condition; in fact we don’t even qualify as handy-man specials. As valuable as we are, we’re tear-downs. God won’t just fix up a few things, slap on a new coat of paint or replace the Formica with granite. He doesn’t renovate us by tearing out a little selfishness and replacing it with some brand new generosity or adding a touch of self-control. Rather than patching up bits and pieces, God starts all over again and rebuilds us from the ground up. With those Florida “tear-downs”, the previous owner doesn’t get to stop the bulldozer from razing the old building or offer advice on renovations. Why, I wonder, do we hesitate to give God full rein on our rebuild when we accept His offer of salvation?

The only similarity a tear-down house shares with the new one is its address in an exclusive neighborhood. When the Holy Spirit moves into us, however, we continue to look the same on the outside but we’re totally transformed on the inside. Although the carpenters, painters and tile men eventually finish their work and leave those houses, God is never quite done with us. His Holy Spirit remains to continue transforming our lives for the rest of our days.

Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. [2 Corinthians 5:17 (GNT)]

I have been put to death with Christ on his cross, so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. I refuse to reject the grace of God. [Galatians 2:19b-21 (GNT)]

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