(Numbers 32-33, Mark 10:1-31)

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. (Numbers 33:55-56)

One of the great promises of Christ is the promise of abundant life now. He declares new life over us! The old has passed away and the new has come. It’s glorious! It’s better than just a do-over. Jesus says that this invitation is the equivalent of being born again. Knowing what we know now, knowing that sin amounts to nothing but ultimate despair, He calls us into newness.

This newness is real. Jesus makes us clean. Innocent. And yet, there are many who become entangled once again by those old familiar sins and deceptions. Maybe we have entertained doubts about whether we were ever really made new, or whether we had ever really received freedom. We doubt our experience, and many come to doubt Jesus.

Rather than doubting God, we should look at what we allowed to remain in this new, cleaned life. When starting over, we must truly start over! If we allow the same corruptions that altered and bound us before to be part of our new life, we will indeed become old again. Innocence is a choice not the absence of choice. Kick out the old once and for all. There are no barbs or thorns in the Gospel. It’s good through and through.