From this point forward in this study series, it is assumed that you have been born-again into the family of God. By definition, a person who has been born-again by receiving Christ as his/her personal savior has then become a Christian. You are a new person from the inside-out and have a new mindset, heart emotion, and soul set free. So, here we begin 8 lessons about your new life in Christ.
The new creation is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” The word “therefore” refers us back to verses 14-16 where Paul tells us that, in God’s sight, all believers have ‘died’ with Christ to their old way of life and should no longer live for themselves. Our lives are no longer full of sin; they are now spiritual. Our “death” is that of the sin nature, the old way of life, an attitude of self-centeredness and self-pleasing which, in God’s sight, was nailed to the cross with Christ. It was buried with Him, and just as He was raised up by the Father, so are we raised up to “walk (live) in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). So a new lifestyle has now begun. That new person that was raised up is what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 5:17 as the “new creation.”
To understand the new creation, first we must grasp that it is in fact a creation, something created by God. John 1:13 tells us that this new birth was brought about by the will of God. We did not humanly or naturally inherit the new nature (attitude and inward desire to live for and please God), nor did we decide to re-create ourselves anew, nor did God simply clean up our old nature; He created something entirely fresh and unique. The new creation is completely new, brought about from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God ex nihilo, which means “from nothing.” Only the Creator could accomplish such an enormous task.
Second, God tells us in the Bible (His Word to us) that “old things have passed away.” The “old” refers to everything that is part of our old nature—natural pride, love of sin, reliance on works, and our former opinions, habits and passions. Most significantly, what we loved has passed away, especially the supreme love of self and with it self-righteousness (“I’m a good person”), self-promotion (“I’m worth noticing”), and self-justification (“I don’t deserve any punishment”). The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of inwardly toward him/herself. The old things died, nailed to the cross with our old, sinful nature.
Along with the old passing away, the Bible tells us “the new has come!” Old, dead things are replaced with new things, full of life and lived in the presence of God continually. The newborn soul delights in the things of God and hates the evil ways of the world we live in and the sinful desires and passions in our thoughts and feelings. Our purposes, feelings, desires, and understandings are fresh and different. We see the world differently. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though we may have read it before, there is a beauty about it which we never saw before, and which we wonder at not having understood. The whole face of nature seems to us to be changed, and we seem to be in a new world. The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God. There are new feelings toward all people—a new kind of love toward family and friends, a new compassion never before felt for enemies, and a new love for all mankind. The things we once loved, we now hate. The sin we once held onto, we now desire to put away forever. We “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9), and put on the “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). (These words will be explained more fully in future studies).
What about the Christian who continues to sin (to have a wrong action or attitude toward God)? There is a difference between continuing to sin (specific actions or attitudes) and continuing to willingly and habitually live in sin. No one reaches sinless perfection in this life (the point where we never sin whatsoever), but the Christian is being made pure like Jesus in our thoughts, desires and actions day by day, sinning less and hating it more each time he does sin. Yes, we still sin, but unwillingly and less and less frequently as we mature. Our new self hates the sin that still seems to have a hold on us. The difference is that the new creation is no longer a slave to sin, as we formerly were. We are now freed from the control of sin and it no longer has power over us (Romans 6:6-7). Now we are empowered by and for righteousness (to do what is right in the sight of God). We now have the choice to “let sin reign” or to count ourselves “dead to sin (its control) but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11-12). Best of all, now we have the power to choose the latter.
The new creation is a wondrous thing, formed in the mind of God and created by His power and for His purposes.
If you are a new believer, you have just experienced the beginning of your new, eternal life (John 3:16; 10:10). Your sins have been forgiven and you have been given a fresh start (Romans 4:7). You have now been given inexpressible, glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8-9). You are a new creation in Christ Jesus by the miraculous power of God.