‘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).’
Incredibly, since we believers are individually ‘new creations’ in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we are no longer in the flesh, but live by the Spirit of God who dwells in us (Romans 8:9). Like Christ, we have the same message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19) – that is for the unregenerate to be reconciled to God – for them to repent and to believe (Mark 1:14). Through us, by God’s grace, the gospel of Christ is proclaimed. God is merciful (Exodus 34:6) and He will respond with grace to those who humble themselves (James 4:6, 10) and seek His forgiveness for their sins (2 Chronicles 7:14).
God has transformed our lives, and we have this testimony (1 John 5:11); therefore we are confident He will transform the lives of those who will *hear and understand (Matthew 13:14-19) the good news of salvation (Psalm 96:2). Christ is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10) and also for all who are by the Father drawn to Himself (John 6:44). Through Christ we plead to the Father imploring Him to extend His forgiveness to our unbelieving relatives, friends and to all whom He places on our hearts; for all is by Him, for Him, to Him and through Him (Ephesians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 3:4).
In our new life here on earth, the Spirit of God indwells us (Romans 8:9). We are individually (1 Corinthians 6:19), and with other members of the body, [collectively] temples of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 6:16). As such we do not belong to ourselves, but to God. We were bought at a price, and our ‘spirit’ with a small ’s’ belongs to Him (1 Corinthians 6:20). We are His. Not only does He rightly own us, because He made us (Ephesians 2:10) and He is Sovereign over all, but we willingly submit to His sovereignty (Cf. Romans 9:5).
**Faith is the crucial element. Without faith no one can rightly and truthfully claim he is a child of God (John 1:12) without having been transformed into a ‘new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Faith is ‘the’ gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). It is ongoing, unlike ***belief which comes in an instant, yet endures for as long as there is faith. Faith requires perseverance (2 Peter 1:5, 6), as Christ affirmed when He prayed to His Father for Peter’s faith not to fail (Luke 22:32). Acts 14:22 confirms the need for perseverance, especially in testing times. The New Testament saints strengthened the souls of the disciples, and exhorted them, ‘to continue in the faith, … saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”’
They had to suffer (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:19), as indeed Christ suffered for them. Of course, there was no comparison between their suffering and His suffering. Christ’s suffering was immeasurable; since He suffered for all the sins of the just (1 Corinthians 15:3), i.e., those chosen in Him – the elect. So as new creations in Christ, the saints die with Him spiritually (Romans 6:8), and they are raised spiritually to life in Him. They die to sin as Christ died to sin (V.10) by leaving a sinful world, and they are raised to righteousness, as Christ was raised to God’s right hand in the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:12, 24) where there is no sin. They are perceived by God as being righteous (V. 13) in the sinless Christ (Hebrews 4:15).
As new creations in Christ, they are forgiven (Colossians 2:13; 1 John 2:12), holy (1 Peter 2:9) and righteous (Romans 4:11). They see and know God by **faith, and they fully trust Him to fulfil His promise of eternal life (John 3:16) in the new earth (Revelation 21:1).
How about you, dear reader? Are you a new creation in Christ? If not, is it your desire to be reconciled to God and to receive His forgiveness?
Turn to Him and accept His invitation: ‘“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden light (Matthew 11:28-30).”’
*Hearing and Understanding the Gospel
***Trust and Belief