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April 1, 2012
A New Creature
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.—2Corinthians 5:17
Anyone who is a Christianis a new creature. People get into Christ when they are baptized into him (Romans 6:3,4; Galatians 3:26,27). There are things which precede baptism: hearing God’s word, believing, repenting, and confessing faith in Christ. Only when all of these things have been accomplished is found the idea of being a new creature. Then the question naturally arises, “What is it that is ‘new’ as a new creature?”
A new life begins upon becoming a new creature. Jesus had a new life when he was raised from the dead. Those who become Christians in baptism have a new life when they are raised from the dead in that similar pattern to the death and raising of Christ: “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3,4). This is the new birth of John 3:3-5.
A new creature has a new relationship that begins. He becomes a new member of a family which belongs to God; it is His church spoken of in the Bible (1Timothy 3:14,15). This is simply the idea of becoming a child with God as his Father. People become such children when they believe and are baptized: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ … And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29). Being made children upon baptism, individuals are also made members of His church at that point (1Corinthians 12:13). Since baptism puts one into God’s family, the church, the importance is abundantly clear. In this new relationship each one has a Father to whom he can pray and say, “My Father.”
A new affection comes into existence when one becomes a new creature; old things and old loves pass (Colossians 3:1-11). Now, being “raised up with Christ,” instead of loving things of this physical existence, the desire is to “keep seeking the things above.” Now the desire is to put away disobedience and sin and to “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” John give an admonition to change affections: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1John 2:15-17).
Along with becoming a new creature, one obtains a new name. The prophet Isaiah had foretold this: “The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.” (Isaiah 62:2). After the church had started among the Jewish population gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2), we find in Acts 10 that the Gentiles are also brought into the family of God. It is very soon after this that the Scripture records the new name given to those in Christ—Christian (Acts 11:26). Now, no matter what nationality or ethnic background, all can share a common name and a common family; all can belong to Christ. Wearing His name is something of which no one should ever be ashamed (1Peter 4:16).
A new creature also has a new law or covenant: “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6-13). The first covenant (that God made with the children of Israel) has gone so that the new and better covenant in Christ could be established (Hebrews 10:9-10). James describes this new, complete law, as the “law of liberty” and indicates we must “abide” by it (James 1:25). He also gives the reason that our actions should be guided by this law—we will be judged by it (James 2:12).
A new creature can also expect a new future since that is promised by God. In this new relationship, a Christian looks for heaven (Revelation 3:12). In this new heavenly home, there will be a “different” new body with new desires, and even new “food” and new “water” (Revelation 21:6; 22:2; 22:14). Jesus promised this new home: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3). This is the place which is promised to new creatures in Christ.
“Behold, new things have come.” What a wonderful thought! Are you a new creature in Christ? Have these new things come to you? If you are in Christ, do you understand these new things so as to live your life accordingly?
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.