2 Corinthians 5:17… “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
While to me, all of the King James Bible is stunning and amazing, this verse in 2 Corinthians stands out as one of the most remarkable because of what God in Christ has done for us at the moment of salvation; the moment we accept His gift of free grace. Lets explore what this newly saved man has become in Christ, as these are the things he must learn in order to walk worthy of the ambassadorship wherein he has been called.
First of all the saved man has absolute peace with God and therefore zero fear whatsoever of wrathful reprisals presently or in the future.
Romans 5:1… “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Romans 5:9… “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
How can this be, you ask? Well, what separates a man from God, I reply? It is sin… imperfection. We know that Christ has taken our own sin upon Himself and paid the debt for us. This is the unfathomable love and purpose God shows toward His creation at large. Knowing this, we must learn to:
Romans 6:11-12… “Likewise reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
This is easier said than done as we currently exist in bodies of sinful flesh (see Romans 7). The truth of the scripture stands however, and we have been made immune to the effects of sin spiritually and judicially (though not yet physically) in the sight of God. As the power of sin itself (death) was crucified with Christ, and demonstrated by His resurrection…
1 Corinthians 15:26… “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
…so too have we been judicially crucified with Him and therefore the power of sin, death itself, has no dominion over us.
Romans 6:6… “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
As Christ is free from the power of sin and death, so too are we, in the here and now. Wow… quite a reckoning indeed! And, this is just the beginning. As God sees His Son as Perfect and Holy, so too will He view the saved man; the man who is in Christ.
Colossians 1:21-22… “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight:”
When God sees the saved man it is as if He is looking upon His own Son, as that is what the saved man has been made in Christ! God the Father sees Christ the Son in the saved man. The Lord JESUS CHRIST… “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:15-17
The saved man has been returned to the image in which original man, Adam, was made (and lost); by way of the second Adam, Christ. The relationship between man and God is restored by the working of the manifold wisdom, mighty power and unfathomable love of God to His creation. And we are still far from finished…
A short aside: Many believe that all people in general are made in the image of God and take pride in that. Only Adam however, was made in the image of God. When Adam sinned, he was no longer in God’s image. Subsequently, Adam’s offspring were made in the image of fallen Adam.
Genesis 5:3… “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” From Seth eventually came Noah and from Noah’s sons came you and I; all in sinful Adam’s image, not God’s.
You and I are not made in the image of God until we accept Gods gift of salvation through His Son.
As God sees His Son, so too does He see the saved man as a son. The saved man is given the Spirit of God as the “earnest” (meaning down payment, in eager anticipation) of his eventual inheritance; and by which he is permanently sealed.
2 Corinthians 1:22… “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
Ephesians 1:13-14… “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
As sons (children of God) we are led by the Spirit which is given unto us. This is inescapable, eternal fact. How we allow the Spirit to work in our lives as we learn to reckon ourselves dead unto sin and begin to effectively battle our sinful flesh is a topic for another post. As saved men and women (Gods children) we are in fact led by the Spirit of God, and therefore learn we have an inheritance coming to us.
Romans 8:14-17… “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Joint heirs with Christ. Christ who is the Creator Himself. Joint heirs with the Creator God of the universe, by Whom all things consist… Allow that to sink in as much as it possibly can. A finite mind will find some difficulty comprehending such, but that difficulty does not negate the scriptures ultimate truth.
While we exist here on earth, in this created space/time continuum, we are trapped in bodies of sin and death. Our souls have been made Pure in Christ, as Pure as Christ, that we may have current and eventual Perfect fellowship with the Creator God of the universe. At some point in the future these bodies will perish and our souls will be liberated from them. We will be given new celestial bodies that we may exist with God outside of this matter/space/time continuum. As the Lord Jesus Christ’s body was glorified, so too will we one day be!
Romans 8:23… “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
1 Corinthians 15:49-53… “And as we have borne the image of the earthy (Adam), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (Christ). Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
Our physical bodies will one day be changed (resurrected if we be physically dead / transfigured if we be alive at His call) and we will rule and reign with Him for all eternity. Amen and amen! How magnificent a reward; all for simply believing what God says to us.
While we remain here, judicially freed from the penalty of sin/death, we have been given complete, total and utter liberty. This is something to be taken very literally and with the deepest respect. There is no law we might break.
Romans 6:14… “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Galatians 5:1… “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yolk of bondage.”
Paul is commanding us to keep away from religious law which he calls bondage, and allow our growing realization of the love of Christ toward us, by learning what He has done for us, to constrain our earthly actions. It is in this way alone that we may grow in the grace of God; not by following the law, as the law was designed to produce the knowledge of sin in a man; not to produce a mans righteousness by how well he followed it. Such a critical error the religious world makes here. We learn by studying what God tells us in the Book He wrote.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15… “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
When I look at the majority of people in the world it is impossible for me to fathom how so few want to know such things as what the Lord has done for mankind. He asks so very little in return, yet humanity is so very caught up with itself, it is too busy, too preoccupied. He asks only that we recognize Him for who He is in relation to us… that we see ourselves as the fallen creatures, the sinners we naturally are; and Him as far above us, where He deserves to be. He asks only that we accept the most precious gift that has ever been conceived, the gift of His own Righteousness imputed to our own accounts through the faithful work of Jesus Christ. How could any at all say no to such?
2 Corinthians 5:21… “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
So many religious people honestly feel that they have something to offer God as payment for what He has done for them. How is it possible that anything a man could do, be anywhere near the equal of what God has done for man? A mans “righteousness” cannot approach the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God. A poor analogy would be me offering the homeless man on the street corner a new home and car, bought and paid for, free and clear; and he offering me the change he collected from a stranger that day as payment in return. What an insult that would be. What an insult it must be to God to have human works offered to Himself as payment for the incomparable price He paid to redeem us back to Himself. The lack of human humility is staggering.
With all God has done for us and given to us, with all that we have been made in Christ, completely free; how indeed “ought” we to walk through this world?
Next Post: “A new creature, part 2.“