(Photo by Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The
old has passed away; behold the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
What does it mean to be a new creation? What is actually new about you after you are saved?
YOU RECEIVE A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT
And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
Ezekiel prophesied what we would happen some 600 years before the death of Christ. Jeremiah tells us the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). When a person decides to follow Christ, God turns our rebellious hearts into hearts that are fully capable of loving and obeying Him.
On the Day of Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit to live in every believer (Acts 2:1-4), and from that day, every person receives the Holy Spirit the moment they turn to Jesus.
YOU RECEIVE A NEW IDENTITY AND A NEW RELATIONSHIP
When we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined
him in his death. For we died and were buried with Christ by
baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the
glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Baptism joins the believer to Christ, separating you from your old life in Adam and joining you into your new life with Christ. We talked about this change more at length in the post about being in Christ. This baptism is different from water baptism, which is a symbol of what took place and a way of publicly proclaiming to others that you are now a Christian.
Your new identity is more than just a label. It defines who you are now. The new relationship you enjoy is real, not just something to learn about. You can now know and relate to God, which is something that wasn't possible before you came to Christ. But knowing what Scripture teaches is where it begins.
When I was learning about my identity in Christ, I learned some important truths, all designed to help me understand who I was now and to bring me joy, peace, and hope in the midst of my trials. I learned that I am:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9
He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our
freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has
He removed our transgressions from us.
This is real love--not that we loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 John 4:10
Therefore accept each other just as Christ has
accepted you so that God will be given glory.
God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the
law so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
How blessed is he whose transgression
is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
But thank God! He gives us victory over sin
and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57
YOU RECEIVE A NEW WAY OF LIVING
We are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ. Think about what this means. Being a new creation isn't only about who we are; it's also about the new life we live. It's not automatic. We start out as spiritual babies, and we don't know very much. But as we read the Bible and learn from more mature believers, we grow.
We learn that we no longer have to give in to our sinful desires.
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer
live under the requirements of the law, Instead
you live under the freedom of God's grace.
We learn that we live by the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us. Paul prays this for the Ephesian believers.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will
empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
We learn that we are in a war. We have an enemy that won't leave us alone. He has no power over us, but if he can confuse or deceive us, we may fall victim. His whole goal is to get us to sin. We have been given the ability to resist him, but that means we have to recognize his tactics. Paul tells the Corinthians that when they forgave, Satan was unable to outsmart them, for they were familiar with his evil schemes. When we submit to God and come close to Him, there is less chance the enemy will be able to trick us. We will be able to recognize his evil scheme and resist him.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
YOU RECEIVE PRIVILEGE AND RESPONSIBILITY
Everything we have talked about so far concerns our privilege as a new creation and our responsibility to a new way of living. I will end with a quote from Jerry Bridges that sums it all up:
I am a new creation, with a new heart, a new spirit, and a new identity before God. Having been delivered from the dominion of sin and united to Christ, I am always able to resist temptation. When I do sin, I am always welcome at the cross, for all my sins have been forgiven in Jesus.
Jerry Bridges: Who Am I? Identity in Christ
Identity in Christ: Worship Songs