As we take the step to believe we enter into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship brings a believer into a position of belonging to God and His Church (God’s forever family). This relationship with God also leads a believer down a path of becoming the person they have been created to be in Christ. This is why it is so important to raise believers to follow Christ as they discover what it means to become.
The Bible describes believers (Christians) as a new creation. Paul writes to the believers in Corinth: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). The word “therefore” refers back to verses 14-16 were Paul writes:
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer” (2 Cor 5:14-16).
Paul informs us that all believers have died with Christ and no longer live for themselves. Our “death” is that of the flesh (our old sin nature) that was nailed to the cross with Christ. It was buried with Him, and just as the Father raised him up, so are we raised in Him.
Our being raised in Him empowers us to walk differently, as Paul writes: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). A believer, in Christ, becomes a new person, raised in Christ or as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 – a new creation.
The believer being a new creation means, in fact, something created by God (see: John 1:13). The new birth (salvation) was brought about by the very will of God. God created something completely new that is entirely fresh and unique to what we were apart from Christ. Only our Creator could bring something new from nothing.
Being a new creation means the “old” is no more. The old things are gone. The “old” refers to everything that was part of our old self apart from Christ that was a result of the flesh (our sinful nature), such as, pride, love of sin, reliance on works and the sort. Self-righteousness, self-promotion, and self-justification have been put to death. The new creation looks towards Christ instead of self. The old things died, being nailed to the cross.
Being a new creation means the old is replaced with the new, full of life and for the glory of God. What this practically means is that a believer takes pleasure in the things God takes pleasure in and displeasure in those things God abhors. A believer as a new creation has a growing love for God and others put on display by living for God’s glory and a desire to see others believe in Christ for their salvation. The sin we once held onto, we now desire to put away forever. Paul explained it this way in Colossians and Ephesians: “Put off the old self with its practices” (Col 3:9b) and “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24).
Let me say a word about sin. There is often a question about a believer who continues to sin. It is important to understand that there is a difference between continuing to sin and continuing to live in sin. As believers, we are being perfected, but not yet fully what we will be in Christ. We desire to sin less and less and do so less frequently as we mature in Christ. The believer is empowered by the Holy Spirit to live in righteousness. Believers have the power to choose to not sin and live rightly in Christ by the power of His Spirit that reigns in us. Our becoming is made a reality by who we are as a new creation, formed in the mind of God and created by His power and for His glory. Our perfection is found in Christ, and our journey is to become more like Him by the power and leading of His Spirit. It is a journey with God through a continual process of learning, practicing, and maturing, as well as failing, recovering, adjusting, enduring, and overcoming.
My prayer is that you will partner with God, being dependent on His Spirit, as you mature in Him. If you are not a new creation in Christ, receive God’s gift of salvation and accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you are a new creation (a believer) take the next step God is calling you to take in becoming the person you have been created to be in Christ and help others do the same.
It is an honor journeying in Christ with each of you. Let us grow in our becoming and help others do the same. It is a remarkable work of God and a real blessing to be a new creation in Him. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!