A verse of scripture that is well known among believers is 2nd Corinthians 5:17, which says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. It is an amazing statement – if we stop even for a few moments to meditate on what it means and the reality that it presents to us, we will be wonderfully amazed. I would imagine that most of us have at the very least one thing in our life that we want to change… and that is exactly what this verse is offering through Jesus Christ.
Even so, most people never see the reality of this in their life – they are still very much entrenched in the old; they are still bound by who they used to be, instead of who they are in Christ Jesus. There are a great many believers still spiritually living in the past, hanging out in the graveyard of what now is dead, instead of living in the newness of life which Jesus brought. So today we will be studying how to live in the present reality which Jesus has brought, and to live in it now without any more delay. If you have been looking for a breakthrough in your life, this study will set you free through Christ today.
We begin today by looking at the aforementioned scripture of 2nd Corinthians 5:17-19:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
And at the very beginning of verse 17, we have the only condition, and I want you to notice the openness of it. If any man be in Christ… Are you in Christ? If so, then this applies to you. No exceptions, and no added steps, no additional hoops to jump through, no other requirements or pre-requisites. That should take a burden off of you right there. People love to put extra conditions where God has put none – it makes them feel like they are accomplishing something, when in-fact Jesus says come to Him as a little child. (Matthew 18:3) Certain people love to place extra burdens on people, and add extra layers of ritual, “holy suffering” whatever they want to call it, when Jesus simply said, come to Me all you that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
So we see here that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature… take a moment to notice that one little word “is”. He is a new creature. Is that past, present or future tense? It is present. It’s not that you were a new creation at some point and then you lost it; and it’s also not that you are waiting to become a new creation some time in the future. There are some who think that you revert from a new creature back to the old creature each time that you sin – and there are others who think that you will only become a new creature when you go to Heaven. However neither position is Biblical. I want you to see that the scripture says that for those who are in Christ, you are a new creation right now, presently!
Isn’t that good news? Well, it would be good news, except that most people don’t really understand what it means to be a new creature. It sounds almost silly to say that something so basic can be misunderstood, but when it comes to faith and spiritual concepts, there is a whole lot of mis-information, wrong believing and wrong ideas out there. And God knew that this would happen so He included the explanation of what it means to be a new creature right in the verse:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Now these old things, include everything having to do with your old self and who you used to be. This includes your old habits, your old way of thinking, your old beliefs, and your old curses and consequences for sin. They are all “passed away”. This doesn’t means that you will behave perfectly in your performance, but it does mean as Paul points out in Romans 7, that when old patterns of behavior sometimes show themselves, that you are to recognize them for what they are – not part of you any longer. You are not to consider them as you. In other words: It is no longer you that sin. You are to see yourself as completely separated from sin… you are not who you used to be!
This goes hand-in-hand with the next part: Behold, all things are become new. And it’s very interesting that it begins with the word “Behold”, which means “to look and see; to perceive”, and ironically, this is precisely where many believers stumble. They are failing to look and see, they are failing to perceive, they are failing to behold that indeed all things are become new.
The phrase “are become new” is rather unique – it means to be continually made new. In other words, present-continuous tense. All things are made new, and are continually new. So, these things never become old or dull, they are new all the time. And what things are these? All things! That includes spirit, soul and body. All things means all things. Don’t put limits where God puts no limits.
So is this just my idea or my opinion? Check out verse 18: And all things are of God… so you know where they are from. Now it makes a bit more sense why all things are new and why they can never become old or dull, and never wear out. Because they are of God, and He is always new, always fresh, never lacking.
Do you understand that what He has done is actually returned you back to Himself. The oneness with Himself that sin and the fall had severed, has now been completely restored. You are now in Christ Jesus and you are one with God the Father again, with the Spirit of Christ on the inside of you and quickening you. Again, you don’t have to take my word for it, look at the next part of verse 18: who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. You have been reconciled to God by Jesus Christ. He did not suffer and die on the cross so that you could pray a prayer and go to Heaven one day… what He did was so much more than that! Jesus suffered and died on that cross and removed all of your sin so that you could be reconciled to God the Father, and receive His life back into you, and so that you could live as a new creature, where all of the old has passed away, and all of the new has come.
Now notice the last part of verse 18: and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; This is not primarily to others, but to us first. Before you can ever minister to others, you must first be ministered to by God. You must receive from Him before you ever can have anything to give to anyone else. Notice the phrasing of the first part of it: and has given to us – so He had to give to them first. They would never be able to share anything if it wasn’t given to them first, and it’s the same for us.
There are a lot of people running around totally spiritually on empty, but they are trying to minister and serve because they think that is what God expects of them and that is what God requires of them, and it is the “proper Christian thing to do” but they have completely missed the point that God wants them to receive from Him, and they have replaced their relationship with Him, for empty service.
How many times have you heard the phrase that Christianity is not religion but relationship? Now have you ever stopped to consider what that looks like personally for you? Because there are a whole lot of people walking around with dead empty spirits embracing a religion of Christianity, and the way that seems right to a man, but leads to destruction and death (Proverbs 14:12)… they have no relationship, which is what Jesus came to give through Himself.
He has given to us, the ministry of reconciliation. Can you reconcile if you never spend time with each-other and talk? For many, service has taken the place of personal intimacy when it comes to God. So for many people, the relationship looks like this:
God: Talk to me.
Person: I can’t right now, I need to serve.
God: Spend time with me.
Person: I have a conference to go to right now. Maybe later.
God: Let’s just sit and reason together.
Person: I’m ministering tonight.
It’s hard for some people to see a God who can be so personal and intimate with us, but that is exactly the image which Jesus portrayed and it is exactly what He came to restore us to.
Do you realize that if you truly do as these verses suggest and begin to see yourself as a new creation, redeemed by the blood and body of Jesus Christ and begin to live in Christ as one with the Father, perfectly righteous, justified and sanctified by Jesus, that it suddenly becomes very normal for you to have regular personal conversations with God?
The trouble is that many of us are not beholding this reality because we still see ourselves through the old lenses of sin and corruption, and we still account ourselves as “dirty rotten sinners” and so we don’t think we have a right to intimacy with God, even though that is exactly what Jesus came to usher us into.
Once you see what Jesus has done for you, your life will become very different, and you will find fulfillment in Christ and the relationship itself. Not all of the outward things that many people hold up as the relationship, as the Pharisees do.
Then, when you are established on the proper foundation of Jesus and the relationship, and you are receiving from Him, comes verse 19: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Notice that being committed the word of reconciliation only comes after first receiving reconciliation personally for yourself from God through Jesus. And just so that there is no confusion, what exactly is the “word of reconciliation” which we are to share with the world? Look again at the verse… that because of what Jesus Christ has accomplished on the cross, God is not imputing their trespasses to them.
That’s a very different message than what a lot of preachers are preaching today. Some even denounce it as “easy beliefism”. However I say, thank God it is easy! This is the message which we are to share with the world. Not the ministry of condemnation and death from the Law, but the ministry of reconciliation and life through the Grace of Jesus Christ. (2nd Corinthians 3:6-9)
So I encourage you today, look and see, perceive, behold – Jesus has made all things new for you! Rest and rejoice in your new reality and life through Him.