The believer as a new creation
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”, (2 Corinth. 5:17)
If you read Acts 18:1-17, you will discover that the Church in Corinth was planted by Paul, but was assisted by Aquila and Priscilla. As a couple, Aquila and Priscilla had left Rome, due to the persecution by Emperor Claudius. Their settlement at Corinth brought them together with Paul being of the same household of faith. However, the Church in Corinth was very dear to Paul’s heart, for it had its location in a city with strategic port (fine harbour). Because of this strategic position, Corinth, as a city flourished in commerce and it made its inhabitants, including those that accepted Jesus Christ, to be struggling with moral issues and behavioural standards. More pathetic was the fact that members of the Corinthian Church were immature and carnal.
Paul had written to the Corinthian brethren before on a score of issues, including division and now writes again. But as an outraged father, he pleaded, rebuked and shared his heart and vision for their future. He wrote admonishingly: “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”. It was his desire, therefore, that believers should be new creations in Christ. He earnestly began his admonition with “Therefore”.
When Paul used the word “therefore,” he referred back to verses 14-16, (for the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer). It tells us that all believers have died with Christ and no longer live for themselves.
They are expected to walk in newness of life, (therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life), Rom 6:4. This newness of life is not inherited, but God accomplishes it and one entirely becomes a new creation. Everything automatically becomes new. The Bible acknowledges God’s power, ability to make things new, (Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wildernessand rivers in the desert), Isaiah 43:19, (then He who sat on the throne said, “behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful”), Rev 21:5.
Consequently, Paul argues effectively further, “old things have passed away…” Things like natural pride, love of sin (pleasure), reliance on works, our former opinions, habits and passions. They are now nailed on the Cross; it has died with their old nature, so that they can become brand new persons in Christ. Yes, there must be a complete break with old habits that pitch us against Christ.
Therefore, the new creation is expected to bring genuine spiritual reconciliation to God through the salvivic work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. It is also expected that by God’s grace, people should yield themselves to real conversion experience and regeneration. However, it is sad that “we name the name of Christ, but we have not departed from iniquity”. However, when we are made new, it is expected that men can see, feel and touch it to God’s glory.
But the questions now are: can we deal with our old habits that make us not to be new creation in Christ? Are we willing, by the help of the Holy Spirit, to be new creation in Christ with genuine conversion and regeneration? Remember, God gave us His only that none should perish, (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life) John 3:16. His Son paid the supreme price on the Cross and reconciled us to the Father. It is through what He did that God can now make us new creation in Him.
Unfortunately today, the Church is full of noise and compromise. Sinners no longer see the need to repent, some hide under sowing of seed or big tithes to the churches and forget that personal knowledge and relationship with Christ is more important. We hope that men and women will learn that God expect them to allow old things to pass away and give room for new life in Christ. We, therefore, ask the Holy Spirit to help us to be truly converted and regenerated for this newness in Christ. Amen!
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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