A New CreatureBro. David Chancellor
6/7/2009 11:00 AM
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
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 hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 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.
What does it mean to be a new creature in Christ? God has provided more than much of humanity avails itself of. He doesn’t give us a new set of rules to live by, but he does something to us.
Our past life is a problem. It is unacceptable to God. When we’re reconciled, those old sins are wiped away and we’re given a clean slate. Those things exist, but God has forgiven them because Christ paid for them on the cross. We’re no longer held accountable for what is past.
Some would like to make this our future as well as our past. This would take care of the guilt, but it wouldn’t fix the problem. A new creature is a changed creature. We need something imparted to us, not just imputed to us. Righteousness is imputed for the sinful past, but something is also imparted to us that changes our future.
Romans 4:3-8, 19-25
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Abraham’s belief counted as righteousness for him because he believed in God. This doesn’t mean that Abraham was righteous. There were times where Abraham was less than honest. He lived in the time when God overlooked some things because he believed in God. God forgave him because he believed.
If you stop with forgiveness, you miss out on the beauty of what Christ came to do. Everyone wants to be forgiven, because everyone at some point has dealt with guilt. If something doesn’t change in you, God would have to keep forgiving because you would still sin. In Jesus, a change can happen where we don’t have to keep sinning.
We’re made righteous by the blood of Jesus. He clears our account and raises us to new life. He came so that we could have life. He came to deliver us and set us free.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The law isn’t the source of our righteousness. We could get the idea that the new creature is merely living by the law, but Jesus brought something beyond a belief and confession. Jesus gives something within that makes us different. The word comes in and becomes a part of you and becomes the center of your affections. What God puts in us is a critical part of our salvation. Jesus puts his life in us so that we can be part of him.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Jesus not only forgave our sins, but he also raised us up on the plane with Christ. He made us where we could walk without sin, just like Jesus did. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…" God did something. He established what was pure and holy and then created us to walk that way. We can’t do it out of will power. God had to work in us to change what our future would be.
Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, but being created to good works is better. That is the work of God in us through Christ. By the gift of God, we’re able to walk with him from that point forward.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
This is for everyone. "Teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." This is how people should live now. People struggle to do this… of themselves. "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Jesus purifies. If you leave that piece out, there’s just religion. The essence of Christianity is what Jesus purifies. He purifies me, cleans me and makes me different. Many people are leaving off the best part. God gives us the desire to do what’s right. It’s by what God puts in us that really makes Christianity wonderful. He brings life that is the strength of our Christian walk.