10-29-20 An Inspiration From Oscar Leske
You Are A Brand-New Creation in Christ / There has Never Been a Person Like You.
Throughout church history, there have been many hindrances to the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Obviously among these are the world religions from the Middle East, India, the Orient, and the like. But none of these more prominent brands of religion has presented a hindrance to the gospel of the magnitude of legalism. Yes, legalism. The “Thou shall not.” And “if you do, God is going to get you” mentality.
God has not called us to ritualistic religion observances or meaningless rules and regulations which, according to Colossians 2, are of no value against fleshy indulgence. No, He has called us to freedom and liberty. He has made us into a brand-new creation and enabled us to enjoy a whole new quality of life that is ours through Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus who gave His life for us, so that He could give His life to us; so that He can live His life through us. It is all about an intimate relationship of love and not a religion.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:17 what have those who are in Christ become? A new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” What does it mean to be a new creation? The old has gone, the new has come – old methods of judging have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now, let’s make sure we understand just what God, through the apostle Paul, is telling us. What does it mean to you to be “in Christ?” Well, for an answer to that question we need to turn to Galatians 2:20 that says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” So, again, what does it mean to be “in Christ” and what happens to those who are “in Christ?”
Very clearly it tells us here that the believer is identified with Christ in His death. Not only was He crucified on Calvary, I was crucified there as well – in Him. This means the end of me as a sinner in God’s sight. It means the end of me as a person seeking to merit or earn salvation by my own efforts. It means the end of me as a child of Adam, as a man under the condemnation of the law, as my old, unregenerate self. The old, evil “I” has been crucified; it has no more claims on my daily life. Now, the believer does not cease to live as a personality or as an individual but one who is seen by God as having died is not the same one who lives. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The Savior did not die for me in order that I might go on living my life as I choose. He died for me that from now on He might be able to live His life in me. The life which I now live in this human body, I live by faith in the Son of God. Faith means reliance or dependence. A born-again believer lives by continual dependence on Christ, by yielding to Him, by allowing Christ to live His life in him. Thus, the believer’s rule of life is Christ and not the law. It is not a matter of striving, but of trusting. He lives a holy life, not out of fear of punishment, but out of love to the Son of God, who loved him and gave Himself for him.
Caterpillar Becoming a New Creature- a Butterfly
Being made into a “new creation” is somewhat like the caterpillar that has emerged from its cocoon as a new creature – a butterfly. As a caterpillar, it views life from the ground up. As a butterfly, it views life from the sky downward. In the same way, as a new creature in Christ, you must begin to see yourself as God sees you.
When one looks at a butterfly, he doesn’t say, “There’s a converted worm.” Although it originally was a worm, and it was converted, now it’s a butterfly, a beautiful, graceful new creature. The same is true of God. He only sees you as a butterfly – His new creation in Christ. Although you may not always act like a “butterfly,” the truth of the matter is you are never going to be a worm again.
Just as surely as there is tremendous meaning in the reality of being, “in Christ,” let’s also make sure we understand some things about what being a new creation in Christ does not mean. Though your spirit has come alive to God in Christ, your body and soul (your mind, emotions, and will) have not been born again (Romans 7:18-24). Maturity and renewing of the mind in Christ are not instantaneous occurrences. There are natural processes involved (Romans 12:2; Philippians 3:12-14). Galatians 5:16 is just as important for what it does not say as for what it does say: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” This does not say that the desires of the flesh will go away. And finally, a study of Galatians 3:1-5 and Colossians 2:23 will quickly reveal that we have no more ability to keep the law following salvation than we did before.
New Creation in Christ
Now, what does it mean to be a brand-new creation in Christ? Let us go to Romans 6:4: “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” So, from this verse, what is it that has become new? The resurrection of Christ makes it possible for us to walk in newness of life. It states that Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. This simply means that all the divine perfection of God – His righteousness, love, justice, etc. – demanded that He raise the Lord. In view of the excellence of the Person of the Savior, it would not have been consistent with God’s character to leave the Savior in the tomb. God did raise Him, and because we are identified with Christ in His resurrection, we can and should walk in newness of life.
As we read John 3:16 and Romans 6:23, we see that believers have become partakers of a whole new quality of life. What kind of life do we receive? According to John 3: 16 – eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” How, you might ask, does receiving this eternal life make “new creations” out of believers? Let’s keep going. Romans 6:23a states: “For the wages of sin is death –….” What did it say is the wages of sin? Death. What kind of death is this? Spiritual death – separated from the life of God. Let’s go on and read Ephesians 4:18: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”
Death is the absence of life; it is spiritual separation from God. Adam was the first and only man created spiritually alive to God. What happened to Adam when he sinned, according to Genesis 2:17? Instant spiritual death and separation from God. What caused the Spirit of God to depart from Adam? Sin – disobedience to God.
In speaking of the sacrificial death of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:21 states: “God made Him (Christ) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” What does this verse say about Jesus in regard to His own sin? God made Christ to be sin for us. What did Jesus do for us in regard to sin? That we might become the righteousness of God in Him. What a blessed truth it is that the One who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we who knew no righteousness might become the righteousness of God in Him. No mortal tongue will ever be able to thank God sufficiently for such boundless grace.
Spiritual Rebirth – Born Again
Jesus was the only man (other than Adam) ever born alive spiritually. Though He volitionally laid down His life (John 10:17, 18), what caused the Spirit of God to depart from Jesus? Sin. Whose sins? Our sins – yours and mine. Let’s go on: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). According this verse, if you are in Christ, what has happened to you? You have been born again. What are believers “born again” of? Imperishable seed. What does “imperishable” mean? Not subject to decay or indestructible – eternal and lasting forever. We read in 1 Corinthians 9:25: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we (believers) do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
New Testament believers are indeed new creations. But to summarize and gain the full perspective on why this is true, let’s look once again at these very important questions:
(1). What was it that caused the Spirit of God to depart from Adam in the Garden of Eden? Sin.
(2). Whose sin? Adam’s sin – mankind’s representative.
(3). What was it that caused the Spirit of God to depart from Jesus at the cross? Sin.
(4). Whose sin? Mankind’s sins – our sins, yours and mine.
(5). What is the only thing that can cause the Spirit of God to depart? Sin.
Therefore, why is it not possible for one who has been “born again” of the Spirit of God to volitionally or unvolitionally cause God’s Spirit to depart from him? Because we are in Christ and the Spirit of God is dwelling in us.
Where are a believer’s sins? Placed on Christ Jesus. Therefore, we can be assured of our place in Christ, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5b).” Again, what has made it possible for God’s Spirit never to leave us nor forsake us? Our place in Christ.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Again, to help us understand the above verses, we have more serious questions:
(1). In His great mercy, what has God given us? New birth.
(2). What have we been born into? Living hope – the expectation of being taken home to heaven to be with Christ and to be like Him forever.
(3). How is that accomplished? Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
(4). What was Jesus resurrected from? From the dead.
(5). What is true of our inheritance through Christ? Our inheritance is incorruptible – it can never perish, spoil or fade.
(6). Where is the inheritance kept? In heaven.
(7). Could you lose something that is being kept for you in heaven? No.
(8). Through faith what are believers shielded by? Shielded by God’s power.
Worth noting: This last verse tells us that the child of God is guarded by “the power of God for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” This refers to salvation in its future tense. It has often been pointed out that there are three tenses of salvation: (1) A Christian was saved from the penalty of sin the moment he first trusted the Savior (Eph. 2:8). (2) He is saved daily from the power of sin as he allows the Savior to live His life through him (Rom. 9:10). (3) He will be saved from the presence of sin at the time of the Rapture (Heb. 9:28). His body will be changed and glorified, and be forever free from sin, sickness, and death. This future tense of salvation also includes the time when the saints will return to earth with Christ and will be clearly shown to all the world to be children of God (1 John 3:2).
In closing: There has never before been a person like you. The first Adam was created spiritually alive but perished through sin. The second Adam, Christ, was born spiritually alive and perished through sin. But New Testament believers, you and I, were “born again” to a new quality of life – eternal life, incorruptible, and imperishable. That is why you are a new creation. Isn’t that wonderful news. And that is news worth repeating.
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