What does it mean to be a new creature in Christ?
Creatures Old and New.
Central to the power of the Christian faith over human sin and destructive nature is the tenant of our being born a new creature in Christ. In the New Testament this key is clearly expressed in many similar ways filter:NT new creature filter:NT born again filter:NT born of filter:NT renew filter:NT regeneration etc...
The idea is that a man can change his mind and his direction, try to improve himself all that he wants to little or no effect. It is not until a person accepts the redemptive sacrifice of His Son upon the cross of Calvary when the missing incorruptible spiritual component is implanted by God within us that we see the infused graft of empowered transformation.
There is that which is of the flesh; this up until Christ is all that we've ever known. We can submit it to laws and authorities, to various disciplines and rigors of exercises; we can strive diligently to minimize it's lack and insufficiency. No matter what however it is still merely flesh.
Left to his own flesh man might be able to improve his situation, but minus God's Spirit cannot transform it. The flesh is ill equipped to handle the matters of the spirit. Pouring more and more fleshly substance into the spiritual void, thought and opinion and legalism and control and good works, has very little trans-formative worth.
What is needed is something totally from without our fleshly sphere of understanding and in Chris Jesus this means being born "A New Creature".
Is it really a new creature though?
The Bible says yes! This I fully believe.
We've all known people however that insists that they've accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but seem rather to be much the same old creature. What gives?
Consider the fleshly frame of reference from which we are judging them from. Granted, a person can say anything that they want; in this case let us assume that the person really believes that they are a new creature in Christ.
- What would the new creature actually look like to our fleshly eyes?
- Would it look to be perfect? No, only Christ is perfect.
- Would it look to be self empowered? No, it would look to be humbled.
- Would it look to be liberated? Honestly, it depends.
You see the problem with this form of analysis while the reprobate mind is still caught up in it's self justifying mode of operation is that it is going to pin point things it sees as evidential weaknesses to prove itself correct (which it is not).
- From a spiritual perspective Biblically what we'd expect to see is:
- A trust and acknowledgement, a faith filled sacrificial submission to God's better purpose no matter what that might be.
- Increasing growth as the new seed matures towards the fruit of the Spirit. filter:NT fruit
The new creature is best understood in two similar regards; position and progression.
First, because of what Christ was able to secure for us on the cross, we are in a completely new position spiritually with God. It is nothing that we were able to do for ourselves, nothing we deserved or were able to purchase on our own. It is completely by the grace and mercy of the atoning sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
(Regardless of what I feel or think or see in myself, regardless of what others see in me, Christ sees in me a new creature of His making; and that is all that really matters.)
With that said, the second element continues from the point of this new position forward that Christ is then able to progressively work towards a more fully developed maturation of this new creature.
Instruction and correction become for me a way of life (kjv@Proverbs:6:23). I am able to try and to test and to proof out piece by piece the excellency of His living will. I can be progressively transformed into this creature by the daily renewing of my mind (kjv@Romans:12:1-3).
Until one glorious day, when He and I shall be face to face and I will see Him as He really is, then shall His progression with me be complete (kjv@1John:3:2).
While the believer's seed may now be surrounded by the decomposing outcomes of his former fleshly life, the control of such has certainly passed into the hands of Christ, a new outcome has been provided and a course toward that outcome has been laid.
A person might perhaps step outside of his new creature fall back a step (or three) at certain times, but eventually his footing and gait are strengthened and the overall progress sustained.
Minus this Christ given power we are left to our own devices, our own strength of resolve. For some situations these devices may be all that one needs. I would caution that such situations are indicators of more serious reprobate matters that eventually are going to become more than simple non-spiritual devices will be able to manage.
To me, the object isn't to merely manage life's many issues, it is to allow Christ to overcome...to overcome in this life and the next!
I therefore resolve to follow a more Biblical course:
This entire process is perhaps best explained by the Apostle Paul in the excellent "new man" treatise of kjv@Romans:8 .
Where some new believers would believe that because of their belief in Christ that they must muster up the power within their flesh to overcome their carnal traits, we get the impression from Paul instead that it is by surrendering our reliance upon the our own human thus submitting to the powers of His Spirit within us. Here we finally see a complete break from the continuing cycles of our enslavement to the desires of flesh.
This is most important to get straight, I cannot stress this enough:
It is not by our abilities in the flesh, it is not by God somehow strengthening our inherent abilities and resolve, it is only by our submission and dependence upon God's power in the Spirit, our obedience to His Spirit, our "walk" in His Spirit.
How easy it is for the mind to confuse the two completely opposite approaches. Christ's sacrifice then is not the reason we try to do better, it is the means by which we surrender our carnal reasonings to His spiritual abilities.
mNewCreatureExodus - The sanctification process as observed in Exodus