2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
You know that it’s always fun to have something new.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cheap or expensive, special or ordinary, rare or common. Nothing can give us more excitement than having new things, may it be a brand new ferrari or just a cheap toy from a local store. We show, share, and tell others of it. But come to think of this, if things give you a sense of happiness and joy, how much more when God declares you, your very own being, new? Won’t this make you even more excited and drive you to pick your spiritual shovel to dig out the treasure hidden inside this new creature God himself the master creator made you to be?
Let’s start. The verse above made a conclusive declaration that any man found “in Christ” becomes brand new. The former is gone and the new has come. The new is not just a mere improvement of the old but a total obliteration of it. Which means, all the things that go along with the old man is also gone. Both the old man and the old things are no more.
Understanding Spiritual Language
One quiet cool evening, a man named Nicodemus (let’s call him Nic) came to Jesus privately (John 3). Conversation started. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Nic, like most of us would do, argued the impossibility of being born twice. Common sense won’t permit it. “How can that be?”, Nic responded.
Jesus expounded, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”. Then proceeds… “so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”. Jesus made Nic even more puzzled and confused. In another setup, Jesus said, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” What? Jesus is bread? A talking bread? And what hunger and thirst is He talking about?
To add confusion, Paul said to the Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live” (Galatians 2:20). Look! A dead man writing an epistle telling them that he was crucified with Christ.
Obviously, this sounds ridiculous if taken literally. Paul and Jesus were not crucified at the same time and a dead writer doesn’t exist. Jesus & Paul did not speak in literal/physical terms. There’s no other explanation. In John 6:33, Jesus made this plain to us, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
There you go. Both Paul and Jesus spoke in spiritual terms that pertains to spiritual things and life. Jesus spoke of spiritual birth and Paul of spiritual death and life. An essential principle to keep in mind as we go along with our discussion.
In Adam (Sin and Death), In Christ (Life)
Now, let us do a little investigative task. When did the old man die? …and Where? When did he become new? And what are the new things that come along with him?
1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
From the verse above, a man can only be in one of this two positions: In Christ or In Adam. If in Adam, death. If in Christ, life. When Adam disobeyed God, sin entered. It permeated to all of Adam’s offspring. No one is exempted, all is under sin (Romans 7:14, Romans 5:19 and Galatians 3:22).
Romans 3:9 says, “What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.”
When, where, and how the old man died?
Sin requires death as its payment (Romans 6:23). Man has to die. Since the lost and hopeless sinful sinning sinner condemned to death couldn’t come to a righteous, just, and holy God it was God who came instead. Jesus came. He took the sinner and his sins with Him on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). We were “in Christ”. As Jesus was hanging on that coarse wooden cross excruciating in pain–bearing our sin and shame, God the Father saw us “in Christ”. The full weight of God’s holy wrath intended for the sinner was exhausted on His beloved Son (Isaiah 53:4-5). Christ died and so did we (Galatians 2:20).
When, where, and how did the new man come to life?
To all of us, death is the end. But that is not the case for Jesus. He rose from his grave. But he did not rise alone, he rose with us. We were with him in his death, his burial, and his resurrection (Romans 6:4). In fact, we are seated with Him right now (Ephesians 2:6). Our life is hidden in Him (Colossians 3:3). Christ is alive and so are we.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
Amen and Amen!
To Wrap it All
Below are few important points to summarize the things that were discussed.
- There are two positions in which a man could be at, in Christ or in Adam ( in Sin ). There’s no middle ground.
- In Adam is death, condemnation and wrath but in Christ is life, righteousess, and life eternal. To further understand the ramifications of both positions, please see this table.
- The man has to be in Christ. He is to believe that Jesus alone paid the debt of his sins (Romans 6:23). He is to be well aware of the fact that He is a sinner who needs a savior. It means that none of his effort, performance, and religiosity can save him.
- Anyone who puts his faith in Jesus becomes a brand new person. The old is no more and a new life sprung. And we are commanded to discover and live our lives according to the new man that God created us in Christ(Ephesians 4:22-24).
- Where did the old man die? In the cross. When? When Jesus died.
- When did the new come alive? When Jesus rose from the grave.
- The old man and all things that relates to him are totally different from the new. Which means, God is treating the man in Christ differently than the man who is still in sin. Its remarkably important to discover the difference.
- The life therefore of the new man is Jesus. God sees him as he sees his Son Jesus. We are in Christ and Christ is in us(1 John 4:17). Since its Jesus life through us, its not up to us, and definitely not about us anymore.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.