2 Corinthians 5:17 - If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are past;Behold, all things are new.
This verse reveals truths so deep that it is worthwhile to stop for a moment. Many believe that after conversion, in view of this promise, everything is settled and that the Christian should no longer have "problems" for his life to be consistent with this experience. It follows that unfortunately, many "galera" in the realization of this promise, tainted more by the guilt and misunderstanding that is often expressed in the sermons on sanctification. First of all, I would like to say that this promise is a miracle, that it is in the realm of the supernatural and that it must be closely related to what Jesus said to Nicodemus: You must be born again! (John 3.7).
Now, we know very well that this new birth is not man's domain but that only the Spirit of God can make us "born again", and that this birth, like all the others, follows a process of development. We will dissect our verse: What is "to be in Christ"? What is "to be a new creature"? What are "old things gone"? What is it that "all things have become new"? We will try to make the difference between what is an eternal reality and the fulfillment of it in our daily lives.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - If anyone is in Christ,
So our first question is: What's in Christ? Since the rest of the verse follows from this condition, it is important to define it well. To be "in" Christ is a question of position. It's not a matter of belief, of religious practices, of doing or not doing or what you want, being "in" Christ is a position, a status. You are there or you are not there. You have this status or you do not have it. All human efforts of personal sanctification or meritorious works do not grant it because it is in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that it is obtained.
How is it going ? You hear about what Jesus did for you, you are seized by his love for you, it leads you to change your mind (repentance) and to commit to follow Him because of this love (conversion) and God makes you be born again by his Holy Spirit. Here you are "in" Christ. You are a new creature (below we will answer "what is a new creature"). When you are "in" Christ, you benefit from His status and your destiny is to reign with Him. The problem of your sin is settled, whether it is your past, your present or your future, Jesus has set the cross for you, in your place. He has fulfilled all the requirements of the Law, in your place. He sanctified Himself for you to be sanctified (John 17:19). I dare to say here that because you are "in" Christ, God accepts you, considers you as his beloved child, whatever your weaknesses, your mistakes, your failings or your difficulties in grasping the victory that this position gives you because that He sees you through Jesus. Do not let the guilt or the gaze of others stop you from benefiting from this position "in" Him. And if you have not yet been gripped by his love for you, let yourself be touched now.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - He is a new creature.
Here we are already in our second question: What is a new creature or creation? It must be understood that the human being was not created to be defiled by sin and say that when Adam and Eve chose to disobey, the whole human race became reprehensible and "irreparable" for God. Evidently, God, who loves men so much, could not leave things in this state. So He has decided to create a new humanity, and this new humanity is made up of men and women who are not born according to the will of man but are born of God Himself (John 1: 13). This new humanity is created from the new birth of which we have already spoken and it has been revealed to the world on the day of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit being the seal of God testifying that we are part of this new creation (2 Corinthians 1.22). I know, it sounds a bit "technical" what I just said, here's a probably more telling example: You're a fish! Your nature is to live in the water, you are comfortable there like a fish in the water, it is the case to say it. Our fish is the sinful man, it is his nature of sin, he is like that, he has inherited from these ancestors the desire for evil. God does not "tinker" our fish to live a little better, He does something new: say a man. The nature of this man is to live differently, he has abilities that the fish does not have and his environment is quite different but ... because there is a but, our man can sometimes still fall into the water (sin), that does not mean that he is not a new creature and that he has become a "fish" again! We must learn to grow in this new creature that we are.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - The old things are past;
"The old things are past" ... This is where the problems begin. By becoming this "new creature" we believe that "here it is, I am perfect and I will do everything well". Like any birth, the "new birth" is a process that takes time, support and patience. Whether you're a parent or not, blame a baby or a young child for learning about life. You have to feed him, take care of him, change the diapers and teach him little by little to grow in life! On the spiritual plane, it's exactly the same thing, the one who turned to Jesus needs us to take care of him, help him in his learning of life with God and sometimes, for do not say often, you have to change the layers. John, in his first letter, chapter 2 verses 12 to 14 teaches us this principle. He tells us about three categories of "Christians", the little children, the young people and the fathers. Each category has its characteristics, the little children need two fundamental things, to learn what is the forgiveness of their own faults and the unconditional love of the Father. So do not panic, you just started to believe and be born to this new life. You have to go step by step, step by step, leaving time to time.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - All things have become new.
"All things have become new"! Yes, beyond what we have been able to say in the preceding paragraphs, it is a spiritual reality. With the miracle of the new birth, our spirit, who was dead, can taste again the presence of God, his Holy Spirit. Our destiny to hell has changed into a destiny for glory. If our growth in this new life follows its normal course, God will make us men made, full of grace and the fruit of the Spirit that is love, peace, joy ... In this growth, he there is an important stage, that of spiritual adolescence.One day or another, we will face the evil face (1 John 2:14) to take our victory and our liberation. The bonds, the demonic influences of our old life, our old habits will require that we fight until victory. The purpose of learning the Word of God is to lead us to full freedom. It is with this Word that Jesus fully triumphed over the devil.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are past; behold, all things are new.
I would like to finish this chapter on the goal to achieve. Paul tells us that Jesus gave the servants of God to help each member reach it (Ephesians 4:13). The goal is to become mature. This maturity is manifested in a great knowledge of Him who is from the beginning (1 John 2:13) and we recognize of course Jesus, our leader, our leader. Those who have reached this stage, we call them dads and spiritual moms. They all have a great knowledge of God, not theological or academic, but they have learned to know how God thinks because they have spent a lot of time listening to him. He often speaks to them, not in the violent breath or the fire, but in the soft and light whisper. They have a heart for unity and know how to let themselves be used by their Lord to manifest His grace and love. They or they have a lot of spiritual authority but without imposing it or demonstrating it in a spectacular way, yet, often out of sight, they or they win great victories. If you meet them, you will find them easily. They are welcoming, full of love and sweetness, even small (physical) children come to them because they feel peace, they exude kindness and humility. These adults understood the greatest of things: Love (in the definition of 1 Corinthians 13). For them, they went from a selfish, rebellious and depraved human being to an altruistic, gentle and graceful spiritual being. "All things have become new", with the time, this promise takes all its dimension.
This promise can become yours! But how to get there? This is what we will see in the next chapters.