Chapter 11. Living As a New Creature
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).
The beginning of a new lifeAs we've seen so far, after you accept Christ's help and give up your control of your selfishness, He gives you all sorts of gifts, such as repentence, pardon, subduing of the old selfish nature (circumcision of the heart), freedom from your old ruler, a new heart (spiritual nature) and you are born again. Thus, you become a new creature.
"As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus" (Christ's Object Lessons 162.4).Emerging as a new creature is essentially the same as receiving a new heart and being born again, but it emphasizes that you are just beginning a new journey and must continue to grow up. Thus begins your new direction in life. Living as a new creature is a journey, a process of restoring you back to the original way God created humans.
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).Faith is the beginning and ongoing foundation of all transformation, and as this proceeds the new creature continues to develop additional attributes.
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge" (2 Peter 1:5).
"'Add to your faith virtue.' There is no promise given to the one who is retrograding. The apostle, in his testimony, is aiming to excite the believers to advancement in grace and holiness. They already profess to be living the truth, they have a knowledge of the precious faith, they have been made partakers of the divine nature. But if they stop here they will lose the grace they have received" (Our High Calling 68.2).
Growing vs. WitheringA true new birth experience includes a desire to discover, understand and do the will of God. A new believer cannot stop after accepting Christ. A profession of Christiantiy does not suffice. Purporting to love God, without obeying God, is not faith.
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).You must seek after the will of God and implement it into your life through Christ's power. The text above goes on to say:
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:22-23).Those who call upon the Lord, but continue to "work iniquity" are not continuing on and growing as a new creature. The creature will begin to wither and die. This is true even if you are doing "many wonderful works," such as helping with community projects, volunteering in church ministries, donating money to charity, attending Bible studies, etc. These "works" without an accompanying change of character are useless in experiencing a saving relationship with Jesus.
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12, 13).In addition to giving you permission or authority to begin your journey as a son or daughter of God and take back control of your heart from Satan, He also gives you the new nature necessary in order to live peacefully and happily as part of that new family.
The new youAlthough totally new and unique, the new creature is still, in essence, you. Every person always has distinguishing properties that serve to characterize or identify him or her. This is indicated in the following Bible text.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new [kainos] creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).The Greek word for "new" in this text ("kainos"), means fresh, youthful or regenerated. It is still you, but a fresh you! The Greek word in the same text translated to "creature" is "ktisis", which means an original formation. This indicates that the new creature is unique, not having been in existance before. However, even though this "New Creature" is unique and original, it still incorporates the individual's personality. It is you, but with an inclination towards new motives, new tastes and new tendencies. The new formation is the divine-human union (see chapter on "Receiving a New Heart").
Definition:New Creature: A fresh you; that which makes you unique, minus your old selfish nature, plus Christ's Spiritual nature of pure motives and loving tendencies.
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Eph. 4:22-24) (see also Romans 6:6).
"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Gal. 5:24-25).Though in a sense you must die, you do not lose your individuality, and you will not lose any of your abilities.
"By laws and resources God has ordained a heavenly communication with man's spiritual life that in its action is a mysterious as the science and operation of the wind (John 3:7, 8)...So spiritual is the character of God's work upon the human heart that receives it that it makes every one a new creature without destroying or weakening any capability God has given to man. It purifies every attribute fit for connection with the divine nature" (Mind, Character, and Personality Volume 1 - 14.3-4).
"The Lord does not desire that our individuality shall be destroyed; it is not His purpose that any two persons shall be exactly alike in tastes and dispositions. All have characteristics peculiar to themselves, and these are not to be destroyed, but to be trained, molded, fashioned, after the similitude of Christ. The Lord turns the natural aptitudes and capabilities into profitable channels" (Our High Calling, 90.4).This fresh new you, will lose some very nasty characteristics.
- a) Darkness/Cloudy Mind (Not understanding)
"The truths of God's word are not mere sentiments, but the utterances of the Most High. He who makes these truths a part of his life becomes in every sense a new creature. He is not given new mental powers, but the darkness that through ignorance and sin has clouded the understanding is removed" (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students - 452.2).
- b) Selfishness
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16:24).
"Selfishness is the strongest and most general of human impulses, the struggle of the soul between sympathy and covetousness is an unequal contest...When the heart is cleansed from sin, Christ is placed on the throne that self-indulgence and love of earthly treasure once occupied." (Counsels on Stewardship 25.1, 27.5).
By now, we've discussed much about what the new creature loses, so let's move on to a more thorough examination of what is gained. The removal of the wall of misunderstanding and selfishness makes room for the new good things with which God will fill you. This is further illustrated in the next chapter by the new wine.
Next Bible Term: Putting New Wine In New Skins
Conversion: The singular instance in time when you become willing and equipped to begin the process of true character transformation.
Overcoming: The process of character transformation and development.
Authentication: The testing and proving of character and its rewards.