"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: o1d things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17
As a new child of God, having been baptized into the death of Jesus, you have the blessing of being anew creature, pure and blameless in God's eyes. The Bible speaks of the Purity of holiness and that is what has made you pure--the holiness of God and his love in sending His son.
In Romans 6:4, we read that those of us who have been buried with Jesus through baptism into death, were raised from the waters of baptism like Jesus was raised from the dead--that we might walk in newness of life.
We know from studying Mark 15:37, 46, and 16:6, that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. He received a new life after his burial. This is the same thing that happens to us when we obey the first steps of the gospel. We die to sin (our old way of life), are buried in baptism, then arise out of the water with a new life. The new person is not like the old person. The physical body still looks the same. We are the same age, have the same name, and have the same voice. What is different? How are we new?
When Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome in Romans 6:17, he says that they were slaves of sin. But they obeyed the teachings of Christ, and now they are set free from sin. When Paul wrote this letter, nobody needed to have explained what he was talking about. At that time, 50% of the world was living in slavery. Men, women, and children, were bought and sold everyday, just as if they had no rights, no feelings, no soul.
When a slave was set free, his freedom was usually bought by a friend or a member of his family who was not in slavery. They paid the price in order to rescue their loved one from slavery.
You and I were slaves--perhaps not physically, but certainly spiritual slaves. But since we are new creatures, with our freedom bought by Jesus, we have all the rights and freedoms that belong to God's child.
Our release from slavery is not a partial thing. It is complete. 1 John 1:7 tells us that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins. It has not just made us new, or clean, in some areas. We are new through and through.
SERVANT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Romans 6:18 tells us that we are no longer servants of sin, but are now servants of righteousness. A servant of sin obeys his own desires. He does things that are wrong, but doesn't care, because that is just what he wants to do. He goes to places he wants to go, wears the kinds of clothes he wants to, speaks the kind of language he wants to talk, treats other people the way he wants to, treats his body as if it belonged to him. He lives each day just exactly like he wants to.
But what about the servant of righteousness? This servant obeys God, who is the creator of righteousness. Righteousness means goodness. A person, therefore, who is a servant to goodness, is going to do what is right. Sometimes he does right because he wants to, since he has changed in so many ways. But sometimes, he doesn't want to do good--but he does it anyway--because he knows that he is living for God now, and wants to please God instead of himself.
A servant of righteousness puts himself and his desires in the background. When he goes to a place, he first considers if Jesus would have been in that place, if He was alive today. When he selects his clothes, he considers if Jesus would approve of the type of garments he wants to wear. Are they modest? Are they helping to make the inner person more beautiful?
When he speaks, his language will be the kind that he knows will please God. Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth." By taking out of our mouths all cursing and foul language, we know that we will be speaking wholesome words, just as God wants us to. Lying will no longer be apart of our actions, because Colossians 3:9 tells us not to lie, when we have taken away the old self.
In the treatment of other people, the person who has become a servant of righteousness will do as Jesus commanded in Matthew 19:19, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Do you love yourself? Since each of us is created by God, and now, as a born-again child of God, you are a special person.
A SPECIAL PERSON
There is no other person in the world exactly like you. He created you in His spiritual image, Genesis 1:26. Even though, as we began to sin and kept on sinning, we separated ourselves from God, we now have been recreated in that pure spiritual image. You are the best thing that God made; and now you've been born again into His family.
If you love yourself, you can then love your neighbor. Neighbor does not mean just the person next door or across the street. Neighbor means your fellowman. Anybody with whom you come in contact is your neighbor. So, as a servant of righteousness and a new creature, you will treat each person in your life as you would want to be treated.
Romans 12:2 tells us not to be like the rest of the world or to have the ways of the world. From reading Matthew 7:21-23, we see that many are in sin and will continue to be, even until Judg-ment Day. And Matthew 7:13 tells us that many will follow the way leading to destruction. "Many" in these verses is the same thing as "the world" in Romans 12:2. We do not want to be like the world, even though we have to live in the world.
The second part of Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. When we become a new person, living for Jesus, our lives are transformed. To transform means to change. We are changed when we put on Jesus. In order to bring about this change, not only do we obey God through believing that Jesus is His Son repenting of our sins, confessing the name of Christ, and being baptized--but we renew our minds. To renew is to make great changes. As a Christian, we make great changes in our lives.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul is talking to a group of people who are Christians. He tells them in chapter 6:11 that as followers of Jesus, they were washed, sanctified. justified in the name of the Lord. They were washed in the water of baptism, washed clean from all sin. They were sanctified--or set apart. To stay free from the sin of the world, a follower of Jesus must be set apart. He must be different. His outward appearance will be different to the world, and his inward, spiritual self will be different. In Titus 2:14, Christians are said to be peculiar, or special, God's own people. Also read 1 Peter 2:9.
A NEW LIFE
2 Corinthians 5:17 calls you a "new creature." Old things are passed away; new things have come. Your old life is' gone; the new one is unfolding before you. How can this new life be?
In Galatians 2:20, Paul says that as a Christian, Jesus lives in him. As a Christian, Jesus lives in you!
When you go to the store to buy something, you want it to be new. You can tell by looking at it if it is new or not. If it is, it will be shiny, without dirt, unbroken. When we become new creatures, we are like that new thing you buy--we shine with the light of Jesus Christ. We are with out the dirt of sin. We are born again without flaws.
In Ephesians 4:22, Paul refers to our former manner of life--the way we lived before becoming followers of Christ. He says that way of life is to be laid aside, and our minds be renewed. Then in Ephesians 4:24, we are told to put on a new self. This new self, according to this verse, has been created in the likeness of God.
A very meaningful story is found in Matthew 12:43-45. This passage talks about a man who had evil in his life. The man put the evil out of his life. But he did not then fill his life up with good, and after awhile, the evil returned, found the man was idle, and took over his life again.
This same thing can happen to you and me. Once we become that new creature, not only do we put all wrong out of our lives--we must seek out the good things, the things that please God, and fill up our lives with them.
Suppose we quit running around with old friends who may have had a bad influence on us. Then we need to make new friends--Christian friends, who can help us to stay strong. Many of the things we did before for recreation and fun will need to be changed. But we can't just take all recreation and fun out of our lives. We must fill that hole back up with clean fun. Activities with other Christians can keep us happy and busy, and give us that full, abundant life that Jesus promised us in John 10:10.
When a baby is born, brand new in the world, it can't do so many things. It starts out by turning its head. Then raising its head. Later on it crawls, then walks, falling over and over again. As the baby grows through childhood, it learns to run, without fear. Later, that child becomes an adult, and perhaps a parent. Then the parent begins training his baby to crawl, to walk, and the cycle begins again.
You are like that baby. When you were created new as you came up from baptismal waters, you were not born full-grown. 1 Peter 2:2 tells us that we, like newborn babies, thirst for the pure milk of the word, and by drinking of that milk (studying the word), you may grow and continue in your salvation. In other words, by growing and maturing in the Lord, you stay saved.
No matter what kind of person you were before you put on Christ, you now stand before him--washed, pure, sinless, set apart, changed, a servant of righteousness, a NEW CREATURE.
What Does It Mean?
blameless--without fault; free from blame
(Before answering any questions, look up all scriptures given in the lesson.)