Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
In his book, An Anthropologist on Mars, neurologist Oliver Sacks talks about Virgil, a man who had been blind from early childhood. When he was 50, Virgil underwent surgery and was given the gift of sight. But as he and Dr. Sacks found out, having the physical capacity for sight is not the same as seeing. Virgil's first experiences with sight were confusing. He was able to make out colors and movements but arranging them into a coherent picture was more difficult. Over time he learned to identify various objects, but his habits--his behaviors--were still those of a blind man. Dr. Sacks asserts, "One must die as a blind person to be born again as a seeing person. It is the interim, the limbo . . . that is so terrible." To truly see Jesus and his truth means more than observing what he did or said, it means a change of identity. Terry Seufferlein Norman, Oklahoma.
Refurbishment is the distribution of products that have been previously returned to a manufacturer or vendor for various reasons. The goal is to repair the product and make it like-new condition, but it is not new. Thus, the warranty for such a product is less than the warranty on a new one. Refurbished products are usually cheaper than new ones.
Believers in Christ are not refurbished. We have not been repaired or restored to like-new condition. We are made new through faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus did not repair our sinful nature. That nature is destined for destruction. It cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus did not change us; He gave us a new identity. We have the blessed assurance of eternal life, and our salvation was certainly not cheap. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
Living in Christ means dying to our old selves. Only by accepting our new nature as Spirit-filled disciples of Jesus Christ who are heaven-bound can we walk in the light of Christ. Many believers live as if they’ve been refurbished. Their behaviors are still those of sinful individuals, their conversations, attitudes, and interests are still worldly. They may speak "Christianese," but they have not been transformed into the image of Christ.
Jesus did not come on earth to refurbish humanity. The forces of darkness did not return us to our creator. On the contrary, we were made a slave to sin and the forces of darkness since the fall of Adam and Eve. Jesus came to set us free and gave us a new identity. As stated by R.A. Torrey, “When Jesus died, He died as my representative, and I died in Him; when He arose, He rose as my representative, and I arose in Him; when He ascended up on high and took His place at the right hand of the Father in the glory, He ascended as my representative and I ascended in Him, and today I am seated in Christ with God in the heavenlies. I look at the cross of Christ, and I know that atonement has been made for my sins; I look at the open sepulcher and the risen and ascended Lord, and I know the atonement has been accepted. There no longer remains a single sin on me, no matter how many or how great my sins may have been.”
That’s what it means to be made new. Our new nature is sinless. This is our true self—the one that will inherit the kingdom of God. When that true self is prioritized over our sinful nature we walk in the fullness of God and remain hidden in God with Christ. Anything good and godly we do is not because the old nature has been changed, but it is because our new nature is stepping up to walk according to the Spirit of God who dwells in it.
Questions for Personal Reflection
How are you living out your new identity in Christ Jesus?
How can you help friends and loved ones to receive their new identity through Jesus?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I want to thank you for giving me a new identity through Christ Jesus. Please give me the spiritual discipline and strength to activate my Christ-like identity so that I can continue to do “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.” If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, please help me to think about such things,” through Christ Jesus.