A NEW CREATURE
"He is a new creature." 2 Cor. 5:17
This is the result of the workmanship of God. He makes me what he would have me to be. And when his work is finished, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. It is a blessed title. The Christian is a new creature. The Savior died in his place, and he died in him. Thus his condemnation, burden, and punishment have all passed by. All things in his relationships and his prospects have been made new. And the Holy Spirit has come to him, to teach him these glad tidings; has awakened him, transformed him, renewed him, made him alive by His power, and alive to God forever. Thus in his own character and state, his motives, purposes, and plan of life, all things have become new. This is true of every Christian. If I am a Christian, this is true of me. Let me think of it as belonging to me.
1. I am not what I once was. This is a great comfort. Feeble and imperfect as I am, I can look back and see a very different state, and a very sad state, which has passed away. Then I was indifferent to religion, and careless about my soul. I am not so now. Then the service of God seemed to me a task and a burden. It does not so now. Then I was without prayer, or a desire to pray. I am not so now. Then I was extremely anxious about earthly things, and my whole heart was there. It is not so now. Then I had no desire to live for God. I did not feel the burden of my inward sin. The prospect of eternity did not interest or alarm me. Ah, all these are not so now! I am not what I was. This change is the work of the Spirit, beyond all doubt. I could never have wrought it myself. I was dead; I could not bring myself to life. It is all new. I well remember when I had it not. This is a great comfort to me. Though I mourn over my great sinfulness, and feel it deeply; though I see myself in everything very far from what I ought to be; still I have great comfort in looking back upon the past. I cannot doubt that God has done all this for my soul.
2. Then he who has thus created me anew, will keep me, and finish his work. This is a great encouragement to me. My difficulties are many--far more than I can overcome. My inward corruptions defy my power to conquer them. If I were to depend upon myself, I should be completely discouraged. But surely God will never forsake me. If he had intended my destruction, he would have left me where I was. I was destroyed--lost in sin. He does nothing without a purpose. His gifts are without his subsequent repentance. His works reveal his mind. Every blessing I have received, is an argument for what he means to do for me, and with me. This greatly encourages me. He is on my side. Why should I fear? I will press forward in the path of duty. I will be faithful and patient in every trial. I will be steadfast and determined in every contest. I will be unchanging in my perseverance through the whole. I know that he will never forsake me. He will not despise nor reject the work of his own hands. He who has begun a good work in me, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. This hope abides steadfast.
3. But I am not what I ought to be, and this should keep me humble and watchful. My privileges are great. My opportunities and means are most valuable and important. Ah, how improved and sanctified my whole life ought to be! But what evil tempers still lurk within me! What unholiness still abides! What sinful affections are still here! How far am I from that holy, heavenly mind which I ought to possess! How little have I of that mind of Christ, which was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sin! All this should humble me greatly. I am very far behind what I might have been. I see many who have entirely outstripped me in the Christian race. I think of the blessings I might have conferred upon others, of the example I might have presented, of the influence I might have exercised. I am distressed when I call these things to remembrance. I abhor myself as a defiler and corrupter of the precious gifts of God which I have received. But this should make me also more watchful. I am not straitened in God. He is willing to bestow boundless gifts upon me. Oh that I may come to him for more! Let me daily strive to live more as a new creature; and in everything to show forth the work of the Spirit in my heart.
4. But then I shall be all that God intends for me; and this supports me. But for this I should verily faint. He will not leave me nor forsake me. He will bring me into light and obedience, and entire conformity to himself. Whatever are my infirmities, my faults, or doubts, if I still cleave to him, he will carry on his work. I shall behold his face in holiness, and be renewed after his image, and rejoice in the completion of his work. This blessed prospect keeps me up. Unholy tempers are not forever. Enemies do not arise eternally. If I contend, I shall conquer. If I strive, I shall attain. If I endure, I shall receive the reward. God has provided far better things for me, and has revealed them to me. He has bid me look up for a coming deliverance, and rejoice in the prospect of his glory. As his new creature, he will yet make all things new for me. I shall be his forever.
5. How important is this title! As I think of it, and the grace which has bestowed it, how it tends to comfort me with my past deliverance; to encourage me with my Divine supports; to subdue and humble me with a sense of my deficiencies; and to support and animate me with my future prospects! Oh let me not come short of what the Lord designs and requires! His thoughts concerning me are "thoughts of peace, and not of evil." Let me daily grow in his favor, and in the knowledge of him. Thus shall his work be completed at last, and he will rejoice over it; and "he that reaps and he that sows will rejoice together."