The New Creation
By James Smith, 1861
"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature." 2 Corinthians 5:17
It is a miraculous thing to be a Christian, for real Christianity is the effect of a new creation. To make a Christian, requires the same power as to make a world! Nothing less than the power exerted in raising the dead body of Jesus from the tomb — can raise a sinner from a death in trespasses and sins! In every instance of real conversion, the almighty power of God is exerted, a new creation is produced, and union with Christ who is the fountain of life is effected. "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature."
The distinguishing PRIVILEGE of the believer, is that he is "in Christ."We were all originally in fallen Adam, and from his loins we flowed. No one is in Christ by nature — but only by an act of sovereign grace. Yet all Christians are in Christ, nor can anyone be a Christian without being vitally united to Christ. As the manslayer fled to the city of refuge for safety — so does the believer flee to Christ. As Noah entered into the ark for preservation from the deluge — so does the believer hide in Christ, that he may be preserved from the wrath to come. As the branch is in the vine, supported and supplied by the vine, and forms a part of the vine — so is the believer in Christ, supported and supplied by Christ, and is really one with Christ. As the member is in the body, presided over by the head, and forms part of the body — so the Christian is in Christ, is presided over by Christ, and forms part of Christ. "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." Christ dwells in the believer — as his temple; and the believer dwells in Christ — as his refuge, stronghold, and ark of safety.
The invariable RESULT of being in Christ:"If any man is in Christ — he is a new creature." Every one that is in Christ — is new created. He is "Created anew in Christ, unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." The believer is not to be looked upon as a Jew, or a Gentile — for in Christ Jesus "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision, nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian bond nor free; but Christ is all and in all."
Being in Christ, we are new created — and have a new LIFE, which is spiritual, derived from a new source, not from Adam but from Christ.
Being in Christ, we feed on new PROVISION — even the bread of life which came down from Heaven, and the living water which only Jesus can give.
Being in Christ, we are occupied with new SUBJECTS, which are placed before us by the gospel, and engage our thoughts, affections, and time.
Being in Christ, we are engaged in new EMPLOYMENTS, we work the works of God, endeavor to do the will of God from the heart, and to glorify our glorious Savior.
Being in Christ, we walk in a new PATH — the way of holiness. We walk in newness of life. We walk with God — and desire to walk worthy of God, who has called us unto his kingdom and glory.
Being in Christ, we act from new MOTIVES, for the love of Christ constrains us, and we no longer labor for eternal life, because we have it; nor for Heaven, because we have already received a title to it — but as bought with a price, we desire only to glorify God in our acts and thoughts.
Being in Christ, we join a new SOCIETY, for we choose the company of the saints, whom we esteem as the excellent of the earth; and therefore we join ourselves to the disciples.
Being in Christ, we look for a new HEAVEN, and in order to the possession of it, we wait for Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.
O blessed state — to be in Christ! O glorious privilege and distinction — to be new creatures!
Union to Christ is of the greatest IMPORTANCE.Without this there is no eternal safety, no true dignity, no solid happiness. It is only as one with Christ — that we are justified, that we are sanctified, that we can be glorified. Let us never rest satisfied with anything short of union to Christ, and that manifested in living fellowship with Christ.
All who are in Christ are new created. Many are convinced of sin, many are deeply impressed, many are harassed with the temptations of Satan, and many suffer much from the terrors of the law — who are never brought into saving union with Christ. Only by a new birth, only as born of the Spirit, can we come into the enjoyment of this blessed privilege, or enjoy this high distinction. Let no one therefore stop short of that thorough change of heart, which results from saving union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
God looks upon his new creation, with more delight than he did upon his creation of the world! When he had finished the fitting up of the world to be the residence and home of man, he looked over and examined all that he had made, and, behold, it was very good — and God rested from his work. But he knew that that work would be marred, that his lovely creatures would fall into sin, and become his enemies — and these thoughts were present before him when he rested, and was refreshed.
But as he looks upon his new creation, and sees his newly begotten children united to his beloved Son, invested with his righteousness, and possessed with his Spirit — he knows that they will never so fall, will never become his foes; but that all, each, and every one of them will be saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation, and so he rests in his love, and rejoices over them with singing!
Part 2. THE TRANSITION
"Old things are passed away! Behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
The change that takes place in conversion to God is very great; it has even been questioned, whether the change from grace to glory, is so great as the change from nature to grace. We can scarce conceive of a greater change than the new creation of the soul, when all within and all without is changed, as says the apostle, "Old things are passed away! Behold, all things are become new."
To the regenerated soul, to the man that is in Christ,
"Old things are passed away."
The old STATE passes away:
He was in a state of condemnation — but he is now justified.
He was under law — he is now under grace.
He was a child of wrath — he is now an object of God's highest love.
The old PRINCIPLES pass away:
He was under the legal covenant, and was influenced by fear.
He is now under the new covenant, and is influenced by love.
The old DISPOSITION passes away:
He was once carnal, he is now spiritual.
He had the disposition of the slave, he has now the disposition of the loving child.
The old CHARACTER passes away:
He was God's enemy, as living in sin; but he has now put off the old man with his deeds: and has put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
The old CONNECTION passes away:
He comes out of the world, becomes distinct from the world, and is connected with the church in its privileges and duties.
Thus "old things are passed away," he is not what he once
was — but has passed through a thorough and abiding change. To him,
"All things are become new."
There is a new FEDERAL HEAD; he is no longer represented by the first Adam — but the second; he is not connected with Adam — but with Christ.
There is a new PARADISE; with its flowers and fruits, its flowing river, and tree of life. The privileges of the gospel form a paradise now; and introduce to a yet more glorious one to come.
There is a new COVENANT; not of works — but of grace:
A better covenant, established on better promises.
An everlasting covenant, which shall never give place to another.
A covenant that provides . . .
a Substitute, to undertake our responsibilities,
a Surety, to pay our debts,
a Mediator, to officiate between us and God.
A covenant ordered in all things and sure.
There is a new RULE of life; for the law goes forth from Zion — a law embodied in Jesus, represented by Jesus, and illustrated by the life of Jesus. True, it embodies in itself all that is moral in the Bible — but it descends to all the relations, duties, and circumstances of every-day life. A rule so perfect, so comprehensive, and so plain — that we cannot need a fuller, or clearer, or additional one.
There are new RELATIONSHIPS; all things stand in a new
relation to the believer.
God is his Father.
Jesus is his Brother.
The Holy Spirit is his Teacher, Guide, and Comforter.
The angels are his guard, and servants.
The earth is to him a wilderness.
Heaven is his home.
The believer stands in a new RELATION to all things.
He is God's child.
He is the Savior's servant.
He is the Spirit's temple.
He is the angel's charge.
He is to the world — a witness and reprover.
He is Satan's foe.
There are new EXPERIENCES. The believer has . . .
new desires and wishes,
hopes and fears,
new joys and sorrows,
new conflicts and conquests,
new griefs and pleasures.
"Behold, all things are become new."
He is in a new WORLD, and to him the Bible is a new BOOK, prayer is a new EXERCISE, and fellowship with the saints, a new EMPLOYMENT. He hears a new LANGUAGE, understands new SUBJECTS, pursues new OBJECTS, and lives a new LIFE. He can say with Paul, "The life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved rne, and gave himself for me."
He lives to Christ.
He lives for Christ.
He lives like Christ.
He is preparing to live with Christ.
Reader, have you experienced this great and solemn change? The question is momentous.
Can you be new created — and not know it?
Can you pass from death unto life — and not know it?
Can you be in Christ — and not know it?
Can you be a new creature — and not know it?
Have old things passed away, and all things become new — and not know it!
We cannot conceive of this!
The transition may be so gentle, so gradual, that you may be in some doubt about it; but if you examine your tastes, your desires, your general state of mind; and if you compare the present with the past, you must know something about it. Do not rest satisfied with any uncertainty upon the point: but seek the witness of the Holy Spirit, and by close communion with God, and put the matter out of doubt.
Do you enjoy your privileges?
Are you living as a new creature?
Are you walking in newness of life?
Do you realize that you are in a justified state, entitled to all new covenant blessings, and are God's beloved and accepted child? Greater privileges, if you are in Christ, you cannot have — but enjoy them more than you do — you may. Have you avowed the transition? Does the church know that you have passed from death to life, that you are in Christ, that to you all things are become new? Have you professed Christ, and publiciy put him on before the world? If you have not — you should. The light that is in you, should not be put under a bushel — but on a candlestick. Your light should shine, that by your profession of Christ, by your imitation of Christ, and by the entire consecration of yourself and all you have to the glory and honor of Christ, men may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.