From Old to New

Bob Murray

Matt preached an excellent message to kick off 2021 at the start of the series “Hot Mess.” In this message, he followed the life of Jacob until God changed his name/identity from Jacob the deceiver to Israel, a wrestler with and champion of God. He concluded in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 and discussed how God also changes our identity as believers, and it is to this group of verses that I would bid you go deeper in your studies, this today. Looking at the complete setting of this verse in 2 Corinthians 5:16-19, we find:

Wherefore {as a result of Christ dying for all & rising again – see vs 14-15} henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yes, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more {in this manner}. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature {creation}: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new {new things have come}. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit {namely}, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

The point of expanding to include more verses is to set the context of the means by which God has placed our identity in Christ. Digging into this a bit we find, as a result of Christ dying for all and rising again, those who are “in Christ” can/should reckon something to be true by faith and that is (vs. 16) we no longer know Christ or any man in Christ “after the flesh”. Something changed!

And what changed (vs. 17) is, instead of the earthly promises of Israel (who were concluded in unbelief along with the Gentiles for unbelief, Romans 11:32), we have new provision from God. This provision from God is that for any man/woman/child who is “in Christ” (by the simple belief of the Gospel), there is a new creature/creation. Old things (knowing after the flesh) have passed away and the new things have come. Verse 18 continues to explain that now, “all things are of God” and God has “reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ”. In other words, (vs. 19), rather than imputing the trespasses of the world to people, God instead reconciled the world (people) unto himself, “in Christ”. So, as a result of the new things that have come in the place of the old, we are a part of that new creation and enjoy a new standing before God as “reconciled”. (Note: reconciled in this setting means a renewed friendship after enmity or simply a making of peace.)

But what “new things” are now come which allowed God to do this? That takes more digging, but I suggest we consider what Paul had previously written to the Corinthian believers about something which had not previously existed under the “old things” that passed away: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. …..Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

As a result of Christ dying for all and rising again, the “old things” passed away and God introduced “new things” in this age, wherein those that simply believe the Gospel are taken into Christ’s death and resurrection, united with Him such that “Now you are the body of Christ”. This is us “in Christ”, via the new creation. But it doesn’t stop there, for in Paul’s subsequent inspired writings in Colossians 1:25-27 the conclusion of all of this is not only us in Christ but also (vs 27) “….God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”. By this new creation, we have all of Christ and Christ has all of us, an incredible new creation identity in Him! What a deal!!

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