Have you read 2 Corinthians 5:17? This is a verse that is commonly quoted, but what does it actually mean to be a new creation? What things passed away and what things are made new?
The truths found in this verse are life changing and important to understand.
To be a new creation in Christ means that the spirit of man has been recreated. The old spirit of man, or fallen sin nature, is destroyed and replaced with the new nature that is made in the likeness of God. This miracle occurs when a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior and receives salvation.
When I was a child in a denominational church, I heard that when you get saved, your slate was wiped clean and you got a fresh start. But frankly I had no clue what this meant. I was smart enough to know that I was probably going to mess this fresh start up before I left the Church building. I knew the slate was not going to stay clean very long. It just never made sense to me.
As an adult, the Lord has given me understanding of what it really means to be a new creation and what actually happened when I got saved. It is amazing how many Christians really have no clue what it means to be a new creation or what happened when they received salvation. This understanding has radically changed my life and I am excited to share it with you.
What Does the Bible Say About Becoming a New Creation in Christ?
The phrase “new creation” comes from a verse of the Bible found in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
The Bible says that becoming a new creation is what happens when you receive salvation. Your old spirit man dies and a new spirit comes alive. The new spirit is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24). You become one spirit with God (1 Corinthians 6:17).
How Do You Know if You Are in Christ?
If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are in Christ. You don’t come and go from this position. You are forever in Christ.
The Bible talks a lot about this new creation in Christ, sometimes called the new man. New in 2 Corinthians 5:17 is the Greek word kainos, which means, “fresh, of a new kind, unused, unworn, unprecedented, novel, unheard of”. If anyone is in Christ, they are of a new spiritual species.
The new creation is in perfect standing with the Father, spotless and blameless before Him. The new creation is unstained any type of guilt or son. The new creation has no history of sin or future of sin. You are completely free!
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, Ephesians 1:4
and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24
and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, Colossians 3:10
The new creation is a child of God. The most important reason to understand what you look like as a new creation is so that you can enjoy your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Where there is no guilt, only acceptance and love, the relationship thrives. God is pleased with you! You have been cleansed from all sin and guilt.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: John 1:12
The new creation is a citizen of Heaven and part of the family of God. You’re in the family. There are no black sheep in God’s family. You have nothing to prove. You are accepted and cherished as part of the family. You are celebrated.
For our citizenship is in heaven… Philippians 3:20
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1
having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:5-6
The new creation is the new identity of a Christian. It is an eternal identity, never to be taken away. It is a reality, not just a theology. The finished work of Jesus Christ has secured this new identity for every person who receives Him.
When You are Born Again, You are a New Creation in Christ
The moment you accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and make Him the Lord of your life, you are instantly, miraculously given a brand new spirit.
What does it mean to accept Jesus as the Lord of your life? It means that you believe He was God in the flesh, lived a sinless life, and became the final sacrifice for your sin. You believe that your sin has been completely paid for, you are eternally forgiven, and now have been reconciled to right relationship with the Father. All through the finished work of Jesus Christ. For more about this, read my article How Many Times God Will Forgive You: The Answer Might Surprise You.
The words ‘new creation’ literally mean “a new species of being, never before created”. You are not just ‘wiping the slate clean’ and getting a fresh start. You have very literally become a brand new creation, never before created. Wow! And what’s even more exciting is what this new creation looks like. We will get into that soon.
It is important to note that you are made up of three parts- spirit, soul, and body.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Your spirit is the real you, which gives life to your body (John 6:63). When a person’s spirit departs, their body has no life left in it. If you’ve ever been with anyone as their life on this earth ended, you have seen that when they leave their body, the body has no life left. We are spirit beings who have a soul and live in a body.
Your soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions. Think of your soul as the bridge between your spirit and physical body. Your soul is constantly changing by the way you think. Your soul is the part of you that is renewed and transformed as you begin to think in agreement with the Word of God.
When you receive salvation, your spirit is the part of you that is instantly changed and made a new creation in Christ. The only way to know what your new spirit looks like is to find out in the Word of God, and to look at Jesus.
Your soul is not made a new creation. The thought patterns that you had before salvation are the same thought patterns you have after salvation until you begin to renew your mind by the Word of God.
Your body is not changed either. If you were short before you became a new creation, you will still be short after. The change takes place in your spirit. Your spirit becomes a new creation.
What Does it Mean All Things are Passed Away?
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:6
All of humanity is born in a sinful state because of the transgression of Adam, a representative of all mankind. When you were born, your spirit was dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2: 1-2) You had a sin nature on the inside of you. You don’t have to teach a toddler to be selfish or mean. They have a nature inside of them that is not holy or one with God yet.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— Romans 5:12
When you receive salvation, that old sin nature, or body of sin, is done away with! It is crucified with Christ and destroyed. That root that drove you to sin is completely obliterated! Sin and the penalty for sin no longer have a hold on you. You are free. Sin can never again be imputed to you. As you come into agreement with this truth, you will see your freedom from the curse and sin become a reality in your physical life.
Even when you sin in your thoughts and actions, that sin does not touch your new spirit. You are no longer a sinner at your core. You are not a ‘sinner saved by grace’. You were a sinner, but now that you have been saved by grace and made a new creation, you are the righteousness of God in Christ.
Your spirit has been sealed by the Holy Spirit, and sin cannot touch it. Sin can never be imputed to you. I like to think of it as trying to stick velcro to metal, it just won’t stick. You are dead to sin. It just won’t stick.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:11
just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” Romans 4:6-8
What Things are Made New?
All things in your born again spirit have been made new and are of God (2 Corinthians 5:18). There is no sin or darkness in God. There is no sin or darkness in your new spirit. God is pure and holy, and so is your new spirit. You have been made the very righteousness of God. Jesus has provided this righteousness as a gift for all who would believe, through His finished work.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Your new spirit is created in righteousness and true holiness. You look just like Jesus! As He is, so are you in this world.
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 1 John 4:17
and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24
This is what it means to be a new creation! The real you is holy and without blame before God. Wow! The more you realize who you truly are and renew your mind to this truth, the more you will see your life and behavior line up with the reality of who you really are now.
Why do we still sin if we have a new spirit that is holy? Because your mind was programmed by that old nature. Your old spirit programmed your mind to be selfish, to lie, to cheat, etc. Now that you have a new nature, you must reprogram your mind.
You are free from sin. Before you were made a new creation, you couldn’t help but sin. That’s who you were. But now you no longer have a nature that wants to sin. You are free! As you realize who you really are, those old patterns of behavior will fall off like dead leaves.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
Characteristics of a New Creation
When I first learned who I was in Christ and what it meant to be a new creation, my behavior hardly matched up with the new creation I had become. I smoked cigarettes and marijuana daily. I drank way too much alcohol on a regular basis. I lied frequently, was living with my boyfriend, and the list goes on and on.
But as I kept moving forward in the Word of God, renewing my mind to who I was on the inside, every single one of those behaviors fell off. I never tried to get rid of those habits. I just kept hearing the truth and reprogramming my mind and eventually the behaviors that weren’t being fed by my new spirit just fell off of my life. Incredible! The nature that drove me to do those things was gone. There was nothing feeding them anymore.
The new creation is made out of love, because God is love (1 John 4:8). The new spirit is powerful, patient, and kind. The new spirit thinks no evil and rejoices in the truth. The new spirit knows all things and contains the wisdom of God. Everything that God is, so is the new creation.
Everything that you want to be, you already are! You are incredible because of the gift of righteousness that has been imputed to you. If you want to know what you look like, look at Jesus!
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Jesus is your spiritual mirror! If you want to get to know yourself, get to know Him. He is amazing, and so are you. He is at peace, and so are you. He is healed, and so are you. He is righteous, and so are you. He has all authority, and so do you. He is in perfect relationship with the Father, and so are you.
What is the Ministry of Reconciliation?
Did you know that God has given you a ministry? It’s called the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5 explains this ministry that has been committed to you.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Wow! These are amazing verses. God has given you the ministry of reconciliation and made you an ambassador for Christ! What an honor.
What is the ministry of reconciliation? These verses explain that the ministry of reconciliation is to let the world know that God has dealt with sin once for all and that they can now be in right relationship with the Father because of Jesus’s finished work. This is huge! The world can be reconciled to perfect relationship with God because of what Jesus has done.
Jesus was not imputing people’s trespasses to them, and neither should we. He has committed this same ministry of reconciliation to us. We have the awesome privilege of telling the world that sin has been taken care of and they can be reconciled to God.
Unfortunately, this is not the message that most people receive from the Church. When many people think of the Church, they immediately feel shame, condemnation, and guilt. This should not be the case!! These should not be the emotions associated with church!
Our ministry should be ridding people of shame and condemnation, letting them know that Jesus became sin for us, so that we could become the very righteousness of God in Him!!
Righteousness is a gift. Right standing with God is a gift apart from our behaviors. Wow. Sin has been completely obliterated at the cross and we can be free!
This is the good news of the Gospel, and the ministry of reconciliation that God has entrusted to us. The price for sin has been paid. The sin of the world has been forgiven. Our ministry is to tell the world – receive this forgiveness and become a new creation. Receive the gift of righteousness that Jesus gave His life for. Be reconciled to God! You are incredibly loved.