New Creation

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Creation is God’s work, an act of divine and sovereign power. Man may, within limits, shape and fashion physical materials, but God alone can by His word call into being that which never before had existence. “He spake, and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast.” This, being quite outside all man’s experience, is only known by revelation: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
The first creation came perfect from God’s hands. He “saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” But, in His wisdom God was pleased to put everything so made under the man whom He had created and to leave that first man, who was of the earth, earthy, in a position of responsibility. This man, when tempted, disobeyed and fell, and not only did he himself thereby depart from God, becoming subject to death and condemnation, but he brought the whole creation into groaning. “The creature has been made subject to vanity, not of its will, but by reason of him who has subjected the same.”
God’s Purposes Fulfilled
The purposes of God in reference to this creation will have their fulfillment when the rights and power of Him who is the second man, the last Adam, the Lord from heaven, shall be displayed (see Psalm 8; Acts 3:2121Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21)). “The creature [creation] itself also shall be set free from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:2121Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21) JND). God will yet have glory for Himself in that very creation where His glory has been set at nought.
There is more than this presented in Scripture. God is not content, if one may so speak, with rehabilitating the old creation. He brings in a “new creation,” which now is a reality, morally or spiritually, for men that believe in Christ. He will hereafter “make new” the whole of the physical heaven and earth, so that everything may be unalterably according to Himself, and not dependent, like the first, on the responsibility and power of an earthly man to maintain, but on the absolute perfectness and immutability of Him who was the last Adam. It is a sphere in which not only all His glories can be displayed, but in which God Himself can rest eternally.
New Creation Displayed
The “new creation” will not have its real display until after the day when the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, shall “transform our body of humiliation into conformity to His body of glory” (Phil. 3:2121Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21) JND), or indeed, in its fullest sense, until the new heavens and new earth appear when there will be no more “sea,” that emblem of unrest and instability. But spiritually it is a reality now for the believer in Christ, though it be only “by faith” we can understand it, just as it is only by faith we understand what creation meant at first (Heb. 11:33Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:3)).
The fact that this is really a “new creation,” and not the improvement or modification of something already existing, may well be the reason this wonderful truth of which we speak is so little entered into. The soul that does not receive it as revealed by God cannot know it, for it is outside of his experience like the physical creation.
The Old Passes Away
It is written as to the physical heavens and earth that before the new are introduced, the old pass away. “The heavens shall pass away,” says Peter; “the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up ... but we look for new heavens and a new earth.” But this is equally true as to the moral or spiritual “creation” of which we speak. The simplest statement as to it is contained in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (JND). “So if anyone be in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new: and all things are of the God who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.” Thus we see three things: Old things pass away, all things become new, and all things are of God.
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, we find that in His teaching recorded in the Gospel of John, He is careful to bring out prominently that the moral condition of man towards God is one of death. His own rejection by His people (John 1:1111He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:11)) proved it. Before introducing the subject of the new birth in John 3, there is a thorough exhibition in John 2 of man’s wretched state, whether considered naturally or religiously. And there is a very clear statement in John 12:2424Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24) that “except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
In 1 Corinthians the natural man is set aside as being totally incapable of receiving the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14). The death of Christ proves all to have died (2 Cor. 5:14). In Ephesians 1-2, man is looked at as dead when God begins to work with him. And so indeed Christ died, though with Him it is as having laid down the life which He had as a man upon earth. So too, if it be a question of putting on the new man, it is preceded by having “put off the old man.”
The Old Does Not Improve
There is no improvement, no modification of the life or nature which man possesses in his old standing before God as a descendant of Adam. It is wholly set aside in the cross, as much spiritually as the heavens and earth will hereafter be physically. The Lord Jesus Christ, who alone stood before God as perfect in that condition of life, must have remained alone had He not died. But He died voluntarily in it, and so it ended, except for those whose sins are not put away by Him.
But if old things have passed away, all things are become new. Where death entered, God introduced a new life. It is not the restoration of an old one, but the actual communication of a new life, just as truly as when God first breathed into that body which He had formed of the dust of the ground, and it became a living soul. The first had this earth as its sphere; the second belongs to heavenly places. The first was natural; the second is spiritual. It is not only spoken of as a new life and nature, but as a positive new creation. And it is good for us that the simple fact that there is such a new creation should impress itself on our hearts.
If Any Be in Christ
There is immense power in the ten opening words of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and surely there is no less power for the soul that ponders over these other words: “If anyone be in Christ, there is a new creation.” They speak to us of divine and creative power exercised in associating the believer indissolubly with Christ Himself, and it is in that sphere where He is as raised from the dead. The corn of wheat has died, and now it has much fruit, fruit pleasing to God.
And “all things are of God, [the God] who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.” The Lord God might visit Adam in Eden, God Almighty might make Himself known to Abraham and call him “friend,” Jehovah could dwell among Israel, exclusively and behind a veil, but this Scripture speaks of a condition in which there is perfect knowledge of God as fully revealed in grace and nearness to Him, even as Christ Himself is near. It is now to faith that which will hereafter be true to sense: “God Himself shall be with them and be their God”; He will dwell with them.
The Divine Nature
And not only is there nearness of person, but perfect moral suitability. The believer who is of this new creation partakes therein of the “divine nature.” “God is light,” and so the believer is addressed as a child of light and called to walk so because he is “light in the Lord.” “God is love,” and so the believer is told to walk in it, and “he that loveth not, knoweth not God.” These points are largely dwelt upon in the epistle of John. But it will perhaps be most readily apprehended when we see that as this “new creation” is never apart from Christ, but always “in Him,” so the moral characteristics belonging to it are those which are perfectly expressed in His own blessed person. To “know Him” is to know what they are, and there is no other way of knowing them.
It is needful, however, to remember here that it is only as risen from the dead that He has become both the type and the head of this new creation. He came, as regards the first creation, “born of a woman,” though indeed the Lord from heaven and the “Son of Man which is in heaven,” but in that order of things He died, and it is only as risen from the dead that He takes the place and character of which we speak.
It must, however, never be overlooked that as to fact the believer is in this world in a body which is of the first creation, and consequently that he is in the midst of divinely appointed relationships connected with it, none of which can be ignored without despising the Word of God and God Himself by whom they were appointed.
May the Lord give each of us to see what a wonderful thing it is to belong now, in Christ, to a new creation which is all of God, and may we be enabled practically to say with the Apostle, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
J. S. A., adapted