A New Creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
[Therefore,] if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. —2 Corinthians 5:17
This verse starts with therefore, and I have always been told when a verse starts with therefore we should ask the question, “What is the therefore there for?”
So let’s go back to verse 14 and move forward from there. We see that the love of Christ controls us, we see that He died for us, so that we might no longer live for ourselves but for Him. “The phrase ‘the love of Christ’ is referring to His love for us as seen in His sacrificial death. He loved us when we were unlovely; in fact, He loved us when we were ungodly, sinners, and enemies (see Romans 5:6–10). When He died on the cross, Christ proved His love for the world (John 3:16), the church (Ephesians 5:25), and individual sinners (Galatians 2:20). When you consider the reasons why Christ died, you cannot help but love Him” (The Bible Exposition Commentary, p. 648).
Because of His great love and our reconciliation to the Father through Christ, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has passed away and the new has come."
All of this is possible because of Christ and Christ alone. Note the phrase “in Christ.” When we are in Christ, a miracle has taken place and we have become a new creation. This new creation is based in Christ and His saving work for us. In eternity we are complete, on earth we are being transformed into the image of Christ beginning at our new birth and continuing on to our leaving this world.
When I was a child this verse changed my life. I was memorizing this verse when I was about 12 years old. Early in my life I had a speech problem which caused a lot of lasting pain from being teased. I had trusted Christ as my Savior but the image of myself as a “kid with a speech problem” remained. The Lord used this verse in my life to show me that because I was a follower of Jesus now I was a new creation. The Bible that I was memorizing at the time said that I “became a brand new person inside and the old life was no more.” God used this to change the way I thought about myself and therefore the trajectory of my life.
Are you in Christ? If so, you are a new creation! Everything is new. Your thinking, your desires, your tastes, and treasures.
Are you in Christ? If so, the old you has passed away! You don’t need to answer when that old self calls and entices and tries to make you follow in old habits and old ways of thinking and living.
Are you in Christ? If so, the new has come! You can now respond and react in new ways to the circumstances and relationships in your life through His power that lives in you.
Are there things from your past keeping you from believing you are a new creation in Christ? Write this verse on a card and carry it with you. Say it out loud whenever you need that reminder to put those things to death.
Have you observed a caterpillar turn into a butterfly? Is there any resemblance to the caterpillar left after this transformation? How does that resemble our transformation in Christ?
Are you in Christ? Take a moment now to examine your heart and make that decision to take Him as your Savior.