If you have believed in Jesus Christ and put your full faith and confidence in His blood to cover your sins, you are a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:17). This verse says that something that once was, is now gone, or is no more. It also says that something “new” took its place. What is this new thing and how does it affect our walk as a believer? For today’s post, I want to focus on the first part of that question: “What is this new thing?” We’ll be addressing the second part of that question in future posts.
Throughout the New Testament scripture you will find phrases describing a believer as a person who has been “reborn” or “regenerated” (Tit. 3:4-7, NIV), “born again” (John 3:5-8), “made alive with Christ” (Eph. 2:4-5), as one who is “born of God” (John 1:10-13), and as one who has “crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). These words are not speaking in future tense, but in past, meaning it is something that has been done.
In our previous blog, Uncover the Old, to Discover the New, we talked about the consequences that sin brought to both our body and spirit after the fall. When Adam and Eve sinned, something died, making them different from God’s original design. This “death” was passed down from Adam and Eve to the rest of humanity. In that post, we discovered that both our body and our spirit were affected in some very meaningful ways.
In contrast, today I want us to take a closer look at what happened to our body and our spirit at salvation.
When we first believed in Christ, our body did not supernaturally change. We can tell this by the obvious facts that our body is still the same body as it was before we were saved. Our body still ages. It is subject to sickness and disease, and eventually it is destined to die and return to dust (believe it or not, this is really good news, as we will learn in future posts). Scripture is also clear on the point that our body still exists in its fallen state (2 Cor. 4:16, 2 Cor. 5:1-21, James 2:26).
2 Cor. 5:17 teaches us that something supernatural and wonderful happened to us when we were saved. Something was newly created. Something “old is gone” and something “new has come”. The word “old” in this verse is the greek word archaios which means “that which has been from the beginning, original, primal”. This refers to our old spirit that was born under sin, fallen and separated from God. This verse is saying that old spirit no longer exists; it is completely removed from us; it is gone. The greek word for “new” in this verse is kainos, and it means something that is “recently made” or “fresh”. It speaks regarding the substance of a thing and indicates that it is of a “new kind”, “unprecedented”. This means that this new spirit that God created within us is nothing like what existed before it. God didn’t just renew our old spirit by making it better or forgiving it. Instead, He got rid of it altogether and put something completely different and new in its place. This new spirit is the part of us that now reflects the true person that we are before God. It is the part of us that communes with God and in which His Holy Spirit dwells. This new spirit did not come through fallen flesh, but was born directly from God (Jn 1:12-13, 1 Peter 1:23). It was created by Him to be like Him in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24).
This diagram illustrates this transformation in a new believer. As we move forward, there is a great deal more to learn about this new spirit and how it interacts with our body (our “flesh”). But our focus today is simply to help us understand that when we put our faith in Christ as a new believer, we received a newly created spirit directly from God. As we learn more about this newly created spirit, we will understand better how to “put it on” on a regular basis. We’ll save that good news for a future post.