A New Creation (Part Three)- 2 Corinthians 5:17

As we continue in our study of the believer as a new creation in Christ, we now will examine what it means that one in Christ is a “new creation”. We have seen previously that the image of God is restored in humanity in Christ, and that this restored image enables the believer to become the agent through which God creates spiritual life in a way similar to which God made Christ the agent through which physical life was created. Having seen this, we will now examine more closely what is meant by being a “new creation”, as well as how this differs from Adam and Eve being “created”. The Greek word “new” here is kainos, and we will begin here with an examination of the concept of “new”. What does it mean here to be “new”? There are two Greek words normally translated as “new”, neos and kainos. The word neos refers to newness in relation to time. When something is neos, it is different at the present point in time than it was at a previous point in time. Something that is neos is something that has previously existed but undergone a transformation. The word kainos refers to newness in relation to being. When something is kainos, it is not something which existed previously and has been transformed, but something that has never existed before, that has come into being. The “new creation in Christ” is something that has never before existed in the history of the universe, and the believer in Christ is a different sort of creation (or creature) than Adam was. So just how is the believer created in Christ different from Adam who was created by Christ? The difference we will focus upon is the way in which God is “present” to each. We will recall that the presence of God was “with” Adam, for the Lord walked with Adam in the Garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). The presence of the Lord was “with” Adam, and as we turn to John 14, we will see that the presence of the Lord is “in” the believer”. We will begin in John 14:16, in which Jesus tells the disciples (and all believers) that the Father will give us “another counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth”, a reference here to the Holy Spirit, who was to come when Jesus ascended to the Father. This Spirit will not be given to the “world” (those who are not in Christ), but He “lives with you and will be in you” (verse 17). We first note here that the verb “lives” is in the present tense, while the verb “to be” is in the future tense. What this means here is that the Spirit would be “with” the disciples after Jesus was crucified, but would at a future time come to live “in” then rather than “with” them. They would be much like Adam from the crucifixion until Pentecost, when they would become a “new creation” due to the presence of the Spirit no longer being “with” them but living “in” them instead. This new creation, then, is one in whom the presence of the Holy Spirit has taken up residence, and the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the disciples at Pentecost, which is when they became a type of “creature” the world had never before seen, a creature whom God was not merely “with” but whom God lived “in”. Paul is then telling us here in 2 Corinthians 5:17, that all who have trusted Christ as Lord and Savior are also this new type of “creature”. This new, kainos creation is a creature never before seen prior to Pentecost, and everyone in whom the Spirit of God lives is then a new creation in this way, one in which the creature we were in Adam has “passed away” and in which “all things have become new”, a creature in whom God lives and through whom God can now work to create spiritual life.

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