A New Creature
One of the ways in which the Bible shows itself to be the inspired Word of God is that it deals so plainly and thoroughly with the most important issues facing mankind. Even in a single chapter we may learn much about life, death and beyond.
One of the great portions of the New Testament is Second Corinthians Chapter Five. There the apostle Paul tells us that believers, in common with others, must experience physical death. Our “earthly house” is soon to be “dissolved” (v.1). The tie which binds our body and soul together will one day be loosed and our spirit will return to God who gave it. Yet the prospect does not fill the child of God with fear. Instead, knowing that his sins have been pardoned in the blood of Christ, he “groans” inwardly, longing eagerly and waiting confidently for that day when he shall depart his body and enter his heavenly home, to be present with his beloved Redeemer (vv.2- 8).
Make no mistake, death is to be feared if our sins are not forgiven: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (v.10). It was a knowledge of how fearful is the divine wrath against sin that drove the apostles on in their labours to bring their fellow-sinners to repentance (v.11).
If physically we experience life followed by death then spiritually it is the other way round. We are all born into this world “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:1). Because His people were “dead” Christ died in order that they might live – live unto Him (vv.14,15). To be truly converted means to be regenerated or made spiritually alive. To such God grants “the earnest of the Spirit” (v.5) as a token that they belong to Jesus Christ and have a title to the heavenly glory.
Regeneration is a work of God. He puts a new principle in the souls of His people whereby they are made holy. This happens through a union with Christ, the Saviour who has life in Himself and quickens whom He will (John 5:21,26). Faith, repentance and indeed all the graces of the Christian spring from the life of regeneration.
True Christians are “new creatures” or new creations (v.17). This indicates a most profound change! Regeneration is like the first creation in a way. It too is performed in conjunction with the word of God: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Cor.4:6). We remain the same persons of course, we are still flesh and blood creatures, but our souls are renewed. This is essential if we are to enjoy eternal life, for “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Are all things become new to you? Has the Spirit of God so worked in you that you have the new thoughts, desires, joys and hopes of a believer? Or are you still consumed by the old, weary and worn things of a sinful, passing world? This is the test of whether the gospel has been blessed to us. Seek the Saviour who promises to His own that they shall enjoy a more abundant life – or else you must perish eternally.