2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NKJV) 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Being a new creation in Christ means that the old sinful person you once were has gone as a result of the finished work of Christ. When you made that confession of faith and prayed a prayer like “Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.”
When one prays that prayer they are instantly justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, assuring them of salvation from their sin and eternal life with Him. They do not instantaneously become morally perfect, but their standing before God changes instantly—they are made right with God (just as if they had never sinned or had a sin nature). They begin the lifelong journey of being renewed and sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit. God’s purpose is that His people become like the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore the Holy Spirit works in the changed heart and mind of the believer helping them to become conformed to the image of Jesus—to become like Jesus in thought, word, and deed. A new creation indeed!!!
Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV) 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
The first thing we need to understand is that this new creation is something created by God.
John 1:12-13 (NKJV) 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
This new birth or creation was brought about by the will of God. We didn't inherit this new nature, and we didn't re-create ourselves. God didn't just clean up our old nature either; He created something entirely fresh and unique. The new creation is completely new, created from nothing, just as the whole universe was created by God from nothing. Only God can do that.
We don’t know how it happens but we know that is does. In Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus when he asked Jesus how is it possible to born again Jesus said;
John 3:7-8 (NKJV) 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Editor's Note: Excerpts from Unshakable: Hope Building Our Lives On The Promises Of God based on Max Lucado’s book and small group curriculum.
You Are Stamped with God's Image
Every soul on earth has asked the same question. Am I somebody important? It’s easy to feel anything but important when the corporation sees you as a number, the boyfriend treats you like cattle, your ex takes your energy, or old age takes your dignity. Somebody important? Hardly. But when you struggle with that question, remember this promise of God: you were created by God, in God’s image, for God’s glory.
From the very beginning, the Bible assumes the existence of God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). That anyone could look at the wonder of the universe and call it a “coincidence” is unfathomable to divine reasoning. For the writers of the Bible, creation is prima facie evidence for the existence of God—an open-and-shut case. Paul said as much to the Roman believers when he wrote, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20).
Everything that exists gives evidence of God’s existence. The intricacy of the snowflake, the roar of a thunderstorm, the precision of the honeybee, the bubbling of a cool mountain stream. These miracles and a million more give testimony to the existence of a brilliant, wise, and tireless God.
We read of one of God’s first promises in Genesis 1:26. “God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule.’” Embedded in these words is the most wonderful of promises: God made us to reflect the image of Himself. The God who put the universe in order, created the land and sea, and gave life to the birds and the beasts called His creation good. But it was only after He created Adam and Eve on the sixth day that he called it all very good.
Genesis 1:26-31 NIV Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
The heavens above reflect the glory of God, but they are not made in the image of God. Yet we are. God created us to be more like Him than anything else He made. And each of us carries some of the communicable attributes of God. Wisdom. Love. Grace. Kindness. A longing for eternity. We bear the fingerprints of the Divine Maker, because we are made in His image and in His likeness.
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
You were conceived by God before you were conceived by your parents. You were loved in heaven before you were known on earth.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
God has no bad ideas. This is God’s plan. This is God’s promise.