The “new creation” is an often-quoted phrase. Like many verses in the Scriptures, it can stand on its own. However (you knew that was coming), in context its meaning is so much more important than a mere new creation. It is a creation with a purpose.
While it is accurate to say that we are new creations through Jesus Christ, it also leaves too much interpretation to the speaker and the hearer as to what exactly that means. The common first response is (along the lines of), no longer a sinner, or, reconciled to God, or a child of God.
All of these are theologically accurate. The problem is they are also very selfish and self-centered. These statements are about us. Being a new creation is about us. It also about God.
In particular, what is our purpose? Why are we a new creation? Why does being a new creation even matter?
The answer comes earlier, “…so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.”
Let’s be honest with ourselves, we still live for ourselves. We often make decisions based on our desires or through seemingly logical decisions. Sometimes we’ll even “pray” about them. Are the results really about Jesus Christ?
Now, this really could go down a road that Paul did not intend. Paul didn’t mean for a blacksmith (for example) to stop being a blacksmith and stop making blacksmith decisions. Nor did Paul mean that one stops being a parent (adopted or biological). Yes, both of those are possibilities, but that isn’t the point.
Really, the new creation is more along the lines of thinking of others for their benefit because Jesus Christ thought of your benefit, even while you were estranged from God.
In this comes the question, is the new creation a completely (wholly) new thing or is it the old thing made whole. Either answer still ultimately results in something new, it’s just the emphasis that has changed.
Once the “new” has come into its fullness, then this new creation seeks to draw people to Christ by loving them, thinking well of, and for them, even if it gains no worldly benefit. The new creation is to bring the not-yet-made-new to a point in their lives to be made new.
Bringing along the not-yet-made-new may take a while. Even God, as Paul tells Titus, took time to reveal the fullness of God’s saving message. It will take time for us to reveal it to others, too.
We are called, as new creations, to be faithful in bringing more people into the fold of God’s family, no matter how long it may take and how many setbacks there are.
We are called to love all in their hate, their fear, their jealousy, their ignorance. We also do this knowing that we still have hate, fear, jealousy, and ignorance in us, too.
Lord, make us new every day. Help us to put yesterday in its place, and step into today in the fullness of your grace, mercy, and love. Amen.
1) If you have saving faith in Jesus Christ, what was your first “symptom” of being made new? If you do not yet have such a saving faith, what might (or should) someone look like who has given their life to Jesus Christ? Why?
2) Why does it matter if we are wholly new or newly whole? What is the difference?
3) What was the last decision you prayed about? What makes you think the answer was the Jesus answer?