Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
When God created the world, he created something from nothing. Back then, everything was new. The world was a new creation. Man was a new creation. Light, the sun, the earth – everything were new. That was before sin entered the world. Have you ever made something? Perhaps folded an origami? Perhaps a dish for your son? Maybe a piece of art? The feeling of making something new is wonderful. Like that of a little boy having first entered a playground; it is cause for indescribable joy. How good it is to be a new creation. How desirable it is to be a new creation!
I see three straight-forward ideas from 2 Corinthians 5:17. To be in Christ; shedding the old, becoming the new.
To be in Christ – not just in flesh, but most importantly in spirit. To put your faith in Christ is not something that one does by saying. A Christian doesn’t mean the one who goes to church every Sunday. If the heart does not believe, if the spirit wields no faith, one cannot be in Christ. Those who truly have faith in God are those who follow God’s precepts and walk in his path. They may not always speak of Christ or their faith, but they would likely daily meditate on His words.
Shedding the old – We all have pasts. We all were young once. We were all foolish ones. I am a second generation, and I naturally don’t remember a time when I hadn’t known the Lord, but there was truly a period of time in my youth that I struggled with this faith – was it my faith, or merely my parents’ faith enforced on me? While I never doubted the existence of God, many of his words confused a young me. And for ‘first-generation’ Christians, before they believed in God and became a christian, they might have been a different person. Whether we once sinned or delighted in acts and words that displeases the Lord, these are now of the past. Now that we know the Lord, all these do not matter. The past does not matter. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past [Isa 43:18].
Past wounds would always come back to haunt us. Even if we changed for the better, past memories still linger, temptations do not leave us alone. By ourselves we may sooner or later fall prey to our own pasts, but with God’s strength we can conquer the past and become the new. People who changed after believing in Christ are aplenty – but so are people who have long been Christians. You may be a believer for 30 years, and still be able to become a new creation. A sudden understanding of the concept of joy in the Bible may empower you to lead a more cheerful life – it doesn’t have to be at the moment of your conversion. We can become new today. We can become new again tomorrow. What matters is, we’re changing to be better and more Christ-like.
To become new, the past must be shed. To shed the past, one must be in Christ. Being in Christ is not without its challenges. Similarly to become new has its challenges. Let us, in this new year, resolve to become God’s new creations, and enjoy the wondrous feeling of being new. As the apostle proclaims, the old has gone, the new has come!