IN WHAT SENSE ARE GOD’S ELECT ARE NEW CREATURES IN CHRIST?
This Scripture as most sound theologians have understood it and given its interpretation refers NOT to our state in this world per se`, but to our STANDING BEFORE GOD. A ‘New creature’ does not mean sinlessness of life, but a new relation to the Law of God!This then raises the question, “In what sense then has Christ defeated sin in the believer?” The answer is that He has overthrown its rule, weakened its power, and even killed its root so that it cannot bear the fruit of eternal death in a believer! Sadly, few people have come to terms with the law of sin. But when the elect discovers this law in him, the Apostles cry echoes down his bones – “Who shall deliver me?”
If you remember nothing else, just remember this, God’s elect are the ONLY PEOPLE who ever find the law of sin at work in them! The non elect cannot feel it! The law of sin is a raging river, carrying them along; and they cannot measure the force of the current, because they have surrendered themselves to it and are borne along by it. The elect child of God on the other hand, swims upstream- he meets sin head-on and strains under its strength!
And here is the great difference – as powerful as this law of sin is, it doesn’t rule the heart of the believer. It is not his dictator. The elect march to a different Drummer: “I want to do good,” Paul says [Rom 7;21] –I want to please God, give Him glory, serve His people and honour his Name etc.
Augustine was a promiscuous young man and was known by the local prostitutes of his time. A story is told about him walking down a street and a prostitute called out to him, saying “Augustine it is I!” Augustine took flight with the woman in pursuit of him crying out the same words, “Augustine it is I.”
To which Augustine stopped, turned around and shouted back to her, “It IS you indeed, but I am no longer I.”
Augustine demonstrated by that incident the biblical teaching in our verse above. When someone becomes a follower of Jesus, their entire outlook on life is remarkably changed by the Lord. This is what the biblical word “repentance” means. The person has a revolution in their thinking. The things they once loved they now despise, and love those things which they once despised or disregarded.
In the first epistle of John there is great emphasis on the idea that Christians learn to put off sinful manners and commence practicing what is holy and right in the sight of God.
As our verse above says, “the old has gone”—meaning that whatever displeases God ought to be removed from our daily living. What Augustine meant by what he said is that the old Augustine is no more but a new Augustine has emerged.
When the Lord regenerates a person He implants in them a DESIRE for holy living. Their minds are renewed (Romans 12:2). In Ephesians 4:22-24 we read,
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
In fact God Himself works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Phil 2:12,13]
One of the keys of walking in the victory is to constantly remind yourself as to WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST – a NEW CREATION!
As the Apostle puts it – “Likewise RECKON YE ALSO YOURSELVES to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. LET NOT SIN THEREFORE REIGN IN YOUR MORTAL BODY, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. FOR SIN SHALL NOT HAVE DOMINION OVER YOU: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” [Romans 6:11-14]