Volume 34

E. Michal Gayer
Volume 34

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

New Birth, New Creation, New Partnership

Devotional TeachingsWhen a person turns to Jesus and receives Him as Savior and Lord, many spiritual things take place. Most of what happens lies beyond full human comprehension. In spite of the complexities involved, God has been gracious to allow us to develop some practical understanding about who we are to Him.  We can summarize this basic understanding in three ways. First of all, when we receive Jesus, we receive the “new birth” and are “born again”. This occurs when a person comes to realize that they inherited a sin nature from Adam, which has the potential to separate them eternally from God. When they turn to God for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, God causes that person to be born again by the Spirit of God. In this experience the person is literally set free from the rule and reign of the devil, and positioned in God’s Kingdom under the rule and reign of his Son, Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13).

The second happening occurs simultaneously as that person is regenerated and cleansed of sin. He is recreated into a “new creation” in Christ Jesus. Spiritual death or eternal separation from God is ended and God’s kind of life, eternal life is infused into his spiritual being. The new creation person is now a child of God, a joint heir with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17) and is blessed with “exceeding great and precious promises” as a “partaker of divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

The third level of understanding about who we are to God follows the first two. With our “new birth” and “new creation” status we enter into a new life or “new partnership” with God. Reconciled back to God and no longer alienated from Him, we are positioned to relate to God as children to a loving Father working out life together. We could say that: in the “new birth” we become a child of God; in the “new creation” we areequipped to function as a child of God; and in the “new partnership” we live as a child of God.

Now it is very important for us to realize that in response to us receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord, everything God does for us in giving us new birth, recreating us into a new creation and positioning us as a child of God, comes automatically to us as a free gift from God (Romans 6:23). But the living out of our new life in Christ, our new partnership with God, does NOT necessarily happen automatically for us. It comes about as we mature and grow spiritually. This process of spiritual and personal growth requires effort on our part. It takes effort to learn more about God and how to relate to Him, effort to apply what we have learned in our personal lives and effort to live a life pleasing to God. Our new life in Christ, our new partnership with God, also requires a change in our identity. The born again child of God is no longer a sinner clothed in the filthy rags of unrighteousness (Isaiah 61:10). Because God made Jesus, “…who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21), the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17 belongs to us which states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The right standing we enjoy in God’s eyes has been imputed or given to us through Jesus. Before we came to Jesus what we perceived as good about ourselves was still not sufficient to bring us into a right standing with God. Now that we have come to Him in Christ, our sin nature has been cleansed in the new birth and Jesus’ righteousness has become ours. In this incredible exchange, Jesus took our sin, our guilt, and gave us His righteousness or right standing before God setting us in a right relationship with Him. In that, we are recreated into the new creation in Christ. Now God looks upon us differently. We have found favor in His sight through Jesus Christ. If you are in Christ, there is something new about you. You have been changed. You are God’s new creation! God sees you differently than before. Now it is your responsibility to alter your personal opinion of yourself to see yourself as He sees you.

One failure in many Christians is that they have never given up their old identity in exchange for the new one Christ has given them. They continue to view themselves from the old perspective rather than seeing themselves like God now sees them. This faulty self-concept can impede that person from walking in the empowerment that God has placed in their keeping as a new creation in Christ. This failure to shift to a new identity accounts for one of the main reasons many Christians do not minister to the sick. They continue to see themselves as too inadequate for the task rather than seeing themselves as empowered by God to do the work. If God sees you as a new creation in Christ, you can do everything that He says you can do as set forth in His word. But, if you continue to see yourself as a defeated old sinner, all wrapped up in the filthy rags of unrighteousness, you will probably not fulfill the destiny God has for your life. When we learn to see ourselves as God sees us, then we will walk in the status of the new creation in Christ Jesus.

It is at this point that we can begin to talk more specifically about the role of believers in healing the sick.  First of all, let’s note that God the Father is a “giver”. He loved the world so much that “… He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He also operated under the anointing “to give”. Acts 10:38-39 tells us, “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” He healed and He delivered…He rescued and He saved…Jesus went about doing good. After doing all of the marvelous miracles, healings and deliverances, He gave the ultimate. He gave His life so that, “…whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

That was the ultimate of “giving” but long before that, Jesus gave another great and wonderful gift to the world.  He prepared people to receive of what He had! God powerfully dwelt in Jesus. God and Jesus were one. After Jesus ascended to the Father, He sent back the Holy Spirit of God to indwell each and every believer just as He had been indwelt. He had prepared His disciples beforehand as recorded in John 14:12 by saying, “…I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” He said in verse 16, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

He encouraged people with words like, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” and to those who believe in, trust in, rely upon His Word, He said, “…He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:18, 21). Jesus also informed us that the Father and He would come to us, if we were a believer, and they would make their home us (John 14:23).

Jesus further clarified something very important. He said, “…the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26). The same loving, powerful, healing Spirit of the living God who dwelt in Jesus and did the works of the Father through Jesus, would come to live in every believer equipping that person to continue the ministry work of Jesus in bringing lost sinners to God and healing the sick. When we think about that, the wondrous reality of who we are in Christ resonates powerfully!