The Old Creation. Before we talk about New Creation, we need to be reminded of the Old Creation. The Old Creation is described in Genesis 1; God formed the world as we know it in six days including Adam and Eve. God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. But shortly, God's Sabbath rest was broken by man’s sin (Rom. 5:12). In John 5, we find that because sin entered, the Father and Son could not rest (John 5:17). God cannot have sin in His presence, so He dwelt in thick darkness, at a distance from creature man. Still, even separated from sin, He could not rest with sin in His creation. God must either destroy the corrupted creation out of His sight, as He did in the flood (Gen. 6:7) and promised not to do again (Gen. 9:11), or He must work in grace to redeem man from sin. His love, of course, made Him work, for Christ came “not to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17)! Adam was the “head" of that old creation, a fact shown by the animals coming to Adam to be named. All who descend from Adam – his race – “bear the image of the earthly” (1 Cor. 15:49). When Adam “fell” through sin, his whole race fell with him (Rom. 5:12-end). The wages of sin is death, and so “in Adam all die.” Those of Adam’s race are characterized by certain qualities and behaviors, referred to as the “Old Man”. Paul summarized the old man as a character that “corrupts itself according to the deceitful lusts”. This is the old creation.
The New Creation. When Christ rose from the dead, He became the beginning and head of a New Creation (Rev. 3:14) where sin can never come! God can find all His rest and satisfaction in the Person and work of His Beloved Son! It is into this New Creation, far beyond the reach of sin, that we have been brought by our death and resurrection with Christ; "if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). That New Creation will be extended out to the physical universe when God's dispensational purposes are accomplished to the glory of Christ. The full “rest of God” will not be fully restored until the elements melt, and God makes a new heavens and earth (Rev. 21:1-8). The Old Creation began with a heavens and earth, and was completed with a head, the First Man placed over it. The New Creation began with a head, the Second Man, and will be completed with a new heavens and earth! Several features of the New Creation are:
- Christ is the beginning or head of the New Creation (Rev. 3:14). Christ's death and resurrection are the foundation of the New Creation. As the firstborn from the dead, Christ is the beginning of that creation, and He is head over it, just as Adam was head over the Old Creation. As Head, the whole creation takes its character from the risen Christ… all in the New Creation have “put on the new man, which according to God is created in truthful righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
- Our standing “in Christ" brings us into New Creation (Eph. 2:10). The entire New Creation is “in Christ”; i.e. the creation itself is in Christ’s standing before God… therefore; "if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). This is why justification isn’t mentioned in Ephesians, because in Ephesians we are on new creation ground. A nice example of this is Noah's ark. The ark is picture of Christ, and those in the ark speak of the believer's standing "in Christ". Only those "in the ark" were able to step out, after the judgment had passed, into a new world... a picture of new creation.
- Death and resurrection with Christ puts us onto New Creation ground (Col. 3). A complete and radical change transitions a person into the New Creation. All that we were in Adam is gone in the sight of God; dead and buried with Christ. Furthermore, we are risen with Him, and brought into the new sphere. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:1-3). This is pictured in the Old Testament by Israel crossing the Jordan river in order to enter Canaan. The river had to be crossed to enter that promised land. Practically, being dead with Christ means that believers "should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:15).
- In the New Creation, Christ has brought us to Heaven positionally (Eph. 2). Christ went where we were (death) and took the cup of wrath for us. Now we have been quickened with Him, raised with Him, and seated with Him where He is now in heaven. He has given us life and a justified standing, and left us in the world; but this is what we call "wilderness" doctrine, where Philippians sees us and where Romans ends. But God has done much more than that, He has brought us to where He is. We have been brought to heaven positionally; this is the new creation.
- In the New Creation we share Christ’s resurrection life (John 20:22). Christ rose as Head of a sphere of life that is beyond death. On the resurrection day, the Lord breathed the breath of the new-creation-life into the gathered apostles. We too share in that life.
- In the New Creation we are “one kind” with Christ (John 12:24). Christ as the corn of wheat, fell into the ground and died, has sprung up again, and has borne “much fruit.” The grains of wheat (individual Christians) have the same life as the risen stalk (Christ in resurrection). Hebrews 2:11 says “we are all of one [kind]”. God is so pleased with His Son that He wants to make many more sons just like Him!
- In the New Creation we have Oneness and Union with Christ. Oneness we get in John’s ministry, and Union we get in Paul’s ministry. Christ is head of the New Creation, and He is head of the Body. We are one with Christ in resurrection life, and we are united to Him by the Holy Ghost as members of His body. These are two distinct but connected lines of Christian truth. Therefore, New Creation is prerequisite to the formation of the Body of Christ (Eph. 2:14-15). God's work of bringing Jew and Gentile into New Creation “that he might form the two in himself into one new man”, has forever made peace between them; the middle wall of partition has been broken down.
- In the New Creation, manhood is brought into an exalted condition. Christ, as Son of Man has brought manhood into a condition that is “above angels” (Heb. 2). There is a new order of manhood!
- In the New Creation, natural relationships and distinctions have no place (Gal. 3:28). God’s work of creating us anew in Christ has the effect of erasing natural distinctions; gender, social class, ethnic background, etc. In this new condition of manhood, a distance is placed between the believer and the old creation. So striking is this change, that even if a Christian had known Jesus before the resurrection, in the New Creation we don’t know Him that way anymore (1 Cor. 5:16). Mary Magdalene was told “touch me not” (John 20:17), while Thomas was later told to touch. The Lord was making a point with her. She could not have the Lord in the same way she had previously known Him. Old things were passed away, and all things had become new. A nice example is James, who addressed himself, not as the brother of the Lord, but as His servant. An illustration of this from the Old Testament is Elisha. When Elisha was first called by Elijah in 1 Kings 19, he was not prepared to cut the ties with nature ("my father and my mother"). But after walking with the man of God, and crossing the Jordan with him, and seeing him go up, he says "my father, my father"... the old creation no longer had a hold on him. This fact extends to all our relationships; "henceforth know we no man after the flesh" (2 Cor. 5:16).
- In the New Creation, we have nothing to do with the world and religious flesh. God is looking for one thing (Christ), and through Christ’s work on the cross we see that He has got His aim. He wants to see Christ in us, the New Creature. Circumcision and uncircumcision alike for the believer are gone, because they are connected with the old creation. All that is left is Christ. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision; but new creation.”Galatians 6:14-15
- New Creation is enjoyed in the measure that we disconnect with the Old Creation (2 Cor. 12). Paul relates his experience under the abstract label of “a man in Christ” caught up to the third heaven. He was so disconnected from the Old Creation that he could not discern whether he was in or out of his physical body. The Spirit of God shows us what life would be like if we enjoyed the New Creation with the final tie to the old (physical body) removed. What was Paul’s report? “Unspeakable things said which it is not allowed to man to utter.”We are not going to be “caught up” until the rapture, but in the measure that we disconnect ourselves from earthly things, we will enjoy the New Creation.
- Enjoyment of the New Creation does not make us "no earthly good" (1 Cor. 5:19-20). Though we are in the New Creation, we are still on the earth, and God has given us a work to do. We are here for the purpose of representing Christ as ambassadors with the ministry of reconciliation.