A New Creature|
Anyone who has small children or has been around them very much knows that they are born with their own personalities and peculiar tendencies. In some ways, the personality that a child has at birth will not change significantly throughout his life. The sooner parents recognize this about their child, the better they will be able to train him in a way that is most suitable to his particular tendencies.
Even though children are born with some inherent characteristics, let us understand that children certainly are not born with the corruption and guilt that comes by sin. This is the false assertion of the Calvinistic doctrine of total depravity and the Roman Catholic doctrine of original sin. According to the doctrine of total depravity, man is by nature completely corrupt and incapable of any good whatsoever because of the sin of Adam and Eve. According to the doctrine of original sin, every soul inherits the guilt of Adam and Eve. The Bible does not teach these doctrines, but instead it teaches that each soul is accountable for his own actions alone and not those of others (Jer. 31:29-30; Ezek. 18:2-4; Rom. 9:10-11; 2Cor. 5:10).
In truth, corruption, evil, and sin are learned by mankind from the world. Notice 1John 2:16 – “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” God does not send souls into the world preinstalled with these wicked tendencies, but these are the things of the world that corrupt the pure souls that God creates. Man is not sinful by nature, but he learns sin as a “second nature.”
Thankfully, God gives us an opportunity to strip away the corruption that we have learned from the world and start anew. Notice 2Peter 1:4 – “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” In this verse, the phrase “by these” refers to the things mentioned in the previous verse – “God’s divine power,” “everything pertaining to life and godliness,” and “the knowledge of Him who called us.” By these things, we can undo the damage that has been done to us through the things of the world.
Because of this new start, the Bible often describes a Christian as a “new creature.” For example, Paul wrote, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2Cor. 5:17). Similar messages are given in Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 4:20-24, and Colossians 3:10. Although a Christian is still the same person as he was before He knew Christ, God has remade him with a new quality about him. His physical form is unchanged, but everything about his spirit is new. He has become a partaker of that “divine nature” (2Pet. 1:4). In Christ, he “in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:24). Rather than having a sinful “second nature” that he learned from the world, he learns a godly nature. The corruption from the world is taken away, and spiritually he is once again as he was when he was born – a new creature.
As a new creature, a Christian needs instruction and discipline. Like a child, he has much to learn. He will make mistakes that will require correction. Thankfully, God the Father provides the instruction and discipline that “yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:4-11). The love of the Father will cultivate within him the divine nature of which he is now a partaker.
Therefore, let us embrace this opportunity to start over. Our lives that have been ruined by sin can be saved and given a second chance to fulfill their purpose. We were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), but that image was marred by sin. Now in Christ, we can be renewed to that image and begin again. Take the opportunity, be thankful, and praise God that you can be a new creature in Christ.
Stacey E. Durham
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