“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17 ESV)
Have you ever realized that the new creation we are to be can only be found IN Him? I read that passage and others which speak about being IN Him over and over, but I felt there was still something missing regarding my interpretation of these Scriptures so that I could write about it more clearly. Although I have been feeling Christ IN me since 2008 without interruption – and sometimes before too – those periods of having been IN Him were always transient in nature. However, I hoped and believed that one day my life would be changed into a “24/7 experience” of being IN Him as well. Or in other words, what I am speaking of here is entering into His rest, entering the promised land, that means, being able to see the kingdom of God everywhere, having our spiritual senses that belong to our new heart completely opened. Being IN Christ is a condition where our perception of God and the world is completely changed. We perceive everything around us in a new light that can be both seen inside of us and outside of us in every created thing. To put it briefly, we are enabled to see God wherever we might be and whatever we might look at.
Matthew Henry writes in his Commentary about 2 Corinthians 5,
Verses 16-21 The renewed man acts upon new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company. The believer is created anew; his heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given him. He is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Though the same as a man, he is changed in his character and conduct. These words must and do mean more than an outward reformation. The man who formerly saw no beauty in the Saviour that he should desire him, now loves him above all things. […]
Before God takes us into that blissful condition of beholding His beauty, there must happen something before. We read in 2 Cor 5:17 that “the old has passed away”. The Pulpit Commentary describes the “Old things; literally, the ancient things,” as “all that belongs to the old Adam.”
It is not a mere moment of dying to our fallen nature (i.e., old self), it is a process as I know from my own experience. And it is the same with the dawning of the new creation. Step by step, the old man looses his grip on that being which we used to call ME and the new man who has been born from above comes to light, more and more every day. The new creation is not an improved old self, it is a completely new self with divine features – only. The new man is not selfish, he loves everyone unconditionally and he is always patient and kind, not because it ought to be so, no – the new creation is in its very essence love, just as God is love.
Yesterday while biking in the afternoon, I had an astonishing experience. Having been a perfectionist all my life, I always had great difficulties when I made a mistake, blaming myself for it, over and over again. Although I realized how crazy that habit was – because all human beings make mistakes – I could not get free from feeling that way. Sitting on my bike, watching the gray sky and some people passing by, listening to the birds that were already twittering as if it was springtime, I suddenly began to grin. Indeed, I realized that I had made a mistake, that is, I had intentionally passed a danger sign on the biking trail that said, “High Water”. Of course, I only dared to do so because I knew that the high water had already been gone two days ago. Others might say, “Wherein lies the mistake if there is no high water? Someone forgot to remove the sign!” And that is true, for sure. But you don’t live in Germany where almost all things are forbidden and even if a sign makes no sense, you ought to “obey”. 😉 By the way, we have so many bad – and sometimes contradicting – traffic signs in Germany that many people decide to ignore them, but they have a bad conscience after doing so.
Well, where was that bad conscience to which I had been used to yesterday? At first I thought I felt it a bit as a little girl who had been watching me asked her mother why it was forbidden to pass there. But lo and behold, I suddenly sensed that the pain of self-reproach had been removed from my heart. The only thing I could think at that moment was, “Law is over, you live under grace.”
I began to smile as I felt that the old self of which I had thought it was ME began to say “Good Bye, Susanne.” Actually, it was not the only situation since yesterday where I felt the Lord has been drawing me gradually out of myself into Himself. Despite feeling dying pains of self, still, I also feel His love as pure as I never felt it before. I also wonder why I suddenly have faith where before was none. Why I suddenly can trust Him like a little child, even in areas of life where I recently had to realize that I had no faith and where I had been leery of God – I don’t know. Meanwhile the Lord also helped me to accept any pain that recently had still made me run away from Him.
Dear reader, it seems to me that God does miracles in the midst of pain and suffering, without us realizing it as long as all we perceive is darkness. But when He begins to lift the veil, we begin to see with those new eyes He gave us.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Cor 2:9 KJV)