Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 27, 1983
NUMBER 9, PAGE 8-9,13b

All Things New

Herschel E. Patton

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5: 17)

There is something exciting and desirable about that which is new. A new baby always attracts a lot of attention and brings pride and joy to the heart and countenance of its parents — and grandparents. A new house is a thrill to own or even look at. With many, few things bring more excitement and joy than a new automobile.

Let us not think, however, that the "old" is necessarily bad or undesirable. There are many old, proven paths that can be traveled with certainity and safety. "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." (Jer. 8:16) There are many principles of righteousness, freedom, and liberty that are just as dear and priceless today as they were hundreds of years ago. Friends, tested and true, do not become less desirable because of years. The new is desirable, and should be sought, when the old is no longer useful or proper.

Sentiment must not keep us wedded to something that is old which can no longer serve its purpose; is completely inadequate, and is even dangerous or injurious. Much sentiment may be attached to an old house, but if it has become dangerous, perhaps condemned, and no longer gives proper protection, it must give way to the new. Some people become greatly attached to an old automobile and "hate to part with it," but if it will no longer serve properly and is a hazard on the highways, it should be discarded for a new one. Even when friends become corrupt and ungodly, regardless of what they may have once meant to us, they should be discarded for new ones whose infuence will be for good instead of bad.

Our text says "all things are become new" with those "in Christ." It is my purpose to point out these things that are new, the glory of them and our need for these new things. That these things need to be studied is obvious from the fact that men have been, and are, reluctant to accept this newness found in Christ.

A New Creature

Our text describes the person in Christ as "a new creature." From Rom. 6.4-6 we learn that one is "buried with him by baptism into death" and raised to "walk in newness of life." A new life suggests a new creature. Peter speaks of new converts as "newborn babes." (1 Peter 2:2) Paul speaks of the "old man" being crucified with Christ. (Rom. 6:6) The death cf the "old" man makes possible the "new" man. In order that we may appreciate the new man and see the importance of becoming such, let us notice the characteristics of the "old" and "new" man.

The Old Man: Paul shows that the death of the "old man" equals the destruction of the body of sin. (Rom. 6:16) The "old man" is dominated by bodily, fleshly appetites, resulting in sin. Such a person is also referred to as being "in the flesh" and Paul says that when "in the flesh" sinful passions work in the members to bring fruit unto death. (Rom. 7:5) He declares, "in my flesh dwelleth no good thing." (Rom. 7:18) The flesh is ever restless; ever ready to assert itself. The depths to which the flesh leads may be seen by reading the degraded state of the Gentile world given in Rom. 1:28-31. Those "in the flesh" always "mind the things of the flesh" (Rom. 8:5) and "cannot please God." (Rom. 8:8) There is no escape from the sorrow and damnation of this course except in Christ. (Read Rom. 7:24-25, 3:23, 8:23.)

The New Man: The new man is one who has died to sin (Rom. 6:2, 7), had sins washed away (Rev. 1:5) and is therefore "free from condemnation." (Rom. 8:1) Instead of being dominated by the flesh, the new man is controlled by the Spirit, therefore minds the things of the spirit. (Rom. 8:4-5) He "walks in the Spirit" so that he does not "fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Gal. 5:16) He bears the fruit of the Spirit, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." (Gal 5:22-23) He engages not in the works of the flesh, "Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditious, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like." (vs. 19-21) Sin does not "reign in his mortal body" and he does not "yield his members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin." (Rom. 6:12-13) The new man will "mortify his members which are upon the earth" and have his affection set "on things above, not on things on the earth." (Col. 3:1-5)

Oh! how the world needs such new creatures! How you need to be one!

A New Law

A new law was prophesied in Old Testament times. The Hebrew writer was referring to this when he said, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." (Heb. 8:7-13) Isaiah prophesied the Lord's government, saying "out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:2-3)

It is clear from Heb. 8:7-14 that the old covenant or law was inadequate. Paul declared, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sir, condemned sin in the flesh." (Ram. 8:3) The chief weakness or inadequacy of the old law was in the fact it did not provide for the remission of sins. The Hebrew writer says "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the corners thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." (Heb. 10:1-4)

In view of this weakness of the old law, when it had served the purpose God intended, it was taken away — "nailed to the cross." (Col. 2:14) Using the marriage relationship with which to illustrate, Paul shows that the law is dead so that all who were formerly subject to it were free to be married to Christ. (Rom. 7:1-4)

The "new" law differs from the "old" in that it does free from sin. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. 8:2) James refers to it as the perfect law of liberty. (Jas. 1:25) Instead of being faulty, it is perfect. Instead of leaving its subjects in bondage, it sets at liberty. It also differs from the old in that God's laws are placed in the heart — in the mind, and "iniquities are remembered no more." (Heb. 8:19) This law went forth from Zion, or Jerusalem, as prophesied (Isa. 2:2, Luke 24:46-47), on Pentecost. (Acts 2) It Is the Law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2) His law is now supreme. (Matt. 28:19, Heb. 1:1-2, Matt. 17:5, Col. 3:17)

A New Name

The prophet Isaiah declared "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." (Isa. 62:2) "Israel" was a God-given name to Jacob and designated his seed or descendants However, God's plans for Israel's descendants involved others. The Romans were told that there is an Israel which was not necessarily of Israel. "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." (Rom. 9:6-8) Verse 25 says, "As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved."

Since this "new" name was to be given after "the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness," we may well look for the fulfillment of that prophecy following that event. In Acts 10 we read about the first Gentile convert, Cornelius. Acts 11:20 tells us that certain ones came to Antioch and "spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord." Verse 27 says "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." Adam Clark, in his commentary on this verse, says "The word in our common text, which we translate "were called," signifies in the New Testament, to appoint, warn, or nominate, by divine direction." Since this name was given by "divine appointment," it must be a fulfillment of Isa. 62:2. Peter declared "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf (in this name-R.S.V., 1 Peter 4:16). Paul labored to persuade Agrippa to be a "Christian." (Acts 26:28)

The wearing of human names was forbidden by the Holy Spirit, through Paul's teaching in 1 Cor. 1:10-13.

A New Relationship

Under the old law, God's people served with an attitude or spirit of bondage, for that system left them in bondage. But, under Christ, "ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Rom. 8:15) Under Christ, the spirit of son-ship exists — a father-son relationship. Concerning this, Paul wrote to the Galatians saying, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a Son, then an heir of God through Christ." (Gal. 4:4-7)

The closeness of his new relationship is clearly presented by numerous figures fcund in the New Testament. Those who have become "new creatures" in Christ are pictured as a family. This figure emphasizes the Father-Son relationship. Paul speaks of the "house of God, which is the church of the living God." (1 Tim. 3:15) The word house, in this passage, signifies family. In this family, God is the father and "new creatures" are brothers and sisters. (2 Cor. 6:18)

Another impressive figure, frequently used to present the close and vital relationship between saints and their Lord is that of a body. The church is called "the body" and Christ is said to be its head. (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:2223) The Spirit, through Paul, was emphasizing the relationship of Christians to one another when he said "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the Same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Rom. 12:4-5) The responsibility and functioning of those in Christ are further set forth through this figure in 1 Cor. 12:14-27)

The importance of remaining in this relationship in order to maintain the life that is new and produce the fruit that comes thereby is illustrated by Jesus' teaching concerning the "vine and branches." "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.... Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing...." (John 15:1-5)

This new relationship is also presented under the figure of a Kingdom. Those who have put off the old man and put on the new are spoken of as having been "delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son." (Col. 1:13) Jesus is the king of this kingdom. (Luke 23:2-3, Rev. 15:3) Speaking of Christians in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Eph. 2:19)

A New Heaven And Earth

The Bible teaches that those who become "new creatures" in Christ, subjecting themselves to the "New Law," are designated by the "New Name," and who sustain, in the church, that new and wonderful "Father-Son" relationship, have a glorious hope. They are described as heirs of a "new heaven and earth." Peter gives assurance that the "day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up....Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (2 Peter 3:10-13) In this wonderful place, God is pictured as dwelling among his people, wiping away all tears from their eyes and banishing forever death, sorrow, crying, and pain. (Rev. 21:1-5)

This Newness Is Conditional

Our text declares, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature...." To experience "all things new," one must be in Christ. This is accomplished through a "New Birth." Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again (anew), he cannot see the kingdom of God." He explained this further by saying, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:3-5) The two elements of this new birth are "Spirit" and "water." The Spirit plays the part of the begettal. The Spirit guided the apostles into all truth (John 16:13) and Peter says "having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God...." (R.S.V. 1 Peter 1:23) Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, "for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." (1 Con 4:15) The water of the new birth refers to baptism. It is from the waters of baptism that one is "raised to walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:3-4) We also learn from Rom. 8:1-4 that it is in baptism that the old man is buried, having died.

Not only are "all things new" conditioned upon entering Christ, but also upon remaining — abiding in Him. Read again the vine and branch illustration. (John 15:1-6) In being raised in baptism one is "to walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:5) Walking is not standing still. The "crown of life" is conditioned upon "be thou faithful unto death." (Rev. 2:10)

Do you not see the inadequacy and destroying power of the "old man"? Behold the glory of having "all things new"! Why not begin enjoying the "new" today?

— Box 282, Lawrenceburg, Tenn.