Here and now: New creation

May 8th, 2019

Since I professed faith in Jesus Christ in 1963, my favorite Bible verse has been 2 Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, the new has come. ” [1]

In this post, the only thing I want to point out is that the new creation is a present-moment experience. Life “in Christ” is for here and now.

In the present moment, we are being transformed. The old has passed away, the new has come. Paul does not define what is “old” and what is “new,” but the context in which the verse appears helps us to see what he meant.

The old is regarding anyone from a human point of view (5:16). John Wesley wrote that this means we no longer determine the value of another person relative to their past, their nationality, genealogy, status, wealth, power or wisdom. [2] When we live this way, we do not see or relate to others as God intends. That kind of thing has “passed away.”

In this context, the new is viewing everyone as a sibling in the human family. Wesley commented on this as well, “We fear not the great. We regard not the rich or wise. We account no one less than ourselves.” [3] Living in the substance and spirit of 2 Corinthians 5:17, we live “in Christ” here-and-now with a sense of equality with, inclusion of, and ministry to all people.

This is a message Paul repeated in others of his letters (e.g. Colossians 3:11). Life “in Christ” removed every wall that divides (Galatians 3:28) and made one sacred humanity out of all its pieces and parts (Ephesians 2:15). This, Paul makes clear, has been God’s plan from the beginning — a plan being fulfilled in and through Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10).

From the new creation we learn that here-and-now living is radical oneness. It is inclusion, not isolation … humility, not hubris … love, not legalism … joining, not judging … reconciling, not rejecting. And all of this, and more, is experienced and expressed in the present moment. Thanks be to God! 

[1] Since then, I have added verse 18, which shows that as new creations, we are given a ministry — the ministry of reconciliation.

[2] John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament (1755), note for Ephesians 5:16.

[3] Ibid.

Steve Harper is the author of For the Sake of the Bride and Five Marks of a Methodist. He blogs at Oboedire.

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