2 Corinthians 5:17
ESV - 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
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This concept emanates from 2 Cor. 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" Notice, "be in Christ" is to be "a new creature". But, what does it mean to be "in Christ"? The meaning can be deduced from the context when one considers the prior verse: 2 Cor. 5:16 "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." "Henceforth" suggest the future at resurrection when we will be composed of spirit-body and no more "flesh". Previously, they knew Jesus "after the flesh" or human. But Jesus, having been resurrected into spirit-body, they knew him no more "as flesh". Similarly, John stated in I John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall (future) be. We know that, if he shall be manifested (second coming in spirit-body), we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is." When we finally become "spirit-bodily", then and only then will manifest ourselves as "new creation". Notice that man-Jesus (flesh-and-blood) also became "spirit-composed" at resurrection, with the capacity to be seen by people as "flesh-and-blood/human". Notice this change from "mortal (physical bodies) to immortal (spirit-bodies) and compare the following parallels: Genesis 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth" and were "very good" (Gen. 1:31), that "angels shouted for joy"(Job 38:4-7). Then in v-2, the earth became "without form (tohuw) and void (bohuw) and darkness in the face of death". Then, transformation was done in 1:3-19 when "lights" manifest " and there was light. Also in Genesis 1, after the non-living things like the universe were created, living things subsequently were formed,i.e., death then life. That time in Genesis, plant kingdom was created; followed by the animal kingdom, each of the them different from another, yet each one begets their own kind. Rose begets rose as apples beget apples,)altho there can be cross-breeding as animals can), but still within the same kind or species. But, after the plant and animal kingdoms were created, God said, "let us make man after our image". Notice the God did not plan to create a "human kingdom". In fact, history tells us that all human kingdoms fail. The kingdoms of men typified by a Tower of Babel, Nebuchadnezzar's succession of human kingdoms through the ten toes when a "stone" broke them into pieces and the stone " filled the earth"(v-35) Dan. 2:31-45. In summary, God is creating a "God-kingdom" from a "template/temple" of humans. As a potter, God planned to transform "marred clay" and re-make it into what is "good" (Jer. 18:4-6). From mortal to immortal; from flesh-blood/ physical to spirit/bodies. This is a "new creation" (II Cor.5:17), a "new creature" higher (although temporarily lower, Heb. 2) than angelic creation. It is awesome that we got this gift by grace because of the "faith and works" (of) Jesus. See also Gal. 6:12-16, Eph. 2:11-22, Eph 4:17-24, and Colossians 3:1-11.
It simply means we are born of God. When we believe the gospel, First Corinthians 15:1-4 we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and are given eternal life. Ephesians 1:13-14. Now we have a new nature. We are born of God. But we still have our old sinful nature as it is not done away with. Paul talks about it in Romans 7. We all still do things we should not do, and do not do the things we should. And, even though we are forgiven all trespasses, Colossians 2:13 we still reap what we sow. We can not lose our salvation because Jesus blood sacrifice paid for all sin. But if we continue to live in some sins we can lose our life and our rewards in heaven. If a child of God overdoses on drugs, he will die. But the Holy Spirit who lives in us can not die. Once we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the new birth, we are a child of God forever. We are born into Gods family. We are born again by the Holy Spirit. But how we live after we are saved determines our rewards or loss of rewards in heaven. We can not save our selves by what we do, and we can not lose our salvation by what we do. We are not saved by keeping Gods laws, but by receiving the free gift of salvation by grace. Romans 11:6 Salvation is a free gift of God, not by works. So the good things we do after we are saved we will be rewarded for in heaven. Those who overcome the sin in their lives will be given a crown of righteousness. We have His righteousness imputed to us when we trust Jesus as our savior. Romans 4:6. He imputes His righteousness to us. But as we grow in grace, we grow and show that grace to others. We learn to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. We are all sinners to a degree because the bible says so. There is none righteous, no not one. That is why we needed a savior in the first place. We are to confess our sins to stay in fellowship with our heavenly Father. Our relationship never changes. We are a child of God. John 1:12.
In order to answer this question we need to understand Paul's theology on "the two Adams". Christ is called "the last Adam" (1 Cor 15:45) or the second Adam. In Romans 5:14 Paul states that Adam was "a type of Him who was to come." "For since by a man (Adam) came death, by a man ("the last Adam") also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (future tense). But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming." 1 Cor 15:21-23 Paul's position is that all men came from Adam and are therefore sinful & mortal. See Romans 5:12. Yet by the incarnation, life, death & resurrection of Christ, He ("the last Adam") has taken to heaven a "new creation". We can see this fact in the following verses: God "raised us up with Him (Christ - "the last Adam"), and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Eph 2:6 "For He (God) rescued us from the domain of darkness (this world under Satan), and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Christ - "the last Adam"), in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Col 1:13,14
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