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2 Corinthians 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.
J, F & B commentary:
"Therefore — connected with the words in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “We know Christ no more after the flesh.” As Christ has entered on His new heavenly life by His resurrection and ascension, so all who are “in Christ” (that is, united to Him by faith as the branch is In the vine) are new creatures (Romans 6:9-11). “New” in the Greek implies a new nature quite different from anything previously existing, not merely recent, which is expressed by a different Greek word (Galatians 6:15)."
"He gave the power to become sons of God"... HE gave the power. Why does one need power to become a son of God? Can they not just choose to become a son of God and follow Him? What is it to be "born of God"? There is something mysterious that takes place when one is born of God. It is more than an act of our will. It is more than our choosing to just "receive Christ". How many followed Jesus in His day and yet just as quickly turned against Him in the end and shouted "Crucify Him!" We see it all the time... someone who went forward at an altar call and "received Christ as His Savior" by "saying the sinner's prayer". What happened? Why does it not work for some?
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
It is more than a rote prayer that saves one and makes him a new creation. It is something done in the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. First the Holy Spirit calls them. He woos them, opening their eyes to see the truth of Who He is, their own sin against Him, and the condemnation they are under. He convicts them... He convinces and proves to them they have sinned against Him... a holy God, and are judged worthy of death. People think to skip over this and come to Christ many times on their own terms "by their own will" but without the power of God having revealed what they need to be saved from. It's not popular to preach against sin. It's not politically correct to tell people they are lost and on their way to hell. In fact today's "emerging" church does away with sin and makes it appear to be an outdated principle and we just need to find our fulfillment in life, and Jesus wants to help us do that according to them. No sin, no sacrifice needed, no blood, no cross to take up, and no true spiritual life or salvation. "Just receive Jesus." But they are making up their own jesus to receive and their own christianity, not that which is true, that which is of the Bible. We "believe" (complete trust and reliance) into Him (all He is and did for us) and receive "power"... it was not the "will of the flesh" that made us a new creation or made us a child of God or born of Him. It was His power as we believed. There is nothing magical about a rote prayer, or even our will to change our course of life. It is His power that makes us a complete new creation, born of God.
Many come to Jesus on their terms and try to live the Christian life on their terms. There has been no conviction of their sin. There is no need to change on their part, other than maybe a few things to outwardly conform to what they believe they must to fit in with their new religion. They can work to change themselves, to improve themselves, to try to live up to a standard, yet never become a "new creation". There is a "new creation" that must take place. That new creation is not our changing ourselves through our own repentance. True repentance that is acceptable to God is a godly sorrow over the sin that we have been convicted of by the Holy Spirit, that causes us to turn to Him in faith and say, "You are right about me, God, and I have been wrong. I believe in You to forgive me, save me from myself, and come in to live in me and make me new." It is that repentance that is true, of the power of God that has opened our eyes to see our sin in His light, not just our acts of sin, but that we are utterly sinful and hopelessly lost, and that we cannot save ourselves but through His coming in to us by His Spirit and doing the saving, that saves us truly. It was not any act of our own in trying to straighten ourselves out to make ourselves acceptable to Him. It is in seeing truly how unacceptable we could ever be by our own efforts. It is by His grace that He drew us, called us, opened our eyes, and gave us the power to come to Him and faith in response to that by saying "yes God" and turning to Him.
When we have seen, and when we have come to Him, we are not then saved by our continuing to work to better ourselves, or keep ourselves, or endure, or persevere. He continues that work in us... He Who began it in the first place. It is His work. We are His workmanship. We are His creation. That which He began He continues.
Does His work only go so far and the rest is up to us? We do have a responsibility, but what is that responsibility? We are His workmanship. We have been created "in Christ Jesus." We have not been saved by good works, nor are we kept by them, or sanctified by them. We were created in Him, given a new nature, to walk in those good works that He ordained beforehand. We are to learn by faith to walk in what He has created, and what He has made us, and what He has prepared for us to do. The Gospel is not grace plus works, or grace plus law, or grace plus sanctification. The Gospel is salvation by grace from beginning to end, an act of God, not of ourselves less any man should boast, and it is a new creation. It is man that adds to it out of unbelief and misunderstanding of what that power to save is. That sanctification is a part of His work...
Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
We sanctify, "set ourselves apart" unto Him Who has set us apart for Himself, and made us perfect, complete, through the blood of Christ, to learn of Him, and learn to walk in that which He has done, living it out in this life, in order to now in this life partake of that and escape the corruption in this world. To the extent we do this, by faith, to that extent Christ is formed in our earthly walk and manifested in us and to others around us. The more we grow in this grace and walk in that sanctification, the greater our eternal reward is with Him in eternity and the more we enjoy our life in Him here and now. We are sanctified eternally, and yet we are being sanctified as we learn of that now and walk in it by faith. If we think we must hold on to our salvation by becoming sanctified, our motives, our works and all we do in our Christian life is under the wrong motive and we are not walking out of faith in His finished work, but trying in our flesh to finish it ourselves. We still think we must finish His work and fear losing it if we do not endure. But our whole argument is wrong. It’s started from a false understanding of the power of His salvation.
When He brings us to the place where we see that we cannot endure anymore, where we see it is beyond us, then finally, we see that it was He all along that had been keeping us, and it is He that will keep us to the end. When we come to the place where our faith fails us and cannot humanly go on, that's the place where we truly see that He alone endures in and through us and it is only His power and His light in us that can give us the faith to hold on even as He holds us. Once we find that place, our souls find a rest in Him. We find that no matter what our circumstances, good or bad, we can count on Him to keep us and to hold us and to enable us. It's from this place we can finally truly walk in the obedience of faith and work for Christ... the works He has foreordained that we do. That new creation we have been made, continues to be... it does not die and become an old creation again. How can it. All things have become new. What God has created is eternal. It never dies again. It is new. It has been raised with Christ unto life for Him (Romans 6:3-10). Eternal life cannot die. You cannot be in and out of a new creation. The Holy Spirit cannot be in and out of you according to how well you perform. If His seed is in you, it remains in you (1 John 3:9). To believe one can lose this salvation is to believe this is up to our ability to believe strong enough to keep it, our power to have a strong enough will to keep on keeping on, to believe it is up to us to make ourselves "new" and to deny that we are a new creation that is something supernatural, something that is of God alone, something that is by His Spirit in us, not of ourselves. It is to deny the power of that salvation as of God. If we fear that we will lose it unless we believe it is up to us to keep it and work hard to become "sanctified" then we are not walking in faith, but unbelief in the power of God and what He has done through Christ. Instead of seeing how many ways the Bible clearly says that salvation is eternal, complete, finished, and secure in Christ, and that it is of His work, we add our "but" to each Scripture we read to fit it with those that seem to say we can lose it, as though those Scriptures were the foundation of what the true Gospel is, and we explain it away. We add to grace. We add to the Gospel. So we remain in our blindness and unbelief. I walked in this unbelief for half of my Christian life under what was taught to me as "the full Gospel". Yet it was when I came to the end of myself, really giving up, really not having any faith left, that the Lord manifested Himself to me as my all. It was then that He manifested Himself in me to be my eternal Savior to the uttermost and that it was He Who saved me, kept me, and would finish that work that He Himself began.
That power to save is a power to "save to the uttermost."
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Have you "come to God by Him?" This is the only way you will be accepted into Him, and receive the true, living Christ. This is the only way He will give you His Spirit to indwell you. There is no other way to be saved but by Him. Have you seen your sin in His light? Once you do, and you are truly convicted, and you turn to Him in faith, it is only then that you will receive His Spirit that gives you the power to become a true child of God. Only then can you become a "new creation". Only then can you walk in sanctification by faith. Only then can you pass eternally, even now in this life, from death to life.
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Sadly, many Christians try walking as though it were up to them, and do not understand the power of their salvation. If we walk in ignorance of the life in us, the power in us, the new creation created in Christ Jesus (it is more than a "legal position" that we can be in and out of, it is a true position in Christ that is permanent), then we are not walking in faith, even as we think to "ask the Holy Spirit to help us". He cannot help us walk in our flesh. He can only keep showing us our flesh and revealing to us that new creation and calling us to walk in that by faith, complete trust in Him alone and His workmanship. If we are not walking in the knowledge of that and in faith in that, we are walking according to the flesh, though it be religious flesh. We can think ourselves sanctified yet we have a falsely "sanctified flesh" that we still need to be delivered from. We need to pray that the Lord expose clearly in His light all in us that is of our flesh and all that is of His new creation and the power of His Spirit. We need to deny and subdue that flesh by the power of His Spirit by faith in that new creation, and walk in His light. If we walk according to the flesh the Bible says "we will die". We will not lose that eternal salvation but we will not have the power of His life in us to walk in and in this life we walk in the death of that flesh and don't benefit from it. Death means to separate. The power of His life in us is deprived and we are separated from it as we walk in the flesh. If every time we walked in the flesh we lost our salvation, how hopeless we would be!!! Where do you draw the line to say this much sin and I lose it or that much is ok? None of it is ok. All sin is punished by death. Do you mean to say God accepts some sin in the Christian and some level of it He does not? He doesn't accept any. If you think He does you deceive yourself. His standard never changes. If you live by that you must live under the law of sin and death and be under condemnation for every breaking of the moral law. When He says "there is therefore no condemnation" He means it for the believer. Not because He excuses sin now, but because He has paid the full penalty, He has "condemned sin in the flesh". He has deprived it of its power over us, both to rule us and to condemn us. He has saved us from it and given us His Spirit to walk by, only as we walk in faith in that finished work and new creation. If we don't understand it, how can we walk in it? If we don't understand it, but walk in fear of losing it, we find ourselves walking under condemnation for our sin each time we fail and no power to overcome it, though as believers we are no longer under condemnation in reality, and we find ourselves powerless to truly overcome.
"The flesh cannot please God." This is true for an unbeliever but it is true for the Christian who does not understand life in the Spirit. He cannot overcome sin by his flesh. He cannot please God by his flesh. He cannot obey God by trying to keep His commands in the flesh. The flesh only tries to please itself, even as it fools itself into thinking it keeps God's commands, always finding a way to compromise so that it thinks it pleases God without being deprived of its desires. Compromise with the world, with worldly lusts, the pride of life, and acceptance by the world and yet thinking to be ok with God is not of faith but the flesh. When one truly comes into God's light and the flesh is exposed, it is exposed as enmity toward God and finds that to take God's side against the flesh, you must stand alone in this world and be persecuted and rejected and many times suffer loss. Many believers think they live in obedience by keeping certain things they perceive as God's law, yet they are living in their own flesh and walking in "death" not in life. All that is of the flesh is death (separation from God). All that is of the Spirit is true life.
May the Lord open our eyes and enable us to come into His light and let our heart of hearts be exposed to see what is of faith and what is of the flesh in our walk with Him. May He open our eyes to see clearly the walk He has called us to walk in Him. Father in Heaven, enable us to "take Your yolk upon us and learn of You" and not pull against it walking and striving in our own efforts any longer. May we truly walk by the obedience of faith! In Jesus name, enable us dear Lord. Amen. May all who read this seek out His Word to "see if these things be so", by the power of His Spirit and not by preconceived doctrines and philosophies of any organization.
If you don't know for sure you have eternal life, and you want to know, please visit my salvation page to learn more about how you know for sure.