Selected extracts from the book:
The revelation to the apostle Paul of the New Creation in Christ is perhaps the most important and the most positive concept of truth for Christians today. It affects the believer’s prayer life, guidance, confidence, in fact, every aspect of a believer’s relationship to our Father God.
The church has preached man’s unworthiness so often that Christians have believed it. Certainly a person who has not become a Christian is unworthy to stand in God’s presence — but not one who has accepted Christ’s work upon the cross. The New Creation can stand in God’s presence with a sense of worth, for the Christ in us makes us worthy.
In the past decade, there has been an emphasis in Christianity on the need for self-esteem and dignity. An appreciation of what God has made you in Christ gives you self-esteem and boldness, enabling you to meet every situation you will ever run across — and come out a winner every time!
May these studies in the New Creation be the catalyst for a new way of life for you.
1 Nothing Else Matters
There are two key verses in the New Testament concerning the New Creation in Christ. While the second verse is better known, the first verse is vital for it clearly demonstrates the place of the New Creation in the life of a Christian.
For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation (Galatians 6:15 ESV)
“The only thing that counts is a new creation!” (New English Bible). A free translation might be, “Nothing else matters but a new creation.”
What does matter to you? Your answer will vary considerably, depending on whether you are, for example, a parent or a student, in management or sales. In addition, what matters to you will change as you progress through life. However, regardless of which labels are placed on you and at what stage of physical life you may be, the truth is that “nothing else matters but a new creation”. Your understanding of the truth of the New Creation will determine your success in every aspect of your life. The distinction is vital and vibrant, and when seen and applied can change a believer and a ministry into a powerful force for God.
In Galatians 6:15 the New Creation is shown in its relation to religious
ceremony. The Jewish rite of circumcision is given as an example of all
religious practices based on works. All works-based religious actions are worth nothing in God’s sight, regardless of whether it is putting flowers on the altar or serving fellow man or tithing to the church. Giving up a works-based religion is not the full answer either, for that too is worth nothing in God’s sight. “Nothing else matters but the New Creation.” The passage continues, “To all who live by this principle. may there be peace and mercy!” (verse 16 Phillips).
The truth of the New Creation in Christ has as its foundation a passage in II Corinthians chapter 5 that is quoted often in the church world, yet believed less often, and acted upon quite rarely.
The passage under discussion starts in verse 17 with these power-packed words,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (II Corinthians 5:17).
And the passage concludes with verse 21, where the extent and greatness of the New Creation is made clear,
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21).
I find it thrilling to observe that once a man or woman is said to be “in Christ”, the scripture states there is “a new creation”. There is no suggestion that this is a promise to be fulfilled in heaven or that the result described will become a reality when certain conditions are fulfilled, but it does state that the moment we are “in Christ” a New Creation is a reality.
I notice also that it is not a “re-creation” that is spoken of here. God does not take the old things of my life and give them a “spit and polish job” and make them new in appearance. God places within me something entirely new, for verse 17 continues by stating that “the old has gone, the new has come!” “His old life has disappeared…” (Knox); “the past is finished and gone.” (Phillips); “a new life has begun.” (LB); “a new order has already begun.” (NEB). How much has become new? Everything. There is nothing of the old left; “everything has become fresh and new” (Phillips). And the scripture also declares that,
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians
“All this is from God”, and since God is spirit (John 4:24) then the New Creation is a spiritual inside job. The word “of” (KJV) is rendered by many translations as “from”, the genitive of origin.
So God has done a wonderful thing for those who believe in their heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with their mouth Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9). It’s nothing that Peter Wade can do, or Billy Graham, or Oral Roberts, it is something God has done. And since God is the Creator of the New Creation, then it must be perfect, for God is perfect. And I can conceive of no greater perfection than for a believer to be declared “the righteousness of God in Him” (verse 21). How righteous is God? The answer has to be “totally righteous”. Then how righteous is the believer? Just as righteous as God!
This New Creation message is part of the philosophy of ministry to which I adhere. It is one of the distinctives of this positive ministry of God’s Word. Everything that I do and believe is basically an outworking of this philosophy of ministry that could be termed the New Creation message. Others speak of our Christ life and our union with Christ, which are also excellent terms. It is possible that other fellowships who share this philosophy of ministry may do things differently to the way in which we minister or fellowship. And since God is a God of variety, these differences are perfectly wonderful, for methods may vary but the message remains the same.
The New Creation message, I believe, has made a significant change in our lives and is the foundational and consolidating truth that will change other people’s lives also. The impact of this truth can perhaps be better understood if examined in three parts. It is a message of completeness; it is a message of contentment; it is a message of confidence.
3. Prayer and the New Creation
An understanding of the greatness of the New Creation demands a fresh look at the subject of prayer. The large range of books about prayer and containing prayers seen in Christian bookstores would seem to indicate a constant dissatisfaction with the believer’s prayer life, otherwise these books would not sell. It will be helpful to first consider the popular concept of prayer.
If I wanted a sub-title for this chapter, I would use this phrase, “Practising the Absence of God”, to misquote Brother Lawrence. So much that passes for prayer would fit very well under that heading. I remember driving across Indiana on one occasion and since it was Sunday I was listening to various religious programs on the car radio. One preacher on a popular broadcast was talking about prayer. He said that the prayer that moved God was like coming up to a door and knocking so hard and so long that the knuckles were bruised and blood was dripping down the door! I thought that he must have had a different God than I have. I do not see prayer as a knuckle-bruising exercise before results are evident.
It also worries me when Christians use prayer as blackmail, “Lord, get me out of this situation and I’ll do this or that for you, I’ll give this or that to you.” How can believers possibly think they can blackmail God into action? Surely that is not prayer. I also get concerned when I hear Christians using prayer like a supermarket shopping list, “Lord, give me this, and this, and this.” Prayer is surely not a daily visit to the spiritual supermarket. Sometimes I see signs in Christian homes that declare, “Prayer Changes Things.” Prayer never changes things; prayer will change you; and when your attitude to “things” changes, then you will see results independent of circumstances.
One further popular concept is particularly damaging, and that is that prayer will change the mind of God regarding a specific matter. Prayer does not alter the mind of God; it will alter your mind towards God. Prayer does not condition the mind of God about your needs; it conditions your mind to receive the supply of all your needs. God already knows what you need, according to Matthew 6:32-33, “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Are you a part of His kingdom? Do you have His righteousness? Every believer does, according to New Testament scriptures (Colossians 1:13; II Corinthians 5:21). Then the things that the Father knows you need, you already have — for you are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10) and are blessed with all spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). Prayer, then, does not alter the mind of God. He has already made it plain that He has provided the best for you — why would any believer want to alter God’s mind about that!
4 Guidance and the New Creation
There are eight words in the Psalms that have wrapped within them a significant truth and are worthy of our interest and study as New Creation people.
Be still, and know that I am God
What a fascinating concept, to “Be still, and know.” Many at first thought would expect the verse to read, “Be stirred and feel that I am God,” or even “Be startled, and fear that I am God.” A good number of committed Christians would expect God to say, “Pray, and know that I am God” or even “Read My Word, and know that I am God.”
Yet the command is clear and the translation is adequate, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Why has God brought these two actions together? There is nothing wrong in being still; there is nothing wrong in knowing. And brought together, these two actions produce an evidence of God in our midst, of a God at hand with watchful care over us. The relationship demands enquiry.
The conscious action of being still somehow makes it easier for us to know that God is right with us. This truth is perhaps even more necessary today than when it was written. In the society in which we live, most of us are chasing all over the place, busier than a bee, and we fail to “tune in” to God. Forgetting that we may be just one idea away from success, ignoring the advantage of having One give us expert advice, we go charging on our way and wonder why we fail to get the results that God’s Word promises.
A Christian believer who is filled with the power of God and is thus tapped into the unlimited resources of God, needs to get still, to get quiet, and recognize the guidance that is freely offered to him or her. There is really no magic or metaphysical “mumbo-jumbo” in receiving guidance from God. I am convinced that such guidance is being showered upon us every moment of the day. The problem is that we do not recognize it or make a conscious effort to receive the offered direction.
Copyright © 1997 Peter Wade. From the book, You Are A New Creation, now back in print as “In Christ: A New Creation” (1997.) The Bible text in this article, except where otherwise indicated, is from the New International Version (NIV), Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. This article appears on the site: https://www.peterwade.com/.