Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
People long for transformation. It’s easy to see on media of all kinds the story of someone become someone or something new. The flabby become fit, the plain become beautiful, the weak become strong. These stories catch our attention, because there is a God-given longing in each of us for transformation.
Physical appearance is relatively easy to change, but it is much more difficult to genuinely become a new person. No one has the power to make themselves a person made in the image of Jesus Christ. But Jesus can and does change us. Once He does, then we are called to go out and live like “the new you.”
This promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17 is remarkably broad, being for anyone. It doesn’t matter what class, what race, what nationality, what language, or what level of intelligence. In Jesus Christ, anyone can be a new creation. However, it is a promise for anyone who is in Christ. This is not a promise for those who are in themselves, or in the religion of men, or in someone or something else. This is for those in Christ.
Paul here taught the great principle of regeneration. Jesus Christ changes those who come to Him by faith and who are in Christ. The saved are not “just forgiven.” They are changed into a new creation.
In 1954, Billy Graham led a remarkable crusade in London. It lasted for weeks and weeks, and ever since, Billy has met people all over the world who were brought to Jesus Christ during that crusade. One story was worthy of mention.
One of Billy Graham’s associates noticed two men come into the crowded arena, and the men sat near the back. They apparently did not know each other, but in just a few moments of loud conversation, they found two things to agree upon: they did not like Americans, and they especially did not like American evangelists like Billy Graham. They agreed that they had both come to see the show, just to make fun of it.
So, they sat in the back and joked around through the whole service. But as Billy Graham presented the message of the gospel – the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done, especially in His sacrificial death and victorious resurrection – the hearts of both men were touched by the Holy Spirit. Both recognized their need for salvation and decided to go forward at the invitation to express their faith and to commit their lives to Jesus Christ. The first man turned to his new companion and said, “I’m going forward.” The other one said, “I am too. And here’s your wallet back – I’m a pickpocket.”
That’s evidence of new life. Have you been made new in Jesus Christ? If you have, are you living like it?