Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2 Corinthians 5:17 -- On Becoming New Creatures in Christ

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17

I like the whole idea of becoming a "new creature" in Christ: the idea that when we know Christ, and are part of him, that everything becomes new.  Everything that we used to be and everything that we don't want to be can be discarded, and everything that we are and that we want to be can start fresh.  It's the symbolism of baptism and rebirth... leaving sin behind and becoming clean and pure.  As an added clarification, the footnote on "in Christ" leads us to 1 John 2:2-5, which says in part, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3).  So, it takes some effort on our parts, to let go of the old so that we can be new.
Alma explains the process a little bit more fully in Mosiah 27:24-28.  Alma's story is interesting.  He was persecuting the church, and then he saw an angel who asked him to stop persecuting the church, and he realized it was all real... all the things that his father had been teaching.  And he goes through a very dramatic transformation.  In order to be "born again" and changed, he had to repent of his sins and turn to God, and become his.  It wasn't easy.  He said that he had to wade through much tribulation and repent "nigh unto death" (Mosiah 27:28).
Although hopefully it won't take all of us close to death, becoming a new creature or being reborn in Christ is always a process that requires effort and change.  Alma explains part of the process in Alma 5: "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" (verse 14) and then later, "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" (verse 26).  The rebirth can't just be a one-time thing.  It has to be something that we experience, and maintain, always feeling that connection with God and that newness of Spirit... changing for God and *staying* changed.
Today, if we haven't been reborn in Christ through baptism and confirmation, or being born of water and of spirit, then let's consider taking that first step... symbolic, yes, but also literal, as our sins are forgiven and washed away.  And if we have been reborn in Christ and changed into a new creature, then let's make sure that we are retaining that gift in our lives, through the sacrament but also through the lives that we live every day.  Let's make the effort to stay free of sin, to stay in contact with God, to live in newness of Spirit.  Let's feel so now, and be new creatures today... to feel reborn every day, in Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews