2 Corinthians 5:1
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Paul uses the word “therefore” which means that this verse should be interpreted in light of what has come before it. Paul is using an if/then statement: If anyone is in Christ, he (they) is a new creation.
what does it mean to be in Christ? It means that we are believers who are apart of Christ’s body. Jesus says a similar things in John 15 when he says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” This points to the fact that we are connected to Christ, an because we are connected to Christ we are new creations.
What does it mean to be a new creation? If we are new creations it means a couple things. One, it mean that our whole person is different. Everything about us is new which means that we talk, act, and think in a completely different way, in a way that is consistent with who Jesus is. Two, it also means that we are apart of this new redeemed creation that Jesus is bringing about throughout the course of human history that will one day be fully realized when he returns, and everything around us is made new.
Paul also says that the old (the way we thought and lived before Jesus) has passed away or died, and the new life (eternal life and way of life) has come.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 Paul is restating the gospel in terms of dying with Christ. He says that since on died for all (Christ), all have died. This all is not everyone in the world, but all those who would come to believe in Christ. That word “all” can be translated “many.” So Christ died for many (those who would believe in him), and therefore many have died. The ide of died is that they died to the flesh the same way Jesus did and they have been raised to new life. According to verse 15 this means that Jesus died so that those who believe in him would die to their earthly desires and instead would live for Him (Jesus) who died and came back to life.
It is in light of these verses that Paul calls believers new creations. Because Christ has died to the flesh and really overcame sin and death so to believers have died to the desires of the flesh and have overcome sin and death. This means that because of Christ we are new creations who no longer live for our own desires, but instead we live for Christ and his desires. Everything in our life changes as we leave our own selfish life behind and we begin to pursue a new life with Jesus.
The reality is that we need to understand that the work of Christ on our behalf is part of a greater work that Jesus is doing to redeem a new creation, a new race of people, for himself. As a result, by his grace and power, he has chosen to save us to be apart of this new and redeemed creation. This means that the scope of Jesus’ work is way larger than our individual lives and is part of his work to establish and build his kingdom on earth. We are made new by Christ because it is his will and purpose to redeem forever a great multitude of people for himself so that our Triune God would be worshipped and enjoyed forever.
The main point is because Jesus died on the cross and was raised to new life, we also, as his people, have been raised to new life. This means that everything in our life has changed. We are no longer controlled by the flesh which is sinful, but we are controlled by Christ. His Holy Spirit lives within us which means that we are now seeking to live, act, and speak for the purpose of honoring and making Christ known and not for our own purposes. Literally speaking, the old life before Christ (old ways of thinking and living) have passed and the new life has come.
The call of this passage is for us to realize and live as if we are new creations. This means that we need to live as if we are freed from the law which brought guilt and condemnation and instead we are supposed to live in the freedom that Christ brings. Does this mean that we will now live perfectly? No, but it does mean that we don’t have to try to measure up and earn God’s favor because we have died with Christ, and because we have died with Christ (meaning he took the punishment for our sin and conquered sin and death on our behalf) we now, by the power of his Holy Spirit, are accepted by God, can worship him freely and can live differently. We can live to please and honor God instead of living to honor ourselves realizing that we are already accepted in and through Christ and that our obedience is for God’s glory, but it is also for our greatest good and joy.