Basic Christianity 101
Why I am a New Creation In Christ
“For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Phillips Modern English)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (King James Version)
One reason why I never sustained growth as a new Christians or even as a veteran Christian, is that I never knew I was radically changed at salvation. My pastor never told me why I was different. It’s like the 1969 Mets going from worst to first to win the World Series. Lou’s world just reversed itself and I didn’t know it. I didn’t see it or feel it because it was a spiritual change that occurred over and against spiritual darkness and the natural world. I had a spiritual change, but my body and soul didn’t know it yet. Maybe like you, I felt like the old me when we get up from the altar. Life often seemed the same. But, I are now a righteous being different from the world around me. I was a new righteous creation.
You see, the modern church is not pagan enough to understand how radically different Christianity is today and was in New Testament times. It is hard to believe that in for centuries even after Christ, pagan priests sacrificed human beings, slaughtered animals, ingested or smoked drugs, ordered the murder of non-believers or engaged in ritualistic sex in full view of those assembled. Today Christians all denominations have essentially civilized the Gospel to a set of guidelines, rules, dogmas, rituals, graphs, pie charts and self-help books Paul, and the other founders, therefore had no standard operating procedures to go by. Christianity was so different, it was hard to describe in koine Greek because they had nothing to compare it to.
I had nothing to compare it to either because in my life, living among both unbelievers, and believers, I could see no difference. I believed nothing actually happened mentally, spiritually, or physically when I got saved. I thought for years that things just happened on my behalf because I believed in Jesus and did righteous acts. I didn’t understand that something really did happen to me in the spirit: I was made righteous. Therefore, clichés and quotes became the staple of my theology of salvation because I never understood that I was a spirit that inhabits a body that possesses a soul. The spirit part of me is a valid part of me just as my right arm is. I used the describe my salvation experience as Jesus came to live in my heart, born again, or even hold up John 3:16 signs at football games. I thought my relationship was more contractual than conversional because I knew that a holy God was not going to have anything to do with a sinner like me unless I acted right. When I got “saved,” I thought basically I was making a mental agreement with God. I thought that if I continued to actively believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, came to church regularly give, and acted right, and repented every time I did something wrong, God would bless me and insure that heaven was reasonably in my future. Even though I felt detached from God, I was never taught that God was never detached from me. After years of study I learned that I was truly a new creation because certain irreversible things happened to my spirit, soul and body at salvation. I didn’t know that I was a righteously re-created person.
Your spirit, soul and body is affected – irreversibly – at the moment of salvation changing you into a new creation – kainos ktisis. This goal of this change is to transform you into the image of the Christ. Some of us are changed kicking and screaming and some of us are changed with great relief by the Holy Spirit in right in front of our peers and satan. When we are saved, our spirits, souls and bodies immediately experienced the power of God’s saving grace in many areas that transcend our earthly senses. We immediately do actually become new creatures. Not new in the sense of an updated you, but something totally unseen before in the history of mankind. At the instant of salvation, you are now a person untouchable by satan, and now totally acceptable to God. You are so unique that satan doesn’t know what to do with you and because of your new standing with God, you really don’t know what to do with yourself.
In one short six letter word, Paul sums up the very nature of the born again, blood washed Christian: kainos. Not new in terms of the next generation computer chip, or car or the latest clothing, but never been seen before in the history of the universe. When the Hebrews in the wilderness saw manna for the first time, they exclaimed “what is it?” That is what the devil says each time a person is saved.
There are two Greek words – kainos and neos – translated in the New Testament by the word “new.” Kainos is new in kind, or quality and in contrast to what previously existed; in other words, taking the place of something. In that sense kainos looks backward, while its synonym neos looks forward. Kainos is equivalent to “not yet having been”; neos is “not having long been.” Neos looks at the thing in chronological terms, kainos looks at the thing itself in the sense of novelty. Paul is telling us salvation has remade us into something that has never been seen before in the history of time. Since we still live in the same skin, that is confusing because most of the time, at salvation, we really don’t feel any different. But something did happen to you. You do not bear the same relationship that you had with your old self, with others and with God. You are not the same person because God is getting you ready for something special. He can’t use the old you.
Kainos and neos both occur in Matt. 9:17 and Luke 5:38. Jesus is trying to explain his extraordinary ministry where saints and sinners eat together, and no one fasts. Jesus likens this revolutionary way of life to wine and wine skins. He illustrates that people don’t place new (neos) wine is put into old wineskins because when the new (neos) wine ferments, and grows, the new wine will split the old wineskins. Consequently, new (neos) wine is placed in new (kainos) skins so both are “preserved,” but most importantly, is useful. God’s new (kainos) work is so revolutionary and dynamic, that God needs a new (kainos) you in which to place it in. Likewise, in Luke 5:36, a new piece of cloth (kainos) cannot be sewn on an old garment because it will tear away. This is an illustration of mixing grace and the law. God could not transform the current system with a few more laws or a few less laws. He needed something entirely different and that is where you come in. To carry that good news to the world, he needed a new you with a new message. You now house the new wine of the holy spirit and have a new mission in life. Not only has your relationship changed, but now God wants to do something revolutionary in you. He is getting you ready for the new (kainos) covenant.
The new (kainos) covenant is the most revolutionary idea ever conceived by God because it your new relationship with Him and the world is now defined by it. It cannot be sewn onto old garments and it cannot be contained in old wineskins. God needed a new creature that was a new container for the new covenant. Even the human numbering system heralds the centerpiece of the new relationship of the new creature with God. Eight, traditionally, is the number of new beginnings. A baby is circumcised on the eighth day, there are seven days (completion) in a week and day eight starts a new week. The new (kainos) covenant is chapter eight, verse eight of Hebrews.
Because you are under the new (kainos) covenant, you are now under new (neos) authority with a new (neos) mission; new (kainos) things are coming to us. There is something more we will discuss later, we are now righteous. That means now, we have the right to certain benefits of heaven. Right means we are entitled to them because we qualify for it automatically. We do not have to rely on misconceptions of grace, mercy and begging. Like voting, all we have to do is go to the polls because we are citizens. God is now righteous in healing you because you are now a righteous person, now righteous in prosperity because you are now righteous person, righteous in protecting you because you are a righteous person. It is not by grace, or mercy. Mercy and grace is for the unrighteous.
I will discuss all these in the next few months. You will never have a doubt about your salvation, you will understand why worship is so important, and understand the platform that God works through by the power of the Holy Spirit on earth. By your new-found righteousness makes all this possible.
This basic Christianity 101.