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From Doctrine to Duty: New Creatures

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Every Christian is a new creation in Christ. Paul reminds the Corinthians that, though they had once lived in exceeding immorality, they were no longer enslaved to these sins. God had granted them forgiveness and sanctification through repentance and faith in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

God can save the vilest sinner and transform him into one who loves the One who saved him. Paul’s words should encourage every Christian that he is a new man and is capable, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to strive for the righteousness of Christ.

What does it look like to be a new creature? Paul says we consider our earthly bodies to be “dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). We set aside “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech” and “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (3:8, 10).

As new creatures, we display the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23). We imitate God (Ephesians 5:1) and offer our lives as living sacrifices in a continuous act of worship to God (Romans 12:1).

It is wonderful to know doctrine, but doctrine that does not display itself in practical godliness is useless. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). God grants to His children a living faith.

Therefore—because scriptural truth is so magnificent—therefore—because we are bought with the precious blood of Christ—therefore let us live as new creatures and walk in a manner worthy of our great Christ, who loved us and gave Himself up for us (Galatians 2:20).