If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new—2 Cor. 5:17.
These new creatures in Christ Jesus know each other not according to the flesh but according to the spirit. In each other's spirits or new minds there are the noblest sentiments, the highest aspirations, that which is good, true, noble, pure, whatever may be their weaknesses according to the flesh. They love each other from the new standpoint of intention, will, harmony with God, and their friendship for one another grows increasingly as they perceive each other's energy in fighting the good fight of faith against the evil influences of the world, the flesh and the Adversary. Nor tongue nor pen can properly express the love, the friendship, which subsists between these new creatures in Christ Jesus, to whom old things have passed away, and all things have become new—Z '03, 333 (R 3232).
To be in Christ Jesus implies deadness to self and aliveness to God, as a member of the Body of Christ. Such a one is a new creature, because spiritual capacities have been given to every organ of his brain, fitting him to exercise his various faculties of mind and heart on appropriate spiritual objects. Therefore he detaches his affections from the things prized by the natural man and attaches them to the things prized by the spiritual man. Accordingly his former ambitions, desires and aspirations are given up. He now has a new set of desires, ambitions and aspirations, and he bends all his powers, physical, mental, moral and religious to attain the things on which these are fixed, and he finds them decidedly superior to the former objects of his affections—P '33, 147.
Parallel passages: 2 Cor. 5:16; Gal. 5:6, 16-24; 6:1, 2, 7, 8, 14-16; Col. 3:1-17; Rom. 8:4-16; Heb. 12:1, 5, 9-16; Rom. 12:2, 9-21; 1 John 2:15-17, 20, 27; 5:4, 5.
Hymns: 201, 20, 117, 192, 312, 170, 204.
Poems of Dawn, 248: All Things New.
Tower Reading: Z '13, 300 (R 5325).
Questions: What were this week's experiences connected with this text? How were they met? In what did they result?
THERE is something in the sunlight
Which I never saw before;
There's a note within the robin's song
I did not hear of yore;
There's something—ah! I know not what!
But something everywhere
That makes the world this morning seem
Most marvelously fair!
I awakened very early
And I watched the sun arise,
And it seemed to me that heaven
Must be dawning in the skies;
For a glory and a gladness,
Passing words of mine to show,
Flashed from out the eastern portals
On the waking world below.
All the water gleamed with gladness;
Every streamer in the sky
Seemed the arms of little children
Flung in joyousness on high;
All the birds on all the bushes
Joined their melody to pour—
Surely never was a morning
Ushered in like this before!
Is it fact or is it fancy?
Doth the secret in my heart
Unto everything it shines on
Spurious joyousness impart?
Or hath the world grown gladder,
As it seems to me today?
Is it true or is it seeming?
Who shall tell? I cannot say.
Ah! I care not! Doth it matter?
'Tis enough for me to know
that the world to me is gladder
Than it was a year ago.
That on earth and sky and water
Lies a radiance, false or true,
That shall never fade or falter,
Never be less strange or new!
If my heart thus gilds creation
Well it may, for it is glad,
Past the power of shade or shining
Any more to make it sad.
Never yet on earth or heaven,
Never yet on land or sea,
Shone the light of that great gladness
Which my God hath given me.
"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.
OUR information on this subject of the New Creature comes from the Word of God. It is the Spirit of the Truth that bears the witness. "If any one be in Christ, he is a New Creation; the old things have passed away; behold! they have become new." [Diaglott Translation.] Apparently, then, if old things have passed away from us, and we are New Creatures in Christ, we are now receiving the blessings. There is nothing said about being reckonedly New Creatures. The change is actual, bona-fide. When God accepts the human will, He does not hold the New Creature responsible for any of the deeds done previous to consecration. The whole account is a new one.
We are New Creatures in the sense that God has begotten us of the Holy Spirit. God has given us Heavenly promises instead of earthly promises. We are no longer striving to see whether we can attain a higher position in the world. We have new ambitions. Our aim is to live pleasing to God. And in every way this change of sentiment indicates a transformation of mind.
Transformation means to form over again, across, different, in an opposite way. So we have been changed by reason of this change of our will. God has made us the promise that, if we make this change, or transformation, He will no longer count sin to us, that we shall have standing henceforth no longer as sinners, but as holy ones. The world does not know that we are children of God. They do not realize how fully we have given up the earthly hopes and are seeking a different prize from that which the world seeks.
The fact that this change is merely in the mind and not in the body does not alter this matter at all. According to science, every seven years a complete change takes place in our bodies, the new matter coming on as the old matter sloughs off. But one is not a new man because his body has changed. If this were so, we would have had several changes by this time. So far as the mind is concerned, personality is not changed. If we had lost a hand, we would still be the same personality; or if we were to lose a hand and a foot, the loss would not change our personality.
Our personality would not change in this event, because the personality is the mind, the ego. And so when the ego, the mind, is changed, that New Creature is distinctly separated from the other. The fact that it does not yet have a spirit body does not matter. The New Creature is the New Creature, only now he is the New Creature under adverse conditions; whereas by and by he will be the New Creature who has entered into that condition which God has promised—the Divine nature and everlasting joy—and in which he will abide forever.
OUR STANDING FROM GOD'S VIEWPOINT
We are now spirit beings in human bodies. The Apostle says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." It is not the body that is risen, but the New Creature. It was not the New Creature that died, but the old creature. It is not the life of the old creature that "is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3), but the life of the New Creature. The Apostle declares, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." He says also that we are not only to reckon ourselves dead, but to reckon ourselves as though we had been raised from the dead. "Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"—Romans 6:11.
The body is not the New Creature, but it belongs to the New Creature. It is the servant of the New Creature. The New Creature is the only one that God recognizes at all; for He knows us not after the flesh. And we should live in the Spirit, and view ourselves and all of our affairs from this standpoint. We should "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:4.) Our viewpoint should be this: As New Creatures, we merely inhabit these bodies for awhile.
These bodies are our slaves and we are to use them as our slaves. The environment is unfavorable for the New Creature at the present time. But it is the New Creature that God is looking at. "If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creation; the old things have passed away; behold, they have become new." If he now fails to make good his consecration, fails to be an overcomer, he will have no resurrection; for all his earthly rights have been abrogated.
"Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit." We do, as New Creatures, have the fleshly bodies. But the flesh is not we; that is, not our kind, not our nature. It is only as the New Creature that we can inherit the Promise. Jesus was put to death in the flesh; that is to say, He sacrificed the flesh—He gave up His claim on the flesh at His consecration. And it was on the basis of His giving up His rights that the Father begat Him to the new nature. Therefore He said, My will is to do My Father's will. The Cup that My Father hath poured for Me, I will drink!—John 18:11.
Jesus would not stand for His earthly rights. His dying was not merely at Calvary. It was begun at Jordan three and a half years before. In the type, the high priest slew the bullock, which represented the Man Jesus. Our Lord gave up His life completely—His human life. The High Priest was another person. He went inside and ministered in the Holy while His human nature was sacrificed upon the altar, and His body burned outside the camp, but in sight of the camp.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOUL AND NEW CREATURE
Every New Creature is a soul. The word soul is used in the Scriptures, in a very broad manner indeed, as signifying any sentient being, any being that has sensibility, intelligence. A fish has intelligence; therefore the Bible describes a fish as being a soul (See Genesis 1:20, margin). A dog, a cow, a horse, is each a soul. An angel is a soul, or being. God is a soul, or being—the Bible says so. The Scriptures say that "If any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38)—this means God's soul.
This broad use of the word, therefore, in connection with any kind of sentient being, assures us that as New Creatures all of us are souls—intelligent beings. We might be understood to be double souls in the sense that we were human souls to begin with, but that God has through Christ made a special arrangement for us whereby we are begotten again to be New Creatures. This begettal is of the mind; and only in this way are we New Creatures now.
This New Creature is not yet perfected. This new soul has not yet reached that condition which God intends that it shall have. The Apostle tells us that we have this treasure of the new mind in the old body—the earthen vessel. The new mind must do the Father's will, irrespective of the will of the body, or of the friends of the body, and what they might desire it to do. The new mind is to do God's will under all circumstances.
A spirit-begotten child of God may speak of himself as already possessing eternal life, which he does possess by faith. But the New Creature, the new soul, is not yet completed. God's promise is that when this new soul shall have been completed, we shall have a body like Christ. We shall be like Him. We shall see Him as He is and share His glory. We shall be souls on the Divine plane, whereas formerly we were souls on the human plane; now we are reckoned as in the transitional state.
DUAL SOULS—NOT DUAL MINDS
When we speak of being dual souls, we do not mean that we are dual-minded; for that would be a reprehensible condition. We are single-minded. Our duality consists in the fact that we have the mind of one nature and the body of another. A perfect soul results from the union of life-principle with an organism. It is thus with a fish, a dog, a horse. There is an organism, and there is vitality, a spark of life, before there can be a soul. The Lord's people were human souls, or had the powers common to all mankind, to begin with. Then they were begotten again. And the new will, the new mind, has at present an organism not adapted to its needs.
In the resurrection the New Creature will have an organism fully adapted to its requirements. But now it is a soul that is neither perfect in the flesh nor perfect on the spirit plane. And since the nature goes properly with the mind, the will, therefore the flesh is counted as being that of the New Creature, and the New Creature is held responsible for this flesh.
The Apostle suggests to us that not only our old minds, or wills, are dead, and that we reckon also our bodies dead, but that we go further, and reckon our bodies quickened, or made alive, from their dead and sin-disposed condition, that they may be fully our servants as New Creatures, that they may serve our purposes—"quickened by the Spirit of God that dwelleth in you." That is to say, so long as the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit is ruling in our hearts and minds, it controls and energizes the physical body.
THE SECRET OF SELF-CONTROL
God deals with us as New Creatures from the time we are begotten of the Holy Spirit. He has no dealings with the flesh. The flesh is under condemnation. God dealt with the flesh of Father Adam, condemning it to destruction. Then He provided a way in Christ by which the race may be rescued from destruction. The Church's relationship to God is purely as New Creatures. From the time, then, that we become New Creatures, accepted of God, He takes these mortal bodies of ours, which are consecrated to His service, as a part of the New Creature. So if we suffer, it is the New Creature that suffers. And in this sense God takes cognizance of our flesh from the time of our consecration. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."
Because our human bodies are vehicles for His service, God takes note of them. In proportion as we become strong in the Spirit of the Lord, we have the power to make the mortal body do what the new mind wills. But we are weak in ourselves. We cannot properly control our mortal bodies. God, therefore, gives us of His Truth. And the more we receive of the Truth, of the Spirit, the more fully sanctified we should be, the more fully in harmony with the Father's will, and the greater control we should have of our mortal bodies.