He calls us to become an entirely new creation
The Apostle Paul gives us a challenge with his statement “if anyone is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). For he is saying that this is only true of us IF we are IN Christ. But, what a glorious truth it is, for those who are IN Christ! He says we are part of a new creation. The Holy Spirit, who inspired the scriptures, has spoken this phrase 76 times: “In Christ”. It's like a taunt, that you may have read on bumper stickers “got Jesus”? So, what exactly does that mean?
God puts a thirst into the heart of everyone who turns to Jesus; a driving desire to know God and be known by Him – to be healed of sin and to find all that is good and right. But that desire transcends our understanding. It out-shines our brightest thought of what it may mean to become a follower of Jesus. It moves us to deeper depths and higher heights of discovery, as each step we take opens new vistas for us on this journey with Jesus. Every time he challenges us, it is for more than we think; it is never just about us. Every point of healing, every stage of growth is not for us alone, but for His Kingdom's sake.
His Calling is Greater than Our Motive
Some people come to Jesus out of guilt, some out of shame. Others, think that they need to even the score, by balancing the scales, and try to do good works “to make things right”. Some come to him out of despair, some out of pain, and some come trying to find solace to resolve grief from which they cannot find freedom. Many want to be known as a “good person” and simply go to church so that they may be identified that way. What we find, if we are truly seeking Him, is that Jesus gives us something more, something entirely greater, than what we came to Him for. He gives us a new identity, a new life, a whole new creation is planted within us, if we have truly come to Him.
Again, taunting us, Galatians 6:15 speaking of this same newness of being in Christ, and says “what counts is the new creation...”. So, it's not what we came to Him for that counts. It's what the Father drew us to Jesus for that is what counts. He wants to impart a transforming new creation into us. This is what the whole plan of God has been about from the beginning! And at the end of this age, Jesus says in Revelation 21:5 “Behold, I make all things new”.
Partners in Sharing this New Creation
Well, what about now?? Between now and then, Romans 8:23 tells us that we “...ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” You see, the Church which is the Bride of Christ, was born on the day we commonly know as the day of Pentecost. But on the Jewish calendar it was called “the feast of First-fruits”. It was a celebration of the first-fruits of harvest each year, when the first run of grapes could be harvested in the Holy Land each year. So, God planned from the very beginning to give birth to the church on this celebration of First-fruits. We are the New Wine that Jesus spoke of, which could not be put into old wine-skins.
When you are In Christ, it is a personal relationship, but it's not JUST a personal relationship. It's not just about you. You become part of something much greater. You have an identity far beyond yourself. You become part of God's plan for all the ages. Your identity is now that you become part of the Grand plan of God for his Kingdom.
Romans 6:4 calls us to this new identity “so we also might walk in newness of life.” and Romans 7:6 tells us “we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.”
Jesus says of his people “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15)
Partners who are Partakers in Riches and Glory
So, our new identity is one of being friends of Jesus who know His business and who have been included in everything that He learned from His Father. Our new identity is one that includes us, as Paul said, in this “ministry of reconciliation”. That makes us partners, as well as joint-heirs, in this work of the New Creation of God's Kingdom, come to earth.
Again, how does all of this happen? How do we make the transition from being “hearers of the Word” to become “doers of the Word”? How do we step past the place of being mere observers and become partner-friends who know our master's business and join with Him? How do we really find this new identity that changes everything?
Jesus says it starts with your identity: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it...” (Mark 8:35)
Paul said it of himself this way “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
This new identity gives us something that all of humanity craves, but cannot find in ourselves and cannot grasp with our flesh: to be partakers in God's Promises, partakers in the Inheritance of the Saints, partakers in the Heavenly calling and to have eternal treasures that cannot be stolen or ruined.
As it says: we become partakers (partners in the blessings)
"...partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel" (Eph 3:6)
"...partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light" (Colossians 1:12)
"...partakers of the heavenly calling" (Hebrews 3:1)
This is the hope of Glory and it comes from a new identity in Christ. Once you have this new identity, you cannot lose it. It cannot be stolen, it cannot be ruined. It is your inheritance. This is what your heart was made for and what your heart has yearned to become, for all of your life. As it says, God has a mysterious thing, that he wants to grant you riches and it comes by being In Christ. This new identity “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”. (Colossians 1:27)
Go for it: give your life to the new identity of being In Christ. Receive His grace and let it transform your heart and transform your life. Let your life and your heart become filled and empowered by the glory of Heaven. Become a new creation in Christ and join Him as His partner, building this great Kingdom of God.