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What Does it Mean to Be a New Creation in Christ? – 2 Corinthians 5:17 Meaning

New creation in Christ - 2 Corinthians 5 17 meaning

The Bible has so many wonderful things to say about who we are as believers in Jesus Christ. One of my personal favorites is from 2 Corinthians 5:17, that we are a new creation in Christ.

These are beautiful and life-giving words, but if I were to be honest with you, when I really took a moment to think about it, a haunting thought kept reoccurring…

I had no clue what this verse actually meant.

This lead me on a journey to understanding my true identity in Christ, and what it actually means to be a new creation in Christ.

The more I searched, the more I found, and my eyes became open to the true meaning of 2 Corinthians 5:17. That because of your faith in Jesus, you are a new creation in Christ.

So with that said, I’m excited to share with you what I’ve discovered, let’s dive in!

You Are a New Creation in Christ Meaning

New creation in Christ - 2 Corinthians 5 17 meaning

Let’s start by taking a look at what the full verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Have you ever wondered why the process of regeneration is called being “born again”?

You being reborn is a crucial aspect to you being a child of God.

When a child is born, they are born into a family. With our first birth we are born into an earthly family, right?

So, who’s family do you think we’re born into when we are reborn spiritually?

That’s right, the Family of God.

In this spiritual family, we are sons and daughters of God — God’s very own children.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.”

Galatians 3:26 (NIV)

When you accept Jesus into your heart, you become a brand-new creation the same way a newborn baby is a new person.

This “new creation” that you become is now a cherished son or daughter of God. This means you are no longer dominated by your sinful nature, but are now controlled by the Holy Spirit because you have the Spirit of the Living God dwelling on the inside of you.

Look at what Romans 8: says:

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.”

Romans 8:9 (NLT)

This is incredible because Romans 8:6 says that when you let the Spirit control your mind, He will lead you to life and peace.

*Now if you get tripped up on the word “control”, don’t! We tend to have negative associations with the word control, however, think of letting the Holy Spirit “control” you as more of a surrender to the perfect will of God which produces good fruit in our life like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are good things, not bad. 🙂

You Are a New Creation in Christ by “Putting On” Your New Self

New creation in Christ - 2 Corinthians 5 17 meaning

Now I want to focus on the second part of 2 Corinthians 5:17, where it says the old has passed away and the new has come.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Ephesians 4:22-24 puts it like this; we are to “put off our old self”, and “put on our new self” created after the likeness of God.

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)

So how do we put on our new self?

Well, basically we now have a part to play when it comes to being fully transformed into a new creation in Christ.

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Jesus already did His part on the cross, but now we need to do our part.

Romans 6:4 says:

“We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Romans 6:4 (ESV)

Notice how it says we might walk in the newness of life.

The Greek word for “walk” here is “peripatēsōmen” which quite simply means “to walk” (I know, groundbreaking!). However, its usage is more specifically referring to how you are to conduct, or live, your life.

We frequently say that when you come to Christ you are now “walking” with Jesus. But how exactly do you walk with Jesus?

Well, as the Greek word “peripatēsōmen” says; we walk with Jesus by changing the way we conduct, or live, our life by implementing the teachings of Jesus into our life.

So, the way we are to “put on our new selves” is actually by walking out the teachings of Jesus on a daily basis.

So, part of allowing the Holy Spirit to “control” us is us allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us into being made new by “putting on our new selves”.

Ephesians 4:23-24 says:

“To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:23-24 (NIV)

Now, this process isn’t exactly easy.

As you begin to walk out the teachings of Jesus, think of yourself as a toddler learning how to walk. The more you practice the better you get, but your legs might still be a bit wobbly because you simply aren’t strong enough yet.

It’s the same for when you begin walking with Jesus.

When you first come to Christ you are a new creation who still has some weak areas that are vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. At this point it’s all too easy for you to fall back into your old sinful nature you have just been freed from.

Remember Paul’s warning in Galatians 5:1:

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law”.

Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

Even though you are no longer a slave to sin, our enemy “aka our old slave master” is still trying to make you think that you are in bondage even though you’ve been set free.

That’s why as a vulnerable new creation in Christ it’s crucial that you grow up to be strong by putting on your new self and “walking” with Jesus by implementing His teachings into your life.

So, how do we do this? Well, one way of doing this is to change the way we think, or as Romans 12:2 put it, renewing your mind.

You Are a New Creation in Christ by Renewing Your Mind

New creation in Christ - 2 Corinthians 5 17 meaning

You’ll find the concept of renewing your mind sprinkled throughout the Bible, however my favorite verse regarding this is from Romans 12:2:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

However, you might be thinking, “But how exactly am I supposed to renew my mind?”.

Don’t worry friend, I’ve got you.

One way we are able to renew our mind is as Colossians 3:2 says, setting our minds on things that are above, and not on earthly things.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

When we set our mind on the things of God and not on the things of this world, the Holy Spirit then comes alongside us and transforms our heart so it is patterned after God, and not after the world.

Now, pattering our hearts after God isn’t exactly easy – and God knows this!

That is why God has given us a very special gift. He has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit to help us in our walk as fragile new creations in Christ.

This is one of the most incredible parts of being a believer in Jesus! You now have God’s Holy Spirit living on the inside of you helping you to also become holy.

This is a gift from God because it’s something you cannot do on your own. In fact, you can only do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

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Putting on your new self, renewing your mind, and surrendering control of your life over to the Holy Spirit is not easy or natural for us. That is why you can only do it with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now, it might feel like you are renewing your mind on your own, but ultimately it is not you. Yet, it is you because you are only able to do it by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives on the inside of you.

Make sense?

Basically, although it might feel like you, it’s not actually you. And yet in the wonderful mystery of God, it is you because you’re doing it by relying on the Holy Spirit.

Okay, enough on that one, let’s move on!

God Designed Your Brain to Be Neuroplastic

New creation in Christ - 2 Corinthians 5 17 meaning

Now the process of renewing our minds is really fascinating to me because it has actually been scientifically proven that our brains are neuroplastic, which simply means our brains have the ability to change continuously throughout the course of our life.

For example, did you know that it takes an average of 21 days to break a bad habit and create a new healthy habit?

It takes this long because the neuroplasticity of our brain takes time.

So, when we “put on our new self” by reading the teachings of Jesus and applying them into our life, we are actually renewing our minds to be more like Jesus.

These new behaviors and habits allow us to better reflect the image of Christ, thus, transforming us into a new creation.

It’s honestly super amazing!

Here’s a quick recap:

  • “Putting on our new self” = implementing Jesus’ teachings
  • Thinking about Jesus & His teachings = renewing our minds
  • Renewing our minds = creating new behaviors & habits
  • These new behaviors & habits = allowing us to better reflect the image of Christ
  • Better reflecting the image of Christ = maturing as new creations in Christ

Just like we’re able to create new behaviors by changing the way we think, old behaviors can also be discarded simply by changing the way we think.

When we “put off our old self” we are actually using our power and authority in Christ to say no to our old sinful nature so we can walk in the newness of life.

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)

And when we do this again and again on a daily basis, the very pathways in our brains are being changed and transformed because of the neuroplasticity of our brains!

That means our old behaviors are being discarded and new behaviors are being created so that this process of transformation becomes easier and easier.

That is why it’s so important for us to be reading our Bibles and spending time with Jesus on a daily basis. It might not seem like much is happening, but day-by-day and bit-by-bit we are being transformed into a new creation in Christ.

Recap on what it means to be a new creation in Christ:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
  • As new creations in Christ we are called to put on our new self because we are created to be like God.
  • We become more like God by implementing the teachings of Jesus into our life.
  • Because our brains are neuroplastic, we have the ability to change bad habits into new Christ-like habits so we can better reflect the image of Christ.
  • When we better reflect the image of Christ, we are maturing as new creations in Christ.

What does it mean for you to be a new creation in Christ? Let me know in the comments below!

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Read More

What Does “Made in the Image of God” Mean?

 What Does “I am Fearfully & Wonderfully Made” Mean?

How Do I Know God Loves Me Personally?

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New creation in Christ - 2 Corinthians 5 17 meaning

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Welcome to Lavender Vines

I’m Tiffany, a travel lover, small business owner, and expert-level cat cuddler. Sharing the love of Jesus is one of my favorite things ever, hence why I started this blog! You’re gonna find loads of goodies on this site, but one of my fav’s is my brand spankin’ new free ebook on your identity in Christ. Cut to the chase – Jesus thinks you’re pretty cool – but my ebook explains just how cool you really are. It’s kinda amazing.

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