"All things are become new."

Christian Friend vol. 19, 1892, p. 1.

This statement of the apostle is made in connection with the believer's new place in Christ. "If any man be in Christ, [he is] a new creature," or more exactly, [there is] a new creation, a new sphere, outside of the old creation, where old things have passed away, for faith, and all things are become new.*

*Some read, "New things have come"; but the meaning in either case is the same.

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Every man is either in Adam or in Christ. If unconverted he is still under Adam's headship, is in the flesh, and is consequently on that ground before God: he is, in one word, of that class of whom the apostle has written, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." And again, though here it is more, though not wholly, a question of the resurrection, "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy." (1 Cor. 15:48.) An unbeliever therefore is linked with Adam, partakes of the fallen Adam's life and nature, belongs to the creation of which Adam was constituted head, and is thus seen, as to his standing or ground, as being in Adam. (See 1 Cor. 15:22.) Remaining in that position, inasmuch as he is guilty and lost, he is subject to both death and judgment, as everywhere set forth in the word of God. (See, for example, Hebrews 9:27; Romans 5:12:21.)

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A believer, on the other hand, is not in Adam, but in Christ. Not only has Christ borne the sins of them that trust in Him, but in His death on the cross God has also dealt with the whole principle of sin, the "old man," and "condemned sin in the flesh. The believer's sins are therefore taken away; he is cleansed from all his guilt in the precious blood of Christ; and he is, moreover, associated with Christ's death, and in this way his link with Adam is, for God and faith, destroyed. But Christ has not only died, He is also risen; and as risen out of death, in resurrection power, He is the believer's life. "In that He died, He died unto sin once: in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise," says the apostle, "reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God [we give the true rendering] in Christ Jesus." God thus sees all His people as in Christ; and faith also reckons that they are alive unto God in Him. They are no longer in the flesh, but they are in the Spirit, seeing that they have the indwelling Spirit of God. They are not in the flesh; they are in Christ. (Rom. 8:1-9.)

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But, as we have read, if any man is in Christ there is a new creation. There is little doubt that "in Christ" in this scripture goes farther than the same expression in Romans, where, though the life we possess in Christ is that of the new creation, the new creation itself is not revealed, for the reason that we are not there said to be risen with Christ. This truth is unfolded in the Colossians; and it is in this epistle that Christ is said to be "the Beginning, the First-born from the dead." (Col. 1:18.) That is, as the cross of Christ was the judicial end of the first man, so the resurrection of Christ - Christ as the risen Man - was God's new beginning according to His eternal counsels. He was ever the object of His counsels; and having glorified God concerning the sins and sin of Adam and his race, the first and responsible man, He in His own person, in His resurrection and glorified condition, is the Beginning; the beginning, because God has predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the First-born among many brethren. As another scripture says, He is the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14); that is, of God's new creation.

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If this presentation of the truth is understood, the meaning of our scripture will be the more readily apprehended. For it is easily seen that not only has Christ risen in a new condition, but also that, by His resurrection and ascension, He has passed, as man, into a new sphere, where everything is according to God. But the believer is in Him there; and as he comprehends this by faith, he understands that being in Christ there is a new creation, a new creation of which Christ is the head and pattern, and that by faith he himself has already passed into it, into a sphere outside of the old altogether, where indeed old things have passed away, and where (for faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen) all things have become new.

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It will be helpful if we now refer to another scripture. In Revelation 21 we read, "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away." (v. 4.) Admittedly this scripture - from verses 1 to 7 - opens out to us the eternal state; and we learn that all that characterized this creation, in consequence of the entrance of sin (Rom. 5:12), death, sorrow, crying, and pain will have for ever passed away, together with the first heaven and the first earth. Thereupon "He that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." As in 2 Corinthians 5, old things have passed away, and new things have come, though now in actuality; for faith is now lost in sight, and the things faith had received and embraced are now abundantly realised.

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The connection between the two scriptures is too apparent to be missed. Christ as the Beginning is already in the heavenlies, and the Church also as seen in the purpose of God; and every individual saint will be conformed to the image of God's Son. When this takes place all therefore is new - the scene within and the scene without. The saints and the scene alike are the expression of that new creation of which 2 Cor. 5:17 speaks. Hence it is, since the purposes of God are now all accomplished, that the tabernacle of God (and this is the holy city, new Jerusalem, which, divine in its origin and heavenly as to character, is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband) can be "with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, their God."

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As reference has been made to it, we may turn for a moment to Ephesians 2. In verses 1 to 3 our past state and condition are vividly depicted. All alike, Jew or Gentile, are viewed as dead in sins. Christ, moreover, is presented, not in this epistle as dying for our sins, though He did make atonement on His way down to the place where we lay, but as Himself dead, and in grace alongside, as it were, those who were dead in sins. It is all death therefore, and, by consequence, the end of everything - save judgment - for man. But God is then introduced as rich in mercy; and, for the great love wherewith He loved us, coining into the domain of death, and, acting from His own heart, He quickened us together with Christ, "according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies." (Eph. 1:19, 20.) It is here we behold God commencing, according to His eternal counsels, to make all things new; so that the new creation began when He quickened us together with Christ. From verses 5 to 10 it is wholly a new creation scene; and hence it is that we read of the display of the Church in glory, in the ages to come, as the manifestation of the exceeding riches of God's grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.

In Ephesians 2 the whole Church is seen as perfect. In Christ Jesus she is already seated in the heavenlies, for it is the accomplishment of purpose or counsels. In 2 Cor. 5 it is individual. It is, If any man be in Christ, [there is] a new creation. We enter individually therefore by faith upon this new sphere to which we belong, where Christ is, and where we ourselves are in Him, when we have learned the blessed lesson (and this, according to the teaching of Romans, must be learned experimentally) that we are no longer in Adam, but in Christ. May the Lord Himself lead us into it, that while rejoicing in the new place which is already ours in Christ, we may, as long as we are in the wilderness, learn to walk according to the rule of the new creation. (Gal. 6:14-16.) But this will involve for us the constant acceptance, nay, the application, of death upon all that we are, as well as upon the scene around. Hence it was that the apostle wrote, "Far be the thought that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom (or, wherein) the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation." (Gal. 6:14, 15.)