The Gospel of Our Salvation

14. The New Creation.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) But when the beginning began God has not told us. We may be certain that some event took place after the beginning, whereby “the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” for “God is not the author of confusion.” (1 Cor. 14:33.)

The Creator, having brought light and order into the earth, declared of His finished work that “it was good,” and He placed man in it as head over the work of His hands. And now, to man, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handy work, Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” (Ps. 19:1-4.)

The voice of the written Word.

But God has a creation more wonderful than that of things to human eyes now visible, a creation which expresses the glory of His being and character, and this the heavens above and the fulness of the earth upon which we tread can never do. The voice of created things declares to all lands and languages His eternal power and divinity (Rom. 1:20), but the voice of His word makes manifest “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6.) Alas! man is deaf to these voices. The highly educated and intellectual heathen, as well as the debased and ignorant, alike worship images of things God put under man's feet they fall down before fishes, reptiles, and animals. Thus has sin degraded man to cause him to “serve the creature rather than the Creator,” and thus, despite the evidence of the heavens above, the foolish heart of the heathen is darkened even to the folly of idols (Rom. 1:22-23); while, more grievous still, in Christendom, notwithstanding the witness of the scriptures to the moral perfections of God, “the god of this world hath blinded the eyes of them which believe not” to the knowledge of God's character, and into the rejection of Him and His sacrifice, whereby alone God can be truly known by man.

The creation of the world illustrative of the new.

Using the creation of the world as an illustration, the scriptures declare that “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Our hearts in their darkness of mere mental understanding are like the earth when it was without form and void. The order and the beauty of the creature enjoying God's rule of love are not present. Instead, there exists the rule of sin, hatred of God, the darkness of evil ways and thoughts — a moral chaos. “God made man upright.” Such was man's beginning. Then came in the ruin; now, by grace, the new creation. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” (2 Cor. 5:17.)

The very first act of God in the new creation is what we read of as His first act in the beginning: God brings in light. “Let there be light” is His command. The “Spirit of God,” who “moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2), brings home the word of God to conscience and to heart; the light shines in, and, as “God divided the light from the darkness,” so also He works within our hearts, dividing between the good and the evil.

The entrance of light.

In every-day life, when light upon any subject enters the mind, thenceforth, so far as the given subject is concerned, all is changed — a new power, a new perception, and a new outlook has arisen within us. The eyes of our mind are opened. Now the heavenly light, divinely given, has shined into our hearts to give us a special knowledge, even that of God's own glory. We do not mean His creator-glory, which the heavens declare, and which human science can at least in measure unfold and explain, but a far more excellent glory, even that of His own being and character. This knowledge is not shown by the firmament, or uttered by the day and the night, but is written in another book, and explained by a different language. “In the face of Jesus Christ” we read it — and not merely in His face when He was upon earth, but where He is, in heaven. “In the Son of His love” is this knowledge made known to man. We must see Jesus where He now is, if we would understand His life and His death upon earth. That life of grace and truth, that death of love and holiness, viewed in connection with the character of God, are a mystery until the fact of Christ's present glory is apprehended. His present glory is the divine answer to His past shame; Himself upon the throne, the First-born from among the dead, the Head of the new creation, the answer to His taking the place and responsibility of sinners, dead in trespasses and sins.

The purpose of God respecting His people unfolds before our souls as “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.” (Heb. 2:9.) It was with astonished gaze that His apostles beheld Him leave the appointed mountain, blessing them as He ascended to heaven, the cloud receiving Him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9.) Having beheld Him thus, they failed not to preach His resurrection; the full meaning and blessing of which, as bearing upon His people, the Epistles declare to us. By them we know that in due season all who believe in Him, all who accept, by faith, His death and shame as their life and glory, shall be rendered in body, soul, and spirit like him, the Head of the new creation of God. We know also, though our bodies be still mortal, and though sin be in us, and though the circumstances of the world and the rule of its god be against us, yet that we have Christ's life communicated to us in the power of His resurrection. We are a new creation, the “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17.) This divinely-given knowledge is, by the Spirit's strength, divine power within the soul.

The bounds of infidelity.

Infidelity the popular christianized infidelity of our day — that boasts of humanity, and denies the fall, shrinks into a contemptible nothingness before the greatness of the fact of a risen Man. The restless sea of human speculation storms on still, but, as in previous centuries, so now, to be baffled and broken against that impassable barrier — death. Thus far, oh, wisdom of man, shalt thou go and no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed! The weakness of God is stronger than man. The good news of a crucified One risen from the dead is the power of God unto salvation. The foolishness of the preaching of the crucified Man, is God's way of saving them who believe. Out of His death has arisen our life, in the power of His resurrection we live. The christian's life is in Christ, who is risen from among the dead, and the christian knows, by the energy of the Spirit of God within him, the things pertaining to life and incorruptibility which are brought to light through the gospel. God's good news to us brings new life — everlasting life by means of the death of His Son — and incorruptibility, a new creation in the power of the resurrection of His Son. Thus, though the career of human greatness ends with the touch of death's finger, and though death bounds human knowledge, it is not death to the believer, but “to depart and to be with Christ.” We know that our inheritance is with the risen Christ, and that, should we die, it is only to wait with Him awhile until the resurrection morning breaks, and the bodies of all who believe awake for glory.

Then will the new creation, of which Christ's own are now a part, be seen in its perfection. Life in a risen Christ is our present portion; incorruptibility and likeness to Him risen, our future portion. In Christ, the First-born from among the dead, we possess the new life, and wait for the full glory of the new creation.