We get some snow here in Bellingham, WA. Sometimes it sticks around for a couple of days. These past few winters we have been blessed with snow that has stuck around for a week or so. Those who are born and raised in the area reassured us that this is not normal 🙂
The kids go sledding down our street which is a wonderful hill to pursue being a tobogganist. The kids will always want to build a snowman. They roll his body (maybe a little too big). They do the rest of his body and head. They add some sticks for his arms and something for the nose and eyes. And, if they are really into it, some other items for a hat.
The kids have fun making a new creature. The snowman is unable to move and most likely will melt away by the end of the week and they still name him!
Those who are called “in Christ” (the term that Paul uses in the NT to describe the Christian) are a new creation. He writes to the Corinthian church about the work of reconciliation that happens because of Jesus and that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).
This new creation is not just about making the person new in Christ such as their sin being washed away (Isaiah 44:22; Heb 10:10). This is true but wait there is more!
Wait there is more!
I have always looked at how the Christian is brought into the promises of God which existed in the Old Testament. As I have been studying and teaching through the book of Ephesians, I have noticed that Paul’s language of the Christian involves something more.
There is a greater work where the Christian is now a new person, part of new people, and and a new group. This group has eternal life. This group is founded upon grace and not on works. This group is connected to one another because of Jesus.
He is speaking to the Gentiles (people who were not Jewish) and how they have come into the promise of God (Eph 3:1-6). These Gentiles did not have to become Jewish to receive this promise. This sign was circumcision and this is what got a lot of the Jewish leaders upset. This was not needed. It is by the grace of God that one is saved (Eph 2:8-9).
Look what Jesus does
He takes people from different groups (Jews and Gentiles), those who are in Christ are called a new people.
Paul describes this by writing, “He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and o that in Himself He might make the two one new person, in this way establishing peace; and that He might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross (Eph 2:14, 16).
This new person is a new creation not just with their legal standing before God, they are full on a new person and part of a new family. This new person is one who is different because of Jesus. This was God’s redemptive plan from the beginning.
This new people group as Peter writes, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
This language seems to be spoken to Israel, even specifically about Levites. But, Peter is writing about the new people that are found in Christ, the Christians both Jew and Gentile.
What Do We Get?
This new man, in Christ, receives the promises of God.
Those promises include the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16; Heb 6:4). The same Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost explosively upon the Christians of the early church is the same Holy Spirit the Christians receive today.
Those in Christ receive enteral life and heaven (John 3:16; 14:1-3; Phil 3:20; Web 3:1). Those in Christ not only receive the promises today but also the future promises. We are awaiting our rest with the Lord forever in heaven (Heb 4:1).
Those in Christ receive favor from God because of Christ (Eph 1:3, 11). We have received from God the greatest gift, he is not holding out on us. We look to Jesus and see what his gift of immeasurable grace has been given to us. The Christian is called an heir with Christ (Rom 8:17; Eph 3:6). We share in all the benefits, blessings, and sufferings with our Savior.
Those in Christ live in a way that reflects this change and truth. Not perfectly, dependent upon God’s grace each moment and step of the Christian life.