The changes we experience as we accept Christ are so radical we are considered "new." Second 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." This "new creation" is the Greek kainos, which means something just made and which is uncommon or novel or unheard of. We are not cleaned out or covered over; we are new. This newness manifests itself in our spiritual condition, our relationships, and our hearts.
Spiritually, in Christ we are alive for the first time. Ephesians 2:1 describes the old self as "dead in [its] trespasses and sins." Our new self is at peace with God (Romans 5:1) and alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5). In addition, God has conformed us to His image (Romans 8:29), and releases us from condemnation (Romans 8:1).
In our relationship with God, we are no longer His enemies, we are His children. Romans 3:10-11 describes the old self: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God." Romans 5:10 describes the old self as enemies of God. Hosea 2:23 (NIV), however, predicts: "I will say to those called 'Not my people,' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'" And Galatians 3:26 announces the arrival of our new position in Christ: "for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith."
With regard to other people, in Christ we are part of a family. Where once we were "strangers and aliens," we are now "fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). The old self is alone, but the new is part of "one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (Romans 12:5 NIV). Not only a part, but an irreplaceable part (1 Corinthians 12:18) of a cohesive whole (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
Personally, our new hearts mean our character can change. We become less concerned with the world, and more concerned with living as God intends (Romans 12:2). We care more about others, and less about ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4). When we accepted Christ, God automatically took us as His children and established us into the church family. Our heart changes, however, are gradual (2 Corinthians 3:18). We possess a new heart (Ezekiel 11:19), but we need to intentionally train it (2 Peter 1:5-2). This is only possible because the new self is released from sin and death and free to follow God (Romans 8:6-8).
In Christ we are a new creation, and this newness affects every area of our lives. For the first time, we become spiritually alive. We go from being God's enemies to His children. We have a new life as a part of a new family. And we are free to follow God and care about others. In Christ, we become more like Christ.
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