Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.1 Corinthians 5:17
The very first thing that the Scriptures declare is that the overarching theme of the library of the Bible is that God is. The very first thing that the Scriptures declare as the activity of God is that He creates. The overarching theme of the Scriptures is that God creates, He redeems, and He recreates. God creates that which He loves and He blesses that which He loves. He redeems that which He loves. And He recreates that which He redeems.
Over and over throughout the history of Israel, God is continually pursuing His creation. He is continually making a way for the redemption of His chosen people. He is continually disciplining those who abandon Him in favor of their own selfish ways. He is continually rebuilding Israel and rebuilding His people when they repent of their sin of abandonment and submit to His authority as Creator and Re-Creator.
But what does it mean to be a “new creation”? Does God just snap His Almighty fingers and suddenly our lives are completely changed? Do we go from a life consumed by sin to a life engulfed in righteousness in the twinkling of an eye? Honestly, no. The apostle Paul likened the Christian life to a growth process starting with a spiritual re-birth and growth to maturity. But what is this process? What are the steps or phases of this growth? Surely there must be markers along the way to show us how far we have come on this new road. Like a growth chart in crayon on the door frame of life, God has indeed given us a picture of where our life has been and where it will eventually be. We have but to look no further than the first chapter of the Bible itself to find the steps that God takes us through in the act of re-creating our lives.
Day 1: Illumination
“The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.” (Genesis 1:2-4a) Before we come to faith in Christ, our sinful lives are in darkness. We wander aimlessly through life not seeing the truth of where we are or where we are going. From the very beginning, the Father has always been about the business of illuminating darkness, shaping formlessness, and filling emptiness. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Day 2: Separation
“…God separated the light from the darkness.…And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.” (Genesis 1:4b, 7b) Once we see the light of the truth of salvation in Him, we are called to a new life, separated from the life that we once knew. We are called to a life of obedience to God’s Word, rather than obedience to the world’s point of view. “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
Day 3: Foundation
“…let the dry land appear…” (Genesis 1:9b) One can’t be expected to “walk on water” from the moment of salvation. It just doesn’t work that way. You must have a firm foundation to build your spiritual house upon. Otherwise it will sink under the long haul of life. That foundation is the life of obedience to His Word, the Bible. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)
Day 3-4: Preparation
“Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth. [day 3]…Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth. [day 4]” (Genesis 1:11a,14,15) We must have food in order to survive in the physical world. We also need direction to know which way to go. Both of these hold spiritual connotations as well and both are found in the local body of believers. “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.” (Hebrews 10:25a, 1 Timothy 4:6)
Day 5-6a: Multiplication
“So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves…and God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…’…And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21, 22a, 25) Be fruitful. Multiply. We cannot multiply unless we are fruitful. Multiplication is a natural result of fruitfulness. Good fruit produces good fruit just as bad fruit produces bad fruit. “So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:17, 20) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20a)
Day 6b: Sanctification
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Created in the likeness of God. Born in the likeness of Adam – fallen in sin. Recreated in the likeness of the new Adam – Christ. “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.…and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-46, Ephesians 4:24)
Day 7: Relaxation
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.…and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that he had done.” (Genesis 1:31a, 2:2b) The ultimate reward for a hard week of work is a day of rest. The ultimate gift following a life of devotion to Christ…eternal rest instead of torment. “In my Father’s house are many rooms… And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
The process of re-creation is found in the original process of creation. God’s plan never changed from the beginning. He is always in the work of creating and re-creating to make you into his likeness. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to explore this process of creation, redemption, and recreation in greater detail as we seek to draw closer to our Creator. “And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do… like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 18:4, 6b)