The Two Creations
Pastor Vicky MootsKingman, Kansas
II Cor. 5:17: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Paul is speaking of two different creations: an old creation, our old, sinful nature that we were born with, and a new one which we become in Christ.
There is nothing good in our old nature, as we find written in Rom. 3:10-12: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” And again, we read in v. 23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
It is through the new birth that we become a new creation and receive a new nature. The life of Christ is conceived in our hearts by the Holy Spirit in much the same way that Christ was conceived in Mary’s womb. We accept it by faith. His life then becomes just as real to us spiritually as it was to Mary physically.
But, as a Christian, have you ever struggled with “trying to live a Christian life” and finding out that you keep on failing and making mistakes, no matter how hard you try to “be good,” and to “do the right thing?” Perhaps you thought that after you were born again that you would no longer have to deal with any of your old sinful desires and that you would just automatically quit all of those bad habits that you knew were harmful or displeasing to God.
If we are a “new creation” in Christ, and “all things are become new,” then why do we find ourselves still doing some of the “old things” that are supposed to have passed away? It is because those two creations, the old and the new, are at war within us, trying to gain control over each other in our lives.
The Apostle Paul explains this battle in Gal. 5:17: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” The word “lusteth” means “has a strong desire,” indicating that the Spirit and the flesh are battling within us and have a strong desire against each other to suppress and overcome each other.
Even though we are a new creation spiritually in Christ, we are still living in our old creation body, with its fleshly desires that wants to have its own way. So, how can we have victory over our old nature? Before I discuss that, we need to see what else the scriptures have to say about these two creations.
In the New Testament, Paul refers to the old and new creation as the “old man” and the “new man.” (We will study those verses later). The “old man” is our old, corrupt nature which we inherited from our earthly father through Adam. This nature is present in all mankind ever since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. The “new man” is the life of Christ, Himself, which is formed in us after we are born again.
In the Old Testament, in Gen. 25:21-26, we find described for us a physical example of this struggle within us. This is the story of Isaac’s children, Jacob and Esau, before they were born. Rebekah, his wife, was experiencing some unusual discomfort inside her womb during her pregnancy and couldn’t understand what was happening. We read in v. 22, “And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord.”
The Lord explained the problem to her in v. 23: “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels: and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” She was not aware that she was carrying twins and that they were fighting each other. We find in vs. 24-26 that Esau came out first so he was the elder one, and then came Jacob, the younger.
These two brothers are a spiritual type, or picture, of the two creations, the old (the elder) and the new (the younger), which are at war inside each of us as Christians. So, is it normal for all Christians to experience this kind of struggle? If so, how long does it last, and how do we end the battle?
Yes, it is normal, but just as Rebekah’s difficult pregnancy did not last forever, neither does our spiritual struggle need to continue. The struggle within her ended when she was delivered. God has likewise provided a way of deliverance for us, which Paul explains in Romans chapter 6. But Paul had to learn this by experience, just like us. Would you be surprised to know that he also went through a personal struggle between the two natures early in his Christian life? He relates this for us in Rom. 7:18-24, and then, in v. 25, he testifies of his deliverance so that we too can know the way of victory.
To be continued – part 2 next issue