Chapter 7 – A New Creature
This book is written both for those who are strangers to Christ, as well as those who are Christians. I have found that many men and women who have been Christians for years have not come to an understanding of the ways of God, and even the foundational principles of Yahweh’s work among mankind is little comprehended. Partly due to the many misconceptions there are regarding life in Christ, many who have long been Believers are not walking in victory over sin. This chapter seeks to explain one more critical truth that we might proceed in the following chapters to begin to address a practical daily walk that will lead to victory over every addiction and besetting sin.
Many men and women hold to the misconception that when they became a Christian they remained essentially the same, but Christ forgave their sins. Not understanding what had changed in their life, they believed they would be more pleasing to God simply because they would now try harder. Such a mindset is far from the truth.
When a man or woman receives the Holy Spirit of Christ into their being, the Holy Spirit transforms them into an entirely new type of creature than they were before. They receive a new dimension to their being that other men and women lack. In truth, there are two entirely different types of men and women walking this earth today. Some are what can be called an old creation, and some are a new creation. The apostle Paul states it this way.
II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
If you are “in Christ” then you are no longer the same type of man or woman that you were formerly. A very fundamental change has occurred. This change is so radical that it is almost as if you had become another species among God’s creation. The Scriptures tell us exactly what has changed in us. In the following passage the apostle Paul contrasts the first creature which is seen in Adam, to the new creature that is observed in the person of Christ. The word Adam means man. Therefore we see Paul referring to Christ as the second Adam, or second Man. What Paul is declaring is that there are now two distinct types of men walking this earth.
I Corinthians 15:45-49
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Let’s look closely at what is stated here. The first man, Adam became a living soul. In the opening chapters of the book of Genesis we find the creation of Adam described. Yahweh reveals to us that the first man was a two-part being consisting of body and soul.
Then Yahweh God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The word for soul in this verse is the same Hebrew word nephesh that we looked at in an earlier chapter. It is apparent from this verse that at this time man consisted of only two parts. He had a body formed from the dust of the ground, and he had a soul that was formed by the breath of God. Paul states that the last Adam (Christ) was a different type of man. He is not described as a living soul, but as a life-giving spirit. So too are all those who are in Christ. In the New Testament, when the apostles describe the parts of a Christian, they speak of a three-part being.
I Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Yahshua Christ.
When a person receives the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit does an unseen work in the midst of their being. He causes a new part of their being to be birthed into existence. This is the spirit of man. It is by virtue of obtaining this spiritual part of our being that we are said to be “new creatures in Christ.”
It was Yahweh’s plan from the very beginning for all of mankind to become three-part beings. He declared in Genesis Chapter one, “Let us make man after our image. Let us make man in our likeness.” God is also a three part being. We see these several parts in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet God’s plan to make man a three-part being like Himself was largely hidden to mankind, even though the prophets of the Old Testament spoke of the day when this would happen.
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you…”
When Yahshua walked upon this earth He was the first of this new type of man to appear. Because He was a new creature, a spiritual creature, He was able to walk in victory over sin where all other men failed. One evening a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a teacher from among the Jews, came to Yahshua. He began to tell Christ that he recognized Him as being sent of God, and he acknowledged Christ as a teacher. He came to see what Christ would teach him. What he received was totally unexpected.
Yahshua answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Yahshua answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The only type of birth which Nicodemus was familiar with was that of flesh. He understood that man came from woman through the natural birth. This is what Yahshua referred to as being “born of water.” There is a water birth that immediately precedes a baby coming forth from the womb. All who are born of woman are living souls. They have a body and a soul.
Yahshua told Nicodemus that in order to become all God desired, men had to be born a second time. This second birth is a spiritual birth. It is accomplished by the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit cannot be seen by the natural senses, and therefore His work is hidden, but we can observe the results of His work in our lives. This hidden work with noticeable results is what Yahshua is referring to in the last verse quoted above. We cannot see the wind, but we can tell where it is by observing its passage through the trees and among the grass. We therefore know the wind has passed by.
Spiritual birth is like the passage of the wind. We do not observe it as we do the natural birth, but we can see that something has indeed been born that was not present before. We find that there are new desires in our being, urging us to walk in a manner pleasing to God. There is also a new power to walk in righteousness that we did not have before. We are able to see things that were formerly hidden to us, even as Yahshua declared “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Yahweh has set many things in the creation to serve as parables of spiritual truth. As we observe them, and have our understanding opened, we are able to discern more about God’s work in our life. One such parable is found in the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.
The caterpillar and butterfly are the same creature at two different stages of life. They are so vastly different, however, that they are referred to by different names. The caterpillar is like unto the first Adam. It is a creature of flesh. Its appearance even resembles a lump of flesh. It is earthbound, and it has appetites for things that grow close to the earth. This too is like the first Adam. When we are born of woman we are fleshly creatures. We have appetites for earthly things. Even as the serpent was cursed to eat dust all the days of his life, so is man, for he submitted to the serpent for obedience. The natural man’s appetites are those things that satisfy the cravings of sinful flesh. Even as a caterpillar cannot leave the earth, the natural man is unable to rise above the captivity of the flesh.
A magnificent thing happens in the life of this creature we call a caterpillar. After a period of time in his fleshly state, he enters into a cocoon. This cocoon serves as a hidden chamber where a marvelous transformation occurs. What happens is hidden from sight, but after emerging it is apparent that something of profound substance has taken place. So too do we find that the work of the Spirit in our life is largely hidden from sight. Yet when the Spirit has completed His work we will be as radically different from the men and women we were formerly as the caterpillar is distinct from the butterfly.
A butterfly truly is a new type of creature. A butterfly has wings while a caterpillar does not. Therefore a butterfly is no longer bound to the earth. It can now soar in the heavens. This speaks of the spiritual life of the Believer. It also speaks of our being able to rise above the captivity of the old Adamic nature which was captive to sin. The butterfly has appetites for different things than that of a caterpillar. Caterpillars are largely leaf eaters, while butterflies live on the nectar of flowers. This too contains a symbol. The new creature in Christ is now drawn to those things that are beautiful in the sight of God, and we feed on that which is sweet, even the word of God.
How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
The natural man has no appetite for the things of God, but the spiritual man craves that which comes from God.
I Corinthians 2:14
A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
In the cocoon a remarkable transformation occurs. The fleshly form of the caterpillar disappears, and a new creature adapted to life in the heavens arises. This is a parable of what the Father seeks to perform in the lives of men and women. The old man we were in Adam, with its fleshly appetites, its captivity to earthly things, and its sinful nature must be diminished. The new creature born of the Spirit that seeks the pleasure of God must increase.
Our growth as spiritual creatures parallels our growth as natural men. No one is born as an adult. Life begins with the implantation of a seed into the uterus of the woman. This seed begins to divide and multiply, and divide and multiply again. Over time it begins to resemble that which it will one day be. Even as the natural man must pass through these formative stages into infancy, then childhood, until it arrives at a mature man, so too must the spiritual seed pass through these stages until we come to the fulness of the stature of Christ.
As Christ is being formed in us the old man is being diminished. Even as it is impossible for both a caterpillar and a butterfly to emerge from the cocoon, it is impossible for us to take on the likeness of Christ while still being the old creation that we once were. The old must pass away, and the new must come. This process is expressed in numerous ways in the Scriptures.
But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Yahshua, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Our victory over sin is assured as we allow this process of transformation to go forward. The old self is laid aside and the new self is put on. Once a person receives the Spirit of Christ this process begins, and it is as natural as a physical babe growing into an adult. Our transformation into the image of Christ is not something we have to force to happen, neither do we need to figure out how to make it come about. All we need to do is surrender to that which the Spirit is doing in us. We can, however, resist this work and cause this new creature to not develop normally as it should.
Yahshua said that of those born of woman there was none greater than John the Baptist. Yahshua testified that there existed no greater prophet than John. Perhaps the reason for this high praise was that John recognized clearly that Yahshua was the Son of God and that He was the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world. John also testified of this very key work of God where Christ must become more and more within mankind, while the old self must become less and less. John declared this truth in the following words.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
This occurrence of Yahshua increasing in us, while we decrease, is the natural result of a life surrendered to the Spirit of Christ. Hear what I am saying. “This is only the natural result of those SURRENDERED to the Spirit. Many Christians continue in bondage to the flesh, and they fail to overcome addictive desires, because they RESIST the Spirit.
We will look once more in the next chapter to the parable of Israel in the wilderness to discern both how we can surrender to the Spirit, and how we resist Him.