Text: 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

2 Corinthians 5:17 describes the nature of one who is a true Christian. A genuine Christian is one who is “in Christ”. He has repented of his sin and trusted in Christ as his Lord and Saviour. He is now united to Christ and belongs to His body (see 1 Cor 12:27).

Paul further describes the Christian as one who is a “new creature”. The term “new” points to how a Christian has a different nature from the past. On the other hand, the term “creature” describes how God has created life in the believer.

A man who have not believed in Christ is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. His thoughts are opposed to God. His works are like filthy rags before the Lord (Isa. 64:6). His lust is for the things of the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). Had his sins not been cleansed, what awaits is eternal condemnation in the Lake of Fire. That is what the Bible describes as the “second death” (Rev. 20:14).

However a man who is saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus is no more like his old self, but is a “new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). This new life that he has in Christ is not a life that will serve sin, but one that will serve righteousness and holiness (see Romans 6). The “old things”, that is, his ungodly ways of sin and wickedness, are now passed away. His life is now realigned in the pursuit of holiness and godliness. He lives now for the glory of God and not for self. What a radical transformation in his life!

Sadly, while there are many who profess to be a Christian, but they seem to live no different from the rest of the world. Their outlook is one that is carnal. They are still pursuing worldly interests and lusts. Where is the evidence of a new man that ought to be the mark of one who is truly born again?

Consider the example of Augustine who used to lead a lascivious life before he truly knew Christ as His Saviour. One day, he saw a wanton woman whose company he used to enjoy. This lady, recognising him from afar, began calling out to him “Augustine, Augustine, it is I!” Upon hearing her voice, he shuddered, and quickly ran away, saying, “It is not I! It is not I!” He was anxious not to have anything to do with his old life.

Dear readers, I pray all of us are new creatures in Christ Jesus. If so, let us have nothing to do with our old sin-plagued life. Instead, let us put on the new man, and aspire after a life of righteousness and true holiness. May you truly have new life in Christ!

Yours affectionately
Pastor Clement Chew


From An Abridgement of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion by Timothy Tow
Book III, Chapter VI

  1. We have said that the end of regeneration is, that the life of believers may exhibit a symmetry and agreement between the righteousness of God and their obedience. In this chapter, I wish to point out a method by which a pious man may be conducted to the right end in the regulation of his life, and assign a universal rule, by which he may properly estimate his duties.
  2. This Scriptural plan, of which we are now treating, consists chiefly in these two things – (a) that a love of righteousness be instilled into our hearts; (b) that a rule be prescribed to prevent our deviating from the race of righteousness.
    To begin with, our foundation is holiness, for our God is holy (Lev. 19:2; 1 Pet. 1:16). It is the peculiar property of God’s glory not to have any intercourse with iniquity and uncleanness. It is His purpose that we are delivered from the iniquity and pollution of the world; and that we would inhabit the holy city of Jerusalem (Isa. 35:10). “Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? . . . He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness” (Ps. 15:1, 2; 24:3, 4)
  3. When the philosophers intend to exhort us to the sublimest virtue, they advance no argument but that we ought to live agreeably to nature. The Scripture, however, deduces its exhortation from the true source, to God the author and to Christ, by whom we have been reconciled, our pattern and example.
    Since Christ has purified us in the laver of His blood, and has communicated this purification by baptism, how can we be defiled with fresh pollution? Since He has united us to His body, we should, as His members, solicitously beware lest we asperse ourselves with any blemish or disgrace. Since He who is our Head has ascended to heaven, we ought to divest our-selves of all terrestrial affection, and aspire heavenwards with our whole heart. Since the Holy Spirit has dedicated us as temples to God, we should exert our utmost, that the glory of God be displayed in us. These are the foundations of our holiness, for the proper regulation of our life. The philosophers’ exhortation to virtue, nevertheless, never rise above the natural dignity of man.
  4. The Apostle denies that any one has rightly learned Christ, who have not been taught to put off the old man. Their knowledge of Christ then, proved to be a false and injurious pretence, though they may talk eloquently about the Gospel. If the philosophers are justly incensed against those who, while they profess an art which ought to be a rule of life, convert it to a sophistical loquacity – with how much more reason may we detest those sophists who have the Gospel on their lips, but not in their heart. Our knowledge of Christ is a doctrine not of the tongue, but of the life.
  5. But I do not so vigorously require evangelical perfection as not to acknowledge as a Christian, one who has not yet attained to it. For, then all would be excluded from the church! Nevertheless, let us set before our eyes that mark, to which alone our pursuit must be directed, even evangelical perfection. For it is not lawful for us to undertake a part of the duties prescribed to us in His Word, and to omit part of them, at our pleasure. In the first place, He everywhere recommends integrity as a principal branch of His Worship. By this, He intends a sincere simplicity of heart, free from all guile and falsehood. Therefore, let us not cease to strive, that we may be incessantly advancing in the way of the Lord.