2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. –ESV
This is a familiar verse to many of us. It has probably also been an inspiration to many. How many of us became born again, and did not learn to despise our old ways? It is impossible. Do the old things tantalize us from time to time? Sure, but then we remember what Christ has done for us and the death that comes with sin.
But what about the times we don’t remember? What about the people who seem to struggle for years after finding Christ? One explanation can be found in Romans 7:20: Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. —ESV
This tells me there has simply been an identity shift.
It is not that our corrupt bodies have physically died. And it is not that our corrupt bodies will not crawl off the alter sometimes. We simply do not have our identity in it anymore. Our identity is in Christ which is where the new creation comes from. A new person—a spiritual one has been born within us through the resurrection of Christ, and it is in this new person that our identity needs to be staked.
You see there are many promises in the bible. However, we do not receive some of them simply because we do not claim them. The promise of becoming a new creation can be the same. If we are not staking our identity in Christ, we might begin to look through the eyes of our mortal selves again.
So I have found it helpful to declare that I am a new creation at times when I am tempted to think with my carnal mind again. By doing this, I am claiming the promise God has given me, and putting my flesh in subjection once more. Not only that, but I am allowing Christ through the Holy Spirit to reign in me once more.
When this happens there is true victory. All the powers of darkness and all our flesh cannot withstand the resurrection power of Jesus. But we need to be willing vessels of that power. And as we continue in the promise of a new creation, we find that it is so. Our desire for evil diminishes. Dark thoughts, inspired by powers of evil lose their hold. There is life and life more abundantly.
It is all in God’s faithfulness in making us a new creation as He promised.