Have you experienced the radical change of the new birth?
Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Learn, that regeneration is not a trifling change.
It is not a mere change of relations, or of the outward condition.
It is not merely being brought from the world into the church, and being baptized, though by the most holy hands; it is much more.
None of these things would make proper the declaration, “he is a new man.”
Regeneration by the Spirit of God does.
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.
The affirmation here is universal, “if any man be in Christ;” that is, all who become true Christians – undergo such a change in their views and feelings as to make it proper to say of them that they are new creatures.
No matter what they have been before, whether moral or immoral; whether infidels or speculative believers; whether amiable, or debased, sensual and polluted yet if they become Christians they all experience such a change as to make it proper to say they are a new creation.
A new creature – The idea evidently is, not that he ought to be a new creature, but that he is in fact; not that he ought to live as becomes a new creature – which is true enough – but that he will in fact live in that way, and manifest the characteristics of the new creation.
(1) That there is an exertion of divine power in the conversion of the sinner as really as in the act of creating the world out of nothing, and that this is as indispensable in the one case as in the other.
(2) that a change is produced so great as to make it proper to say that he is a new man. He has new views, new motives, new principles, new objects and plans of life. He seeks new purposes, and he lives for new ends.
If a drunkard becomes reformed, there is no impropriety in saying that he is a new man. If a man who was licentious becomes pure, there is no impropriety in saying that he is not the same man that he was before.
There is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, and so abiding, that it is proper to say, here is a new creation of God – a work of the divine power as decided and as glorious as when God created all things out of nothing.
There is no other moral change that takes place on earth so deep, and radical, and thorough as the change at conversion. And there is no other where there is so much propriety in ascribing it to the mighty power of God.
Old things are passed away – The old views in regard to the Messiah, and in regard to people in general, 2 Corinthians 5:16. But Paul also gives this a general form of expression, and says that old things in general have passed away – referring to everything. It was true of all who were converted that old things had passed away. And it may include the following things:
(1) In regard to the Jews – that their former prejudices against Christianity, their natural pride, and spirit of seducing others; their attachment to their rites and ceremonies, and dependence on them for salvation had all passed away. They now renounced that independence, relied on the merits of the Saviour, and embraced all as brethren who were of the family of Christ.
(2) in regard to the Gentiles – their attachment to idols, their love of sin and degradation, their dependence on their own works, had passed away, and they had renounced all these things, and had come to mingle their hopes with those of the converted Jews, and with all who were the friends of the Redeemer.
(3) in regard to all, it is also true that old things pass away. Their former prejudices, opinions, habits, attachments pass away.
Their supreme love of self passes away.
Their love of sins passes away.
Their love of the world passes away.
Their supreme attachment to their earthly friends rather than God passes away.
Their love of sin, their sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, ambition, passes away.
There is a deep and radical change on all these subjects – a change which commences at the new birth; which is carried on by progressive sanctification; and which is consummated at death and in heaven.