Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For [he’s giving us the reason now], you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way...
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
When the Bible says: “You are a new creation,” is it talking about an actual change in you or a change in how God sees you?
If you had a heart of stone and now you have a heart of flesh, is that a change in the eyes of God or a change in you? Regeneration is a real change in you—accomplished by the power of God.
There is an unhelpful phrase, often attributed to Martin Luther: Christians are “snow-covered dung.” That image makes the truth of justification clear. The righteousness of Christ covers us, so that while we are sinners by nature and practice, we are justified in God’s eyes.
But this phrase obscures regeneration. It gives the impression that becoming a Christian doesn’t make any difference to who you are. And it does! We are sinners to the end. When we enter heaven, it will be by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ and through His righteousness. Not one of us will enter heaven on the last day because of our progress in the Christian life.
While we are sinners to the last, we are regenerated sinners. We are not what we were. And one day the full glory of what God has begun in us will be made known.
Knowing what God has done for you in Christ is really important. God has justified you. He has forgiven you and clothed you in Christ’s perfect righteousness, so that being justified by faith you have peace with God. God has also regenerated you. He has made you a new creation in Christ. And His life is in you by the Holy Spirit.
Are you a new creation? What does that mean?