By Dimitris Pelidis


In the epistle of 2 Corinthians, we discover a unique gem of truth describing an entirely new breed of man, the kind which this world has never seen before.

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.

This most certainly is quite a radical shift from what Solomon observes when he says “there is no new thing under the sun” (Eccles. 1:9). While virtually everything around us remains tediously the same, there was a time in history when everything changed and that was with Christ’s coming. Ever since, anyone who is in Christ has the potential of becoming an entirely new being. Notice that this revolutionary change is conditional and starts with the individual: If... anyone... is in Christ.

Perhaps there is no other person in whom this change was so evident than the very person who was inspired with these words, the apostle Paul. Paul met with Christ on the Damascus road in a head-on collision where he was dramatically converted to Christianity. Later, as he reported, he received divine revelation of God’s Son (Gal. 1:15-16). The same pattern holds true for us. In becoming new creations, we first meet with Christ. Then he reveals himself within us. But there was one more, crucial stage in the transformation of Paul (and us), which is to be in Christ.

It is one thing to have Christ born in you and it is quite another for you to be in Christ. That’s where the wonderful transformation into entirely new creatures occurs: IN CHRIST. That is where most Christians struggle. Not for Christ to be in us, since he already is, but for us to be found in him. That is where we revise our centre of reference, our focus, what we hold most precious. That is where a renouncing of old values and a pursuing of new treasures is birthed. For Paul it was no longer what he used to hold in high esteem: his Jewish descent, his heritage and his religion in which he excelled (Phil. 3:4-6). Everything now faded away in the blinding radiance of Christ his savior. Now only Christ matters and everything revolves around him who “is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). All else is irrelevant and damaging or, as the apostle himself graphically describes, rubbish. Rubbish is to be disposed of, thrown out, dumped; and that is what Paul actually did.

Philippians 3:7-9:
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss [rubbish] for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Paul not only counted his old allegiances and values as “loss” but went so far as to count ALL THINGS loss and rubbish in order to gain Christ and be found in him.

What do you count as loss and gain? If God were to weigh your life in the balance by putting all things on one scale and putting Christ on the other scale, would Christ outweigh all things; would he outshine all other possessions? That’s a question we sincerely need to ask ourselves if indeed we are to become the new beings God has created us to be.

The context of the theme verse “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” is stated as follows:

2 Corinthians 5:14-15:
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

The love of Christ compels us and drives us to judge ourselves dead and decide to live for him. There comes a moment of truth in our lives when, as true followers of Christ we see ourselves for what we really are: DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS. We judge ourselves dead and lay, so to speak, the tombstone on ourselves and decide to quit living for ourselves. We do that! If we don’t, then we acquiesce to the revival of that old man of sin and the resurgence of all his dead works. God forbid that we do such a morbid thing. Let the old man die! Don’t try to resuscitate him. Rather pronounce him dead and live for Christ who died and rose again for you. Isn’t that what baptism is all about? Being dead to sin and alive in Christ?

Romans 6:1-4, 11:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When we were baptized in Christ we were baptized into his death. When he died we died with him; when he was buried we were buried with him. When he was raised from the dead we were raised with him so we should walk in newness of life. Notice that being raised and walking in newness of life does not precede dying and being buried. It follows it. There is a reckoning that first has to be done and that is to reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin but alive in Christ. If you don’t reckon yourself dead to sin you will not be alive in Christ, you will not walk in newness of life, you will not be a new creation. Paul counted all past things loss and rubbish for Christ. He judged and reckoned himself dead to sin but alive in Christ. For him to live was Christ. What is life to you?

That is what Christ meant when he said: “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mk. 8:34-35). This is the true meaning of presenting our bodies a living sacrifice unto God.

Romans 12:1-2:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

In Greece we have a saying that “the beginning is the half of everything.” That is so true regarding our new life in Christ. The beginning which is the half of everything is to present our bodies a living sacrifice. As we do that one crucial step then everything else follows. When we reckon ourselves dead and decide to live for God, he makes us holy and therefore acceptable. That is our reasonable service. Then we don’t find it so hard to resist conforming to this world since we are dead to it. We no longer suffer the loathsome drudgery of trying to renew our minds ourselves, for we have offered Christ our very lives with our hearts and minds. We long for the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts to be acceptable in his sight. We desire to please him and through the Spirit we bring every thought captive unto Christ and willingly obey him from the heart in everything. Then we, like Paul, are progressively transformed into the image of Christ and experience that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

Why not offer ourselves and those around us a unique gift: a NEW SELF. Let us not just mark the beginning of yet another month but mark the beginning of a new life in Christ. May each new month be for us not just a page torn off the calendar but a turning of a new page in the book of life in which all and everything is CHRIST.



From the May 2008 issue of The Vine & Branches