Updated: Mar 3, 2021
THE NEW MAN – NEW CREATION – NEW HUMANITY – NEW BIRTH
We started this two-part series emphasizing the “keys to the kingdom of heaven” are given to the two-fold revelation of Jesus Christ: His Person (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”) and His Work: “And I will build My Ekklesia and the Gates of Hades will not prevail against it” Matthew 18:16-18). Furthermore, He promised His Ekklesia (not just Peter alone) that they would be given the “keys to the kingdom of heaven” via these two revelations to “bind and loose” in fulfilling in the Name of the Father in bringing heaven’s message to the earth—being in harmony, in symphony, with His Ekklesia defeats the Gates of Hades and bringing heaven’s binding to earth! This all commences by becoming like a little babe in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven in the first place. But how could this infant appear upon the scene in order to be given the “keys to the kingdom of heaven”? How could this “binding and loosing” commence?
Certainly, the Pharisee, Nicodemus, “a ruler of the Jews [who] came to Jesus by night” and who was deeply impressed with Jesus’ miracle-working power when he said: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2) . . . had no idea the response he was going to get from Jesus with such flattery:
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:3)
Nicodemus understood these words of Jesus in a literal sense because Jesus did literal miracles; so Nicodemus replied:
“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4)
There’s no indication that Nicodemus was trying to be snide in his remarks. Who knows, Nicodemus readily could have thought, based upon the miraculous signs Jesus was performing, that Jesus could somehow make this happen . . . then he or someone else could actually “see the kingdom of God.”
Jesus then replied to Nicodemus:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8).
A “spiritual REBIRTH” was mandatory in order to see the Kingdom of God. Such a rebirth directly related to seeing the Kingdom of God starts with a spiritual rebirth—commences with the regeneration of the human spirit by the Spirit of the Living God: Born of the Spirit is spirit—notice the capitalizations. Man’s spirit is likened unto the human egg and the Spirit of God is likened unto the human sperm. Man’s spirit is made for the Spirit of the Living God—that is precisely how one is “born from above”—this produces the New Man, the New Creation, the New Birth, the Infant Jesus, if you would. The New Birth is not generated by the mind of man, but must be “understood” by spiritual perception because it is the human spirit which is ignited by the Life of God’s Spirit . . . “born of the Spirit, is spirit.”
How can this be?
Jesus went on in his discourse with Nicodemus and emphasized the “heavenly things” He was conveying to Nicodemus:
“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:12-16).
A man is “born from above” by “He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” when the Spirit of Promise would commence His ministry of regeneration! Where does that begin? Of course, within the “spirit of man” – and what ignites or causes that New Birth? The Spirit of God! But the BORN-AGAIN regenerating work of the Spirit of God could not commence unless and until the following:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
Jesus took our sin and “captured” the “rebellious one”—even the SNAKE—and “became sin for us Who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). The brazen serpent was placed on Moses’ pole—all the Israelites who had been bitten by snakes for their rebellion against Moses could look at the snake upon the pole and would live, be healed:
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery [brass] serpent and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and Moses mounted it on a pole. If anyone who was bitten looked at the bronze snake, he would live” (Numbers 21:8-9).
Yes, sorrow and pain, in that the Father offered up the Son upon the cross, the pole, the brass serpent reflects the judgment upon our sin!
Indeed, through the sorrow – then the birth – then the joy! Who or what was being born? I believe it was the NEWBORN – the NEW MAN – the EKKLESIA Jesus promised to build – the “revelation of the mystery” wrought through the Cross of Christ Who was made sin for us who knew no sin and nailed it to the tree!
THE NEW CREATION—THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS!
Furthermore, this “new birth” – this regeneration - seems perfectly in keeping with the NEW MAN of Paul’s writings to the Colossians . . . when a NEW MAN appears, this New Man is NOT full-grown . . . there is a beginning, growth, and then what happens follows the pattern below:
“His purpose was to create in himself one NEW MAN (new humanity—NIV) out of the two [Jew and Gentile], thus making peace, and in ONE BODY to reconcile both of them to God through the cross” (Eph. 2:15-16).
“And having put on the NEW MAN, having been renewed in full knowledge according to the image of the One creating him; where there is no Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave or freeman – but Christ is all things and in all” (Col. 3:10-11).
“And that you put on the NEW MAN which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
“. . . until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to MATURE MANHOOD to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13–ESV).
“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the NEW CREATION . . . Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God (NIV)” or “. . . peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God” (KJV) (Gal. 6:15-16).
“So, if anyone is in Christ, that one is a new creation (lit. “in Christ – NEW CREATION” – there is no indefinite article here).
Allow me to briefly exegete the NEW CREATION found in Galatians 6:16, comparing it with 2 Corinthians 5:17. It appears rather obvious that Galatians 6:16 – “nothing avails but a New Creation – nothing counts but a New Creation” tends toward the corporate in that “as many as shall walk by this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God” or as the NIV suggests: “Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God” (in other words THEY who follow such a rule are now “a part” of the Israel of God—meaning, it has a corporate connotation).
Whereas in 2 Corinthians 5:17 it “appears” that an individual who finds himself/herself in Christ is a “new creature” or a “new creation”—and this is how most Bible translators have so translated the text—the translators have “personalized” the meaning of the “new creation.” However, that is NOT how it reads nor can it be taken in context as the singularity of an individual alone—i.e., that individual is in essence “a part of the new creation” and not the sum and substance of a New Creation.
The Greek is most fascinating here. Both Galatians 6:16 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 use Strong’s G#2537 (kainos) and G#2937 (ktisis) in succession—in that order. “A new creation” in BOTH cases, giving, in particular, 2 Corinthians 5:17 an altogether corporate rendering, which is the obvious case in Galatians 6:16—that is, the “NEW CREATION is THE ISRAEL OF GOD” (NIV). Yes, “all things are new” in the New Creation. Substantiating the corporate nature of this claim is the context in which it is given in 2 Corinthians 5, to wit:
“And all things are of God, who reconciled US to Himself through Jesus Christ, and giving to US the ministry of reconciliation . . . and putting the word of reconciliation in US . . . WE ARE ambassadors, as God is exhorting through US, WE beseech on behalf of Christ . . . we might become the righteousness of God in Him . . . but working TOGETHER, WE also call on you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor. 5:18-20; 6:1).
Attempting to tie in the NEW MAN – the NEW HUMANITY – a NEW CREATION (Gal. 6:15) to this INFANT being birthed is NOT a stretch of the “theological imagination” – indeed, the NEW MAN, the NEWBORN manifesting is the NEW CREATION where neither “circumcision” nor “uncircumcision” avails anything but a NEW CREATION – therefore, we can boldly assert, as Paul: “As many as shall walk by this rule, peace on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). Yes, a NEW HUMANITY was being birthed . . . the very ISRAEL OF GOD!
As we decipher further Paul’s statement in Galatians 6:16, it is imperative that the claim of the INFANT JESUS be recognized as the NEW MAN wrought under both the New Covenant and the New Commandment be “theologically connected.” The “mature manhood” (Eph. 4:13—ESV) or “full-grown man” (ERV) or “a perfect man” (NKJV) has gone from infancy to maturity. Indeed:
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead speaking the truth in love, we will GROW to become in every respect the MATURE BODY of him who is the head, that is Christ . . . From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:14-16).
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN - FROM INFANCY TO MATURITY – TO THE ISRAEL OF GOD!
Yes, from infancy – this INFANT JESUS is growing by the “growth in life” to become the MATURE BODY – “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). Can we go so far as to say that this INFANT JESUS has been growing ever since the resurrection brought forth the FIRSTBORN of a NEW HUMANITY, a New Creation? I think so. So, what does this look like? Does it look like entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God?
I affirm that this INFANT JESUS is in reference to the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, that it is mandatory "unless you convert, and become as the little children (lit., "infants" - Strong's G#3813 - paidion or paidia) . . . you cannot enter into the kingdom of the heavens" (Matt. 18:3)? Yes, as already said, the same Greek word for INFANT is used here as it is used in Acts 4. An infant is altogether dependent . . . but these "little ones are believing in Me" (Matt. 18:6) - be careful, do not offend them . . . "woe to that man through whom the offense comes!" (Matt 18:7).
It is in this context Jesus immediately said:
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in Heaven continually look on the face of My Father in Heaven. For the Son of man has come to save that which was lost . . . So it is not the will before your Father in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish" (Matt. 18:10-11, 14).
OFFENDING BABES – OFFENDING BROTHERS