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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 11/08/09

 

Therefore from now on we recognize no man or no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. (2CO 5:16)
We have established the fact that if Christ died for us, and if we desire to live for Him, then our view of others has to change. No longer do we see people through the world’s eyes, but since Christ now lives within us we see others through the eyes of Christ. Until you learn that, you’ll never change your perspective. People are simply fickle and they love to throw in their two cents concerning every one else’s business. In other words, Today, it's Hosanna, tomorrow, it’s crucify Him! One day you're a king, the next day you’re the peasant! One day they love you, the next day they hate you! One day they’re your friend, the next day they’re your enemy!
And when they had been brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they {began} saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live.” However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and {began} to say that he was a god. (ACT 28:1-6)
People are fickle! These people said Paul was evil and that the gods let a snake fasten on his hand like that because he was evil, chew on him like a cobra does, injecting venom into him. However, Paul just shook the serpent off into the campfire and wasn’t even harmed at all, therefore they said maybe this man is a god.
The principle of 2Co5:16, Therefore from now on: We are to recognize no one according to the flesh. This means that some people are very difficult to love, and even more impossible to like. By the standards of this world, we often have categories for the people we encounter. Some people are more acceptable than others when we approach life from this worldly point of view. However, it is wise to always remember that God has accepted us. Thankfully, we are told that God has a forgiving and forgetting heart, not remembering our sins and failures. It isn’t that God cannot remember our sins, but rather that He chooses not to remember them.
Why has God allowed us to remember the sins He has forgotten? He does this so that we will never forget how gracious He has been to us. When we consider God’s grace and mercy applied to our lives, how can we look at others and not apply the same forgiveness? We need to apply the principle of grace to those around us, to see others through God’s perspective and help us to love and forgive as we have been loved and forgiven.
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2CO 5:17)
Do you feel like a new creation today? Sometimes we don’t. The circumstances of life sometimes can cloud our view so that we won’t recognize the awesomeness of being a new creation. Yet, God’s Word is true! If you are in Christ, then Christ is in you, and Christ cannot reside in you unless a change has been made! Every now and then it’s important to pause for just a minute and reflect on the ramifications of being a new creation. Your sin no longer condemns you because the Lord Jesus Christ bore the penalty upon the Cross. Your eternity is no longer in question, because your name is written with permanent ink in the Lambs Book of Life (REV 13:8; 20:15). You are no longer left to face life on your own, because Christ has came to live His life through you (GAL 2:20). You no longer have to live in defeat, because the Lord Jesus Christ has already overcome the world.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. (1JO 5:4)
Are you living like a new creation today, or are you still walking around like the old you? Have you got a confidence because your future is secure? Are you enjoying the peace of God that surpasses understanding, since you have been justified by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ? (PHI 4:7; ROM 5:9). Do you look at life from Heaven’s perspective, because, in position, your citizenship is not of this world:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; (PHI 3:20)
God’s desire and design for us is victory. Not that everything will always be perfect. Many times it will not, but we can still live in victory, because from Heaven's perspective, everything is going to work out just as God planned (ROM 8:28-30).
The next phrase we need to note is the final phrase in 2CO 5:17b....the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
The word for old things is the nominative plural subject of archaios which means the antiques or the original lifestyle. It means something that is really old. It doesn't refer to things we have given up because archaios doesn’t refer to this generation, or the past generation. The word is always used for something that is ancient, or really old. For example, it is used in MAT 5:21, “You have heard that the ancients were told,” In LUK 9:8,19, it is used for one of the prophets of old. In ACT 15:7 it is used for the early days, in ACT 15:21 it is used for ancient generations; in 2PE 2:5 it is used for the ancient world; in REV 12:9, and 20:2, it is used for the serpent of old.
It does not refer to your past but to your entire old sin nature which is much older than we are. The old sin nature isn’t passed away, but the old sin nature means spiritual death and you are born with an old sin nature and born with spiritual death. Spiritual death is a principle of no relationship with God and the old things, the archaic things, to spiritual death which means no relationship with God. Spiritual death is as old as GEN 2:17 when God said: “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die or dying spiritually, you shall eventually die physically.” Spiritual death as an anticipated judgment came before sin.
Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. (ROM 5:12)
When you accept Christ, it is spiritual death which passes away. When we were born in Adam, we are spiritually dead, but in Christ shall all be made alive, Christ has eternal life and we share His eternal life. At the moment you accept Christ as Savior spiritual death comes to an abrupt end. Never again do you have spiritual death. It is impossible, because you are in Christ; the old things are passed away. There is no value in spiritual antiques. The old things are passed away means that the old things have lost their power. What does this mean?
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let the sin nature reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body [such as your hands, feet, mouth, ears] to your sin nature as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members [such as your hands, feet, mouth, ears] as instruments of righteousness to God. (ROM 6:4-14)
Passages like this reveal what it means when 2CO 5:17 says, Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. What are these old things that have lost their power or have disappeared? All of the handicaps, disadvantages, hindrances, burdens, weights, obstacles, whether genetic or environmental. Even your volitional handicaps which include bad decisions made in the past have lost their power. The verb for passed away is the Greek word parerchomai which means to pass away; to disappear; to come to an end. The aorist tense points to that time when you were placed in Christ, which is the moment of salvation. The aorist tense is a completed aorist which views the verb as reaching its conclusion. The active voice, means that the old things related to our position in Adam such as spiritual death at birth, our slavery and bondage to the cosmic system, are all passed away. The indicative mood, the old things being passed away are a reality. Every handicap you had in the past and every thing that resulted from you being in Adam are not passed away but has lost its power. It no longer has any authority or control in your life UNLESS...you give it authority to control.
Some Christians like the old life better, but you have the option of living in the old or the new life. All you have to do is live in mental attitude sins, the sins of the tongue, or overt sin, and you have gone back to the old life and you are right back in the black hole of life. Therefore, you have been given a plan known as pre-destination or the PPOG as a challenge, the challenge to take advantage of your equal privilege and equal opportunity.
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2CO 5:17)
The new things that have come, the Greek word kaine means new in the sense of species. The new things include such things as pre-destination, escrow blessings, the PPOG. All of these things have now come to you, however whether you use them or not depends on first of all your knowledge of them and then your desire to apply them. You can be ignorant of these things and not use them but you are still accountable. Ignorance indicates negative volition toward doctrine. Or, you can know of their existence and still refuse to use them. One thing about the new creation is God has given us the option of living in it or not. This is why we have passages like EPH 4:22-24; ROM 13:14; ROM 13:12; EPH 6:11; COL 3:8-10. New things have come.
The first objective for the believer to enjoy the new creation is to reach Spiritual Self Esteem (SSE) which is manifested by virtue. Virtue is integrity and is provided by God. Virtue is developed when the believer reaches SSE. Self-righteousness is provided by arrogance. Once you start living as a new creature you will understand God’s plan for your life, you will have SSE and therefore you will no longer feel threatened by peer pressure. You will no longer compete for attention, you will not surrender to your deep seated fears and anxieties, your personal love for God will increase. Your SSE and your unconditional love for all will bring you to the reality or what it means to be a new creature. The new creature will make you strong without making you arrogant.
This verse, 2CO 5:17, can be paralleled with EPH 2:10 which says, for we are his workmanship: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.This emphasizes all that God the Father did for you in eternity past. You created or having been created in Christ Jesus. We are His production having been created in Christ Jesus. “Unto good works” is literally for divine production which God has before ordained that we should walk by means of them.
How do you know if you are living as a new creature in the new creation?
1. Are you content? Contentment is a manifestation of and the lifestyle of the new creation (2CO 12:10; 1TI 6:6-8). Are you well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake?
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2CO 12:10)
Do you believe that the spiritual life keeps on being a great means of prosperity when accompanied by contentment or capacity for life?
That you have brought nothing into this world and so it is obvious that you cannot take anything out of it either? Having food and clothing you shall be content. But living the spiritual life keeps on being a great means of prosperity when accompanied by contentment or capacity for life. For we have brought not even one thing into this world it is obvious that we cannot take anything out of it either. Now having nourishing food and a change of clothes. with these we shall be content. (1TI 6:6-8)
2. Are you stabilized in your thinking? Mental stability comes from the new creation, PHI 4:12-13. Do you know how to get along with humble means and also how to live in prosperity; Have you learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. That you can do all things through Him who strengthens you. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (PHI 4:12-13)
3. Are you confident? Confidence and a positive attitude toward life is a manifestation of the new creation, 2CO 5:16-17.
4. Are you gracious? A gracious attitude toward other people and toleration is life in the new creation, EPH 4:32; COL 3:12-13.\
5. Are you ambitious? The avoidance of inordinate ambition and competition results from the new creation, ROM 12:3; PHI 2:3-
6. Do you make good habitual decisions? Proper volitional decisions result from living in the new creation, EPH 6:10; PHI 2:2.
7. Do you possess your own vessel? Temperance or personal control of your life is a manifestation of the new creation, COL 2:7; HEB 12:2-3.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. (HEB 12:2-3)
8. Are you insecure? Living in the new creation solves the problems of inadequacy, fear, emotional disturbances, and the problems of personality identity, For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (2TI 1:7)
9. Do you love life? Living in the new creation also produces a new positive attitude toward life. The believer's thoughts and priorities change as he focuses his life on TLJC, JOH 15:9-10.
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." (JOH 15:9-10)
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