Sermon by Dr Peter Masters
The most important ‘if’ in the Bible is here – ‘If any man be in Christ’ he is a new creation. How do we come to be ‘in Christ’ – united with Him? And in what way is our life newly created? What exactly do we experience?
‘Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.’
And our subject is ‘life’s most essential crisis.’ And I will endeavour to be very straightforward, because this is such a tremendous theme for us this evening. And I’d like the message of God to be so clear and so plain, so we should be most straightforward. And to introduce the subject here in this verse, this 17th verse of 2 Corinthians chapter 5, is one of the greatest ‘if’s of the Bible. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. ‘If’, it’s a conditional structure, if any man be in Christ, any person that is, any man, any woman, but only if to be in Christ.
What does it mean to be in him? Well, it signifies, as the passage says, a tremendous change. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, says our King James Version. The original Greek can be translated ‘creature’. It can also be translated ‘creation’. And that is how it is usually translated by the King James translators, and in fact, all modern Bibles also. He is a new creation. The apostle actually means to take us back to the creation of the universe, the creation of the world, an act of God. Only God can do it. He created it out of nothing. And if any man be in Christ, it is as dramatic as this. He is a new creation, an original work of God. God has brought something into being that was not there before, in bringing that soul to life, and injecting spiritual life into the person, and transforming that person’s nature. If any man be in Christ, well, we’re talking about spirituality.
And some people think that they are spiritual people, and that they are Christians even. But they are not, according to Bible definitions, they are not in Christ. They do not actually have a living union with him. They have not been dramatically changed, so that you could speak about a new creation, or a new creature. They think that they are spiritual, or Christian, for far lesser reasons.