If any man be in Christ,
    He is a new creation.
If any man be in Christ,
    He is a new creation.
Old things now are passed away,
    Behold, all things are created new;
Old things now are passed away,
    Behold, all things are created new!

2 Corinthians 5:17


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Sometimes theologians make a distinction between being “in Christ” and Christ being “in us”. This is a false distinction. There is no difference. You are in the family of Jesus, or “in Christ”, when His life is reproduced in you. They both happen together, as the text for this song shows.

It is a “new creation”. “Old things” are passed away, and “all things” are created new. Clearly this is talking about a specific area of the human nature.

The body is not created new until the resurrection. Likewise, the mind is not fully renewed, as many old thoughts and habit-patterns still remain to be reformed.

But the spiritual nature of man, the “heart” as it is referred to in many places in the Bible, is fully regenerated. The old “stony heart” is removed, and a “new heart” is created in its place:

Ezekiel 36
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

This is not a figure of speech, it is as real as a heart transplant operation, but performed in the spiritual nature. This is the part of man which medicine (which treats mainly the physical body) does not recognize, and which psychology (which treats mainly the mind) does not recognize. But the Bible recognizes it.

The effects of this change are beautifully described in the book, The Desire of Ages, page 391 (chapter 41, “The Crisis in Galilee”):

By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude.

Martin Luther described it in a similar way (as quoted in D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation, book 2, chapter 8):

The desire of self-justification is the cause of all the distresses of the heart, But he who receives Jesus Christ as a Saviour, enjoys peace; and not only peace, but purity of heart. All sanctification of the heart is a fruit of faith. For faith is a divine work in us, which changes us and gives us a new birth, emanating from God himself. It kills the old Adam in us; and, by the Holy Ghost which is communicated to us, it gives us a new heart and makes us new men. It is not by empty speculations but by this practical method, that we can obtain a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

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