What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
I cannot begin to overemphasize the importance of this verse. It holds the key to the hidden victory of sin in our lives. The Greek word that we translate as “new” is, kainos and it has two layers of meaning.
The first is in regards to form. The mistake I’ve made is to believe that God’s desire is to “remodel” me.
That somehow as he enters my heart and mind, he will come in and give me some form of “extreme makeover”. He may even need to go so far as to strip things down to the studs, but ultimately it will still be me that is left. Just a better, cleaner and nicer me. Believing this is a mistake. Kainos does not mean to remodel, its first meaning is: to be wholly unused, fresh, recently made.
Like warm fresh bread.
I don’t go to my local bakery and hand them an old, mildewed loaf and wait while they mash it up, reheat it and hand it back to me. That would be gross. No, I walk in to the Great Harvest Bakery around the corner from my office, inhale the wonderful aromas and plop down my cash for a warm, new and entirely fresh loaf of bread.
God is not in the, “fix and flip” business. He is in the scape it away and start new from scratch using the best ingredients business. He does not want to improve me, he wants to destroy the old me utterly and in its place establish something new and wonderful. Believing this is where the victory over sin begins. Because I have mistakenly believed that God just wanted to spruce the current me up, I find it almost impossible to believe then that I can truly be free from past and present sins. On some level I’ve made an unconscious agreement that, “Yeah, God wants to do a work in me, but I know me, and there is only so far he can go with me.” In keeping with the construction metaphor, it’s like saying I’m a two-bedroom ranch and although I “know” that God wants me to be a four bedroom two story, I just don’t believe its possible. I don’t believe because I’m focused on the structure that has historically been occupying my “space”.
“He can’t really make me new, because what I’ve been is all He has to work with.”
The verse says, “they are not the same anymore.” Again, the literal translation is to say, “they have perished.” They have been utterly destroyed. God is not attempting to remake me from the left overs of what was before. Absolutely not! He is creating a new me fresh, from scratch if you will. My form—in God’s eyes—will be completely new and unused.
The second meaning of kainos is in regards to substance. It means literally that what is left after my recreation is unprecedented, unheard of, and uncommon. Kainos means that my new self is something the world and I have never seen before. And again there is victory in this truth. So often, my sins entrap me because I know what I’ve done before. Satan and my flesh use my past to entrap, enslave and determine my future.
But, if the new me is truly without precedence, then I am free from my chains to past habits. I have witnessed the old me sin time and time again, but God says that me is gone. What is left is novel. It is new. It is capable of greater faithfulness, love, and obedience. Literally a “new life has begun!”
How about you? Have you been living under the mistaken belief that you are God’s remodeling project. Do you find yourself falling into the same sin and repentance patterns because if your honest with yourself, you don’t believe you can be any different?
If that is you, then stop. Pray for God to renew your mind. Pray that He will root out the pervasive infection of misbelief. Pray that He will reveal to you the wholly new, fresh and unprecedented creation that you are today.
If I don’t believe I’m new, then I can’t believe I can ever be more than what I’ve always been. A new man can be free. The old me will only ever be a slave.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 NAS