The new creation is described in 2  Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;  the old has gone, the new has come!” The word “therefore” refers us back to  verses 14-16 where Paul tells us that all believers have died with Christ and no  longer live for themselves. Our lives are no longer worldly; they are now  spiritual. Our “death” is that of the old sin nature which was nailed to the  cross with Christ. It was buried with Him, and just as He was raised up by the  Father, so are we raised up to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). That new person that was raised up is what  Paul refers to in 2  Corinthians 5:17 as the “new creation.”

To understand the new  creation, first we must grasp that it is in fact a creation, something created  by God. John 1:13 tells us that this new birth was brought about by the will of God. We did not  inherit the new nature, nor did we decide to re-create ourselves anew, nor did  God simply clean up our old nature; He created something entirely fresh and  unique. The new creation is completely new, brought about from nothing, just as  the whole universe was created by God ex nihilo, from nothing. Only the  Creator could accomplish such a feat.

Second, “old things have passed  away.” The “old” refers to everything that is part of our old nature—natural  pride, love of sin, reliance on works, and our former opinions, habits and  passions. Most significantly, what we loved has passed away, especially the  supreme love of self and with it self-righteousness, self-promotion, and  self-justification. The new creature looks outwardly toward Christ instead of  inwardly toward self. The old things died, nailed to the cross with our sin  nature.

Along with the old passing away, “the new has come!” Old, dead  things are replaced with new things, full of life and the glory of God. The  newborn soul delights in the things of God and abhors the things of the world  and the flesh. Our purposes, feelings, desires, and understandings are fresh and  different. We see the world differently. The Bible seems to be a new book, and  though we may have read it before, there is a beauty about it which we never saw  before, and which we wonder at not having perceived. The whole face of nature  seems to us to be changed, and we seem to be in a new world. The heavens and the  earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the  praise of God. There are new feelings toward all people—a new kind of love  toward family and friends, a new compassion never before felt for enemies, and a  new love for all mankind. The things we once loved, we now detest. The sin we  once held onto, we now desire to put away forever. We “put off the old man with  his deeds” (Colossians  3:9), and put on the “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness  and holiness” (Ephesians  4:24).

What about the Christian who continues to sin? There is a  difference between continuing to sin and continuing to live in sin. No one  reaches sinless perfection in this life,  but the redeemed Christian is being sanctified (made holy) day by day, sinning  less and hating it more each time he fails. Yes, we still sin, but unwillingly  and less and less frequently as we mature. Our new self hates the sin that still  has a hold on us. The difference is that the new creation is no longer a  slave to sin, as we formerly were. We are now freed from sin and it no  longer has power over us (Romans  6:6-7). Now we are empowered by and for righteousness. We now have the  choice to “let sin reign” or to count ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God in  Christ Jesus” (Romans  6:11-12). Best of all, now we have the power to choose the latter.

The new creation is a wondrous thing, formed in the mind of God and created by  His power and for His glory.