We are speaking about a new generation populated by new creatures. Before we get too carried away with our new selves, however, it’s important to note this new creation is in the Spirit. It is home to the DNA of God, from the Spirit of Christ, but it is not finished yet, any more than any of us are in the Spirit all the time. Our old man, that is our old creation person, is still in the flesh, bound up in old creation time. Old creation time can only touch Eternity in the moment. Jesus is “I Am,” not I was. His way with us today is not necessarily His way with us yesterday.
It is right here where we come to grips with Romans 8:23, “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”
The order of our entry into the new creation is first adoption, (a legal matter) then the “new birth.” (made possible by the very DNA of God) This just to say, the Romans 8 passage seems to deny our new birth in the present. How can this be when Peter tells us, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God,” 1 Peter 1:23. Clearly there is no seed involved in adoption, but there is in birth, even new birth. Since the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, there must then be a sense in which the new birth is already ours. It is ours in the Spirit. Would that we would be, or stay there longer and more often! Not to worry, though. He is faithful that promised.
All of this is foundational to what I would really like to do here, and that is to unwrap this new generation a little bit further. Look at the light of Isaiah 9:6, 7: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.”
Isaiah introduces this “great light” to a people who had been living in darkness. That would be us. This “great light” comes to us in a number of ways: “a child,” “a son,” “a governor,” “a Wonderful Counselor,” “a Mighty God,” “an Everlasting Father,” and “a Prince of Peace.” All of this comes to us packaged in the firstborn of a new creation. It takes some time to open so many Christmas presents, to say nothing of coming into some understanding and closeness with them all. In any given moment of eternity, brought to us by the Spirit of God, we may find ourselves with any one of those qualities or personalities wrapped in the flesh of another person. In short, Christ may give Himself to us in another person, for whatever we need at that moment. We can learn more from having a child, for instance, than we can from going to college. I think you can figure out the rest. It takes spiritual discernment to receive Christ and the things of Christ in another person. It is a spiritual matter, and Jesus Christ is Lord of it all.
And so, with gratitude in our hearts, we can say with Paul about these whom the Lord gives us as gifts: “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy,” 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20.
By Jay Ferris, originally posted April, 2012