One New Man
“…that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace” (Ephesians 2:15)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:11-16
We saw in our last devotional how Christ, through his death on the cross, took away all barriers between Jew and Gentile making the two of them one. There is another vital truth contained in this that we need to explore further.
In verse 15, Paul goes beyond saying that Jesus brought about peace between Jews and Gentiles and made them one. He says that Jesus “created” in himself “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). This strengthens the idea that the two are now joined as one through the gospel. It says that Christ actually created in himself a new humanity.
Just as Adam gave rise to humanity, so does the Lord Jesus. All who come to faith in him are now viewed as not “in Adam” but “in Christ”. As such, they receive the blessings of his atoning death and righteousness over against the death and condemnation that they had in their identification with Adam (Romans 5:-12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:22). Adam was a “type” of the one to come, the “first Adam” over against the “last” Adam – Jesus (Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:45).
In this “new man” (or new humanity) that Jesus brings into being, ethnic and religious heritage doesn’t count. Paul makes this clear in his letter to the Colossians. Writing about the new life we have in Christ, he says, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11). Writing elsewhere, he says that in Christ we become “a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
What wonderful words these are. When we become Christians, all that counts is Christ. There is a real sense in which we die; our old self is crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), and we become new people. Our identity is not defined by our nationality, our religious background, our gender, our social status or our occupation. We are now “Christians” – we belong to Christ and are members of his body. As Paul says, “Christ is all, and in all.”
We can never think too deeply or too often about these things. Indeed, it is imperative that we do so. Our present earth-bound existence constantly captivates our thoughts and hearts and draws us into identifying ourselves as European or Samoan, male or female, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, employed or unemployed.
But Christ changes that. While not obliterating these earthly realities, he has lifted us with himself to a higher state and identity (Colossians 3:1-2). We are one with him and seated with him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). This trumps everything else.
This new “in Christ” identity is what is to control us. And what a difference it makes when it does. We forget about ourselves – our appearance, our education, our heritage, and even our age. All that matters is Christ, and that he is ours and is in us. And that is life indeed.
- Does your relationship with Christ identify who you really are?
- What impact does this have on your daily life?
– Andrew Young