Happy New Year! It seems appropriate to say a little more on the truth of new creation as the new year begins.
I have suggested that the truth of new creation is more about living from a whole new order (that of the kingdom, which is the life, power, perspective, and values of heaven/the age to come) as opposed to the old order of this present and passing age. I do think that this includes new life in the sense of a change in our identity and even our essential nature as Christians (2 Pet.1:3-4). It is a fulfilling of the promise of the new covenant for a new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-7). But the problem is that we think of this like some kind of organ transplant. And then we have difficulty when we then still act like we did in the old life - did something go wrong with the surgery? It is best rather to think of it as becoming connected to a new source of life - resurrection life, eternal life, the life of the age to come or new creation life - that begins to gradually form new patterns within us.
It is still possible to be drawn back to the pattern of the old order, the world; or to live by the flesh (the old power, pattern and priorities of the self-life lived in independence of God). The old way of life left behind its habit patterns, its distorted thinking and damaged emotions. And so we have to go on a journey of learning to live from a new source and by a new pattern of life. Far from assuming that our old habits are automatically dead and gone, we will often need to acknowledge our broken and damaged pieces and allow the grace of God in this new spiritual life to heal and change us. It's like a river carving out a new course; it takes time and patience, and sometimes painful honesty. But this is far better than denial or trying to pretend-believe (fake it 'til we make it). And every stage of the journey is glory! (2 Cor.3:18).
Part of the new perspective of this new and different kingdom life is this: God uses broken people, he places the glory of this new life in cracked and broken vessels. More on this in the next post.