By Bill Cavender
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in” Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:16-17).
If a person is “in Christ” he is a “new creature” (“creation”). Such a one – male or female, Jew or Gentile, black or white, rich or poor, educated or uneducated – has become a child of God “by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. . . ” (Gal. 3:26-29). When baptized into Jesus Christ, we should know that “our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:3-7). Being baptized into Christ, being cleansed from the guilt of sin with the washing of water by the word and being washed from our sins in His own blood, this “new creation” of God, God’s newborn child, is “in Christ” where are a spiritual blessings granted by the bountiful Father to His saved and redeemed children (Rom. 6:35; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 1:5; 1 Peter 2:1-2; Eph. 1:3-14). All such baptized believers, blood-bought and blood-cleansed children of God, should remember that “ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Eph. 4:21-24, ASV).
Jesus Christ our Savior, the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Isa. 9:6-7), is Lord and Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords (Acts 2:36; 1 Tim. 6:11-16; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). He is the King over His spiritual kingdom which is the church of Christ, every citizen thereof being one who is “born again” to enter into that heavenly kingdom (John 18:33-38; 3:3-8; Matt. 16:18-19; 1 Pet. 1:22-25; Col. 1: 13-14). Christ came in the flesh (Heb. 10:5; Luke 24:39), yet “now henceforth know we him no more.” The apostle would never again look for Christ (the Messiah) as an earthly, fleshly monarch, ruling on an earthly throne in Jerusalem. He had looked for such a Messiah prior to becoming a Christian. Never again would Paul expect to see Jesus Christ as a man in a fleshly body, dying again for the sins of the world. Jesus died “once for all, when he offered up himself,” and “so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation” (Heb. 7:27; 9:23-28, ASV). Christ died one time as a sacrifice for the sins of guilty men and women (Matt. 20:28; Heb. 13; 2 Cor. 5:21), but never again will He do that. Christ now has a “glorious body” (“the body of his glory”-ASV), and, at His coming, the faithful saints of God will bear the image of the heavenly and will have a body fitted for and pertaining to the glorified state of life in heaven (1 Cor. 15:42-49; Phil. 3:20-21). When He comes, we shall see Him as He is if we purify ourselves, even as He is pure (Matt. 5:8; 1 John 3:1-3).
Just as we know Christ no more after the flesh, so do we cease looking at matter of this world from a fleshly, human perspective. We realize that God is no respecter of persons, that all are sinners, and all may be saved only through God’s gospel (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:11; 10:12; 1:16-17; 11:32; 3:23). Although we are to love all human beings and try to bring them to Jesus and salvation, yet we are not to be awed by or overly influenced by any man’s wealth, rank, office, birth, name, achievements or advantages. We are to continually study and learn God’s word and will, and to try to see all matters as God tells us He looks at them. All matters of the flesh and all things pertaining to them are always to be viewed by the Christian from a spiritual and eternal standpoint, not from the fleshly and temporal (2 Cor. 4:16-5:11).
We who have obeyed the gospel of our Lord are to cease to live after the flesh. Paul said, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye five after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:12-13). He further says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:12-14).
All things spiritual, revealed to us and taught by God to us in the New Testament, are new to us. The old, devilish, sinful, carnal things of the flesh and spirit of the unredeemed are dead, passed away. No man should know the true Christian anymore after the flesh, in doctrine and practice, in word and deed, in attitude and spirit. As Christ will never again appear in a fleshly body as a man, as He can never be a human, fleshly monarch reigning on an earthly throne over an earthly kingdom, as He can never again be an offering and sacrifice for sin, so the “new creation” of God, God’s child, can never again live a corrupt and sinful life if he is to be saved and forever in heaven.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 6, pp. 163-164
March 15, 1984