The newness described in the New Testament is not in relation to time. It is newness that describes something unprecedented, unparalleled, something that is of a different kind in substance. It speaks of that which is new in quality, that has never been seen or heard. It is the definition of the Greek term, “kainos”, the term used to refer to the replacement of the old. There are things now described as old, in view of what is new.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second…In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away – Hebrews 8:7, 13.
There are things found in the Bible that expired at that dividing line we call the cross. We’re now living in post-resurrection realities called the New. Jesus died as the last Adam and on the third day, He was resurrected as the firstborn of the new creation. When God calls something new, it means what came before it is made obsolete.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:1-4
Paul the Apostle received from the Lord Jesus Christ the message he preached and he presented grace under the direction of the Holy Spirit, with the perfect equilibrium. Paul speaks of sin not as a verb, which would imply an action, but as a noun and reveals that our association with sin has been completely demolished. When he asks the question, “…how shall we …live therein?”, referring to sin, he is not referring to what many may consider actions of sin. It is a statement of identity. We no longer abide in sin, we’re not associated with Adam’s fall. We’re not those who have sin imputed against them. It is not charged into our account. This is because when Christ died, He took into His body the sin of the whole world in His death as the consummate man.
Jesus submitted Himself to be crucified on the cross not simply to abolish sin but to abolish death. Many people have referred to sin as nature. They thus speak of the sin nature. However, this is not accurate because for something to possess a nature it has to be created by God. Sin corrupted human nature. What is that sin that corrupted human nature? The Apostle Paul revealed this in Romans 5:12. He explained what entangled the human genealogy through Adam: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.
What is this sin that entered into the world by one man and distorted the image of God in man? Paul explains that it is mortality, liability to death, that made man in an image distorted from that of God – because God can’t die. When Jesus died as the last Adam, death itself was undone. He didn’t simply die for us but as us. His death was therefore not a substitution; it wasn’t Him instead of you but He died as you. It was an inclusion.
When Paul speaks of baptism in the Bible passage above, he is not referring to baptism by immersion into water. The element into which we are baptized as mentioned by Paul in Romans 6:3 is Jesus Christ Himself. We are baptized into Him, immersed into Him. The Greek term “baptizo” speaks of the process of the dyeing of cloth, permanently changing the color of the textile. Baptism thus speaks of a permanent association, where the one being immersed into the other is permanently identified in him. We are immersed into Jesus Christ. We have been identified with Christ’s relationship with death. Our relationship with death is not that of Adam. Sin is not our habitation nor our heredity because we’ve been immersed into Another, made to jointly share in His death so what happened to Him happened to us as well.
We’ve been permanently identified to Christ, baptized into death and made to share His relation with death that just as He was raised by the glory of the Father, even so, to the exact degree, we also should walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). It is important to note that “should” doesn’t appear in the original Greek text of Romans 6:4. Hence, the verse should read, “even so, we also walk in newness of life”. What is new? Life. We have life that is unprecedented, unheard of, never-before-seen, unparalleled, unique, and of a new quality.
This article is extracted from the series, “What is New?” by Dr. Shawn Smith. For the complete message, visit gcmonlinestore.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org