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So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I know a change will occur when you give your life to Jesus. Is it gradually or immediately and total?

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  • Possibly related: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/29487/… – Ruminator Apr 5 '19 at 12:59
  • I agree that is question appears to be a repeat of hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/29487/… Therefore, I suggest we close this question unless there is something else to be addressed here. – user25930 Apr 5 '19 at 20:36
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    Possible duplicate of In 2 Corinthians 5:17 what has come and what has passed away? – user25930 Apr 5 '19 at 20:38
  • The spirit of man is new(hence born again of the Spirit); the soul (mind, will and emotions) are being restored, regenerated and renewed; and the body will in the new creation be replaced – Nihil Sine Deo Oct 25 '20 at 4:48
  • @Mathias Aziagba If an amateur fighter becomes a professional boxer, he is henceforth an professional, but this means that he has a perspective and a new obligation of growth in the chosen career, for there is so many things to learn during professional competitions, so many rivals to overcome, so many new punches and combinations to be learned. If this is so in a physical realm of martial arts, how much more and incredibly more versatilish it is if one choses a life in Christ and becoming new creation in and through Him. Process, of course! How otherwise! – Levan Gigineishvili Oct 26 '20 at 18:24
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There are two aspects to this question: inward and outward.

When one is born again, inwardly his human spirit is made alive by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This inward change is immediate in a real conversion.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

For some, they also experience an immediate outward change in some behaviors. E.g., some drug addicts are instantly delivered from addiction. For everyone, there is a slow process of sanctification.

Philippians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

An inward change occurs immediately, possibly followed by some immediate changes in behaviors, then followed by a slow process of sanctification.

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It seems as it is a well-posed question, yet I will proceed with my answer.

The “new creation” is a person who is born again through the conversion and regeneration- one occurrence. The conversion is of repentance and faith - the sinner’s response to God’s offer of salvation, and the regeneration - born again, born from above, and born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) - is God by His mysterious ways transforming (Titus 3:5) the individual when accepts Christ, from a sinner to righteous, an enemy of God to His children, and spiritually disconnected (dead) to spiritually reconnected (alive). The relevant Greek verbs describing believers are in aorist or perfect tense, e.g. John 1: 12-13; Ephesians. 2:5; 2 Corinthians. 5:17; 1 Peter 1:3. Also, the new creation refers to a new state and status of the born anew individual and is a gift of God the born-again believers received by grace through the faith in Christ, and therefore, the new creation itself is NOT a process but an instantaneous, not incomplete but complete.

The Scripture says, “new creation” is the one has died, has been set free from the sin, and also says to must consider dead to sin and alive (Romans 6:2,7, 11). It signifies that though the “new creation” has been set free from the bondage of the sin (the slavery to sin), and the sin has no dominion over (Romans 6:14), but the sin tendency, the old nature still lingers on constantly dragging into doing the unwanted evil (Romans 7:19, 21). It is the ongoing spiritual reality that the new creation has to deal with by resisting the devil (James 4:7) and renewing the mind in the spirit (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2). The new creation has to live by the Word of God and being led by the Holy Spirit reckoning to be dead to the sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:11) until breathes the last here on earth.

In sum:

The new creation is complete because the old things have passed away, all things have become new, and besides, above all, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Also, it is a process because of the reckoning to be dead to sin and walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5: 16- 26) with full armors of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

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For me, being born again was an instantaneous event. I mourned for days about my sin an separation from God. One night I surrendered to Him (Christ) and could not wait to go forward at church the next day. My weeping and mourning turned into tears of joy and thanksgiving. My desire to pray and read scripture was great. I felt no condemnation anymore. I felt clean and the heavy burden was lifted. This was an instantaneous experience. I did not force it. God just did it. All I did was mourn and hunger for Him. He did the work. I came to the point that nothing else mattered. I was afraid of going to hell and knew that I may never have this opportunity again. He created in me the awareness of my lost condition, a yearning to be saved, then the immediate regeneration at a time He chose. I simply was the beneficiary and I felt clean and hungered to thank Him and read his word without conviction.

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    Welcome and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the Tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. – agarza Feb 27 at 14:12
  • Relating your own experience of how this text was worked out in your life, Tom, is valid, and would contribute to an answer on this topic. However, in the Hermeneutics section analysis of the text is key, as is comparing it with other, related texts, with supplementary information (like your own experience) provided as back-up. I hope this suggestion is helpful. – Anne Mar 5 at 17:28
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It is a process, of course. For, in fact, what is the meaning of "being a new creation"? Does not it mean that God's grace starts to work in us (Col 1:29) (although it is a tautology, for God's grace is God's operation/energy)? Does not it mean that this working of God's grace has a teleology nothing short of making us deified, in a striving of becoming 'as perfect as our heavenly Father' (Matthew 5:48), and since Jesus is also God Incarnate, is not this striving towards being as perfect as the Father identical to the striving of being as perfect as Christ (Ephesians 4:13), for the Father and the Son share equal divinity and dignity, for which reason equal honor befits to Both (John 5:23)? Insofar as those questions are rhetorical and have implied positive answer, the "new creation" is, then, a process towards our perfection in Christ, through His action in us.

Thus, there is a graduality of growth in Christ implied in being a new creation. One can, however, say that the very dynamic presence of Christ in us is the sign that we already are His new creation. In this sense, yes, we are, but again, unless we co-work with divine operation/grace in us, the grace will remain fruitless in us and our punishment will be even greater than that of those who had never been given such a possibility of following the path of divine perfection (cf. Luke 12:47). If I become a pro-footballer, it means that I have all possibilities to rise to stardom; but I am not automatically a star.

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Is the “new creation” immediately completed or a gradual change?

While there is a traditional belief that one is 'born again' at baptism, there are several problems with this as scripture shows. I will outline another way to view being 'born again', but first as it impacts on the Q.

We are saved by our acceptance of Jesus' payment for our sin and removal of the death penalty and are now seen by the Father as righteous through His glorious son and his righteousness applied to us in grace.

Through the living Christ we may join the new creation - 'that person is part of the new creation' - which has been going on since Jesus ushered it in as he was raised from the dead.

This process, began 2000 yrs ago, is not yet finished. We are not yet finished.

When God created man in His image, it is not possible for this to be true in reality until it is accomplished in Christ - and then, only at our change to immortality at his return. This too is work in progress.

1 Cor 15:49 ‘Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly’

We can think of God creating all things by His word - this does not need to imply that He is finished creating. He is Creator - and continues to create. In us, He is creating holy righteous character - only in and through His son Jesus. Only when this process is finished, are we made in His image.

1 Pet 3:19 For Christ also suffered once for sins ... that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

We are given the spirit as a down-payment, or as the NASB puts it, 'pledge'. This is our entry into the new life with God's gift of His spirit at baptism. We are not yet born again, or 'born from above' until we are no longer flesh and blood - just as it was for Jesus.

2 Cor 1:21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Notice two things here - we are 'established', and 'sealed', set apart, God is actively working in us in a way that He wasn't before. We are His, but for us it is still by faith, faith and a hope not yet realised.

Rom 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Romans 8:23 Not only that, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

2 Corinthians 5:5 And God has prepared us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a pledge of what is to come.

Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

We are set aside to be inheritors with Christ - we have not yet taken possession of the glory that awaits us at the end of this age when we are 'born from above' by God, of the spirit.

At this stage we are begotten - just as one is conceived by a man and woman, but not yet born. The process is underway and God is in charge of bringing us to fruition - by nothing less than His sovereign will.

Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren Rom 8:29 When did he become so? At his resurrection to life in the spirit.

Some other verses that show when we are 'born from above'.

John 3:3 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again (or from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God.

1 Cor 15:50 flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. If we are still flesh and blood - we have not yet (fully) entered.

John 3:5 no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

So the new creation has begun - it began before Adam, before the garden, but is realised in Christ, and brought to fruition at our change. In the meantime, we grow, mature, overcome, live faithful lives in hope and rest knowing we are in good hands until finally delivered into the kingdom.

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  • “We are not yet born again, or 'born from above' until we are no longer flesh and blood - just as it was for Jesus.“ that is not what the Bible says (Jesus was not born again, He didn’t need to be). “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” ‭‭J3:6‬ the born again refers to receiving a new spirit as per the prophecies of old eg; “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.” ‭‭Eze36:26‬ applies only to new spirit of the born again “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin” ‭‭1J5:18‬ – Nihil Sine Deo Oct 25 '20 at 12:11
  • @NihilSineDeo Your first sentence is incorrect. Being born again means being "born from above." Being born again happens while we are still here on earth "BEFORE" we get to heaven. This is why Jesus said at John 3:3b to Nicodemus, "unless you are born again you CANNOT enter the kingdom of God." Your also taking 1 John 5:18 out of context. Christians that are born again still sin. 1 John 3:9, "No one who is born of God PRACTICES sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." This is also why 1 John 2:1 says we have an ADVOCATE if we do sin, Jesus Christ. – Mr. Bond Oct 25 '20 at 19:01
  • My first sentence @Mr.Bond was a quote from the answer I’m commenting on. Secondly, Christian might sin in the flesh and their soul mind/heart/will but their spirits CANNOT sin 1J5:18 as J3:6 says spirit is born of spirit – Nihil Sine Deo Oct 25 '20 at 19:03
  • @user48152, "When God created man in His image, it is not possible for this to be true in reality until it is accomplished in Christ - and then, only at our change to immortality at his return. ....Only when this process is finished, are we made in His image." is problematic, contrary to, and also breaking the Scripture! When God FINISHED the creation, He said, it was VERY GOOD -(Gen. 1:31). Bad answer, and down vote for me. – Sam Oct 26 '20 at 15:10
  • @Sam ty! Do you think we were very good when God drowned all but 8? They will have their opportunity in Christ to be as God intended- which is why the Messiah was slain from the foundation of the world. Rev 13:8 – user48152 Oct 26 '20 at 20:06

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