2 Corinthians 5:17 says,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
This verse teaches us that if anyone is “in Christ”, he is a new creation, and the old is gone and the new has come.
Let’s break this verse down in its context by answering some questions.
What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
What is the new creation?
What is the old that has gone?
What is the new that is here?
The context of this verse begins in 2 Corinthians 3.
The writer of 2 Corinthians is Paul.
Many believers in Jesus understand the word “worship” as a church service.
Many churches call their service a “worship service.”
Their services consist of several different elements by which they worship God.
These elements may include…
...“praise and worship” - worshiping God by singing songs,
“tithing” - worshiping God by giving 10% of their income,
“serving” - worshiping God by joining a ministry team,
“praying” - worshiping God by having a time of prayer,
“confessing” - admitting their sins to God and acknowledging their need for forgiveness,
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those workers of evil, those mutilators of the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.”
So often when people comment on the meaning of a verse, or apply a verse to their lives, they do so without first determining the author’s original meaning of the verse.
The writer of Hebrews encourages his Jewish audience to “hold on to grace” (Hebrews 12:28), meaning to take possession of the new covenant of grace by letting go of the old covenant of law.
The reason he encourages them to do so is because they were at a crossroad of faith.
Would they seek to achieve God’s acceptance, forgiveness, holiness (pure before God), and righteousness (clean before God) by following (holding on to) the rules, rituals, and regulations of the old covenant of law?
Or would they receive, through faith in Jesus, God’s acceptance, forgiveness, holiness, and righteousness freely provided for them in the new covenant of grace?
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says:
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames
Hebrews 6:1 says that if we are to mature in our faith, we must leave behind repentance.
This is in conflict with much of what is taught today by many Bible teachers.
Many believers are taught they need to daily focus on repentance, meaning confessing of sin so they can be forgiven by God, remain holy before God, and so they will not be "out of fellowship with God".
By repentance, they are taught they need to turn from a certain sin and not commit that sin again.
This constant focus on sin keeps believers immature and in bondage to sin because they continually focus on sin and live in fear of being unholy before God and out of fellowship with God.
Several of the common verses pastors use to convince people they can lose their salvation are found in Hebrews 6:4-6.
These verses say,
“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
Hebrews 12:1 says,
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles."
Hebrews 11 contains a list of Jewish people from the Old Testament who lived by faith.
They are the great cloud of witnesses that “we” (the Jewish-Hebrew people) were surrounded by, serving as an example to them of those who lived by faith.
The reason Hebrews 11 exists, the chapter on faith, was to prove to the Jewish people that living by faith was not a foreign way of life for Jewish people.
An often quoted verse from the Bible is "We walk by faith, not by sight."
This verse is found in 2 Corinthians 5:7.
It is commonly quoted when people are going through difficult times and are suffering as a result.
In these difficulties, they use this verse to declare their dependence upon God, even though they may see problems or be suffering in pain.
By quoting this verse, they are demonstrating their trust in the goodness of God, even though they are in the worst of situations.
Trusting God in the difficulties of life is biblical when we can’t escape the pain or find a solution to the problem.
The writer of the book of Hebrews writes about insulting the Spirit of grace.
Hebrews 10:29 says:
"How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?"
What does it mean to insult the Spirit of grace?
Who insults the Spirit of grace?
To find the answers to these questions, we must understand the book of Hebrews.