"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation" (Galatians 6:14-15). Let us close by looking more closely at the new creation Paul speaks about. This new creation is the direct result of what God did through the cross of our Lord Jesus, and Paul said this is the only thing that has any meaning. The death of Christ opens the door for us to experience newness of life, which comes by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We become a "new creation" when we experience this union with God.
"Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:16-19). What Paul speaks about is what is on the other side of the cross. When Christ went to His cross, He laid the foundation for this new creation, and when we "go to our cross" (so to speak) we become a new creation. God has designed that we live as a new creation in Christ Jesus, and that is where we will know true fellowship with God in all things.
This new creation is something that never existed before Calvary. It could not exist, because it took Calvary to bring it about. It is a union of man with God, a union of His Spirit with our spirit--whereby our spirit is made alive and connected to the living God. It compares with nothing else known to man. It sets Christianity apart from every other religion. The fact of this union is the basis of the majority of instruction in the New Testament letters. The early church began in this understanding and reality; thus, the teaching that followed assumed this union existed and built upon it.
What does this union, this new creation, mean to us in practical terms? I believe the first thing it means is an assurance that God has brought us near to Him in the Sprit, that we are part of His family--His sons and daughters. The Spirit within us cries "Abba, Father." Perfect love casts out all fear and we know that we are accepted in the Beloved. We can lay our heads down at night and rest in His loving arms. We can rise up each day with confidence, knowing that we are children of God. There is peace in our hearts and joy in our souls. No matter what each day brings, we know that His grace is sufficient, because it is God who dwells within these earthen vessels. Without this assurance, we could not face the demands of life in the way God intended us to.
Secondly, as we face the challenges that come our way, we know we have a resource within that is not of ourselves. We do not look to others, or to our own abilities, but to Jesus and His grace to face every challenge. We are vessels through which God has designed to reveal Himself. He can send us on a mission, and we can go in His authority and grace. When we come face to face with the enemy, we do not fear, for Jesus dwells within us by the Spirit, and "greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world." Faith walks in this confidence and draws from His grace, knowing that the resource is God Himself. It is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Because it is God who dwells within each child of His, and because He is One, we find ourselves one spirit with every other child of God. This is the basis of the body of Christ. We are members of that body because of the work of God, and our responsibility is to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. God has given grace to each member; therefore, I am responsible to minister the grace God has given me, and to receive the grace that comes to me through others.
All of this is to the glory of God, for He is the One who is doing the work. Everything in the kingdom of God is positive. It is God's love that is binding us together. It is His life that overcomes all things. The enemy has been defeated at Calvary, and we now can walk in that victory. This is a glorious salvation. It is not a struggle from defeat to defeat, but a triumph from glory to glory. Why? Because the work is of God and not of us. We are participants by faith--we yield, believe, and obey--but God brings about the results. What glory! What rest! What victory! No wonder Paul gloried in the cross. No wonder he was beside himself, that others might also know this great salvation. No wonder he was adamant in denouncing any other way. The cross, and the power of God that comes from the cross, is the only way. Every other message is false. Let us live in the message of the cross and proclaim the message of the cross. We will find perfect satisfaction, and God will be glorified in all things. Amen!