2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Therefore if any man be in Christ.—To be in Christ, in St. Paul’s language, is for a man to be united with him by faith and by baptism (Romans 6:3-4), to claim personally what had been secured to him as a member of the race for whom Christ died. In such a case the man is born again (Titus 3:5)—there is a new creation; the man, as the result of that work, is a new creature. The old things of his life, Jewish expectations of a Jewish kingdom, chiliastic dreams, heathen philosophies, lower aims, earthly standards—these things, in idea at least, passed away from him at the time when he was united with Christ. We may trace an echo of words of Isaiah’s that may have floated in the Apostle’s memory: “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold I make new things” (Isaiah 43:18-19). The words in italics are in the LXX. the same as those which St. Paul uses here.

2 Corinthians

AN IMPOSSIBILITY MADE POSSIBLE

Jeremiah 13:23
. - 2 Corinthians 5:17. - Revelation 21:5.

Put these three texts together. The first is a despairing question to which experience gives only too sad and decisive a negative answer. It is the answer of many people who tell us that character must be eternal, and of many a baffled man who says, ‘It is of no use-I have tried and can do nothing.’ The second text is the grand Christian answer, full of confidence. It was spoken by one who had no superficial estimate of the evil, but who had known in himself the power of Christ to revolutionise a life, and make a man love all he had hated, and hate all he had loved, and fling away all he had treasured. The last text predicts the completion of the renovating process lying far ahead, but as certain as sunrise.

I. The unchangeableness of character, especially of faults.

We note the picturesque rhetorical question here. They were occasionally accustomed to see the dark-skinned, Ethiopian, whether we suppose that these were true from Southern Egypt or dark Arabs, and now and then leopards came up from the thickets on the Jordan, or from the hills of the southern wilderness about the Dead Sea. The black hue of the man, the dark spots that starred the skin of the fierce beast, are fitting emblems of the evil that dyes and speckles the soul. Whether it wraps the whole character in black, or whether it only spots it here and there with tawny yellow, it is ineradicable; and a man can no more change his character once formed than a can cast his skin, or a leopard whiten out the spots on his hide.

Now we do not need to assert that a man has no power of self-improvement or reformation. The exhortations of the prophet to repentance and to cleansing imply that he has. If he has not, then it is no blame to him that he does not mend. Experience shows that we have a very considerable power of such a kind. It is a pity that some Christian teachers speak in exaggerated terms about the impossibility of such self-improvement.

But it is very difficult.

Note the great antagonist as set forth here-Habit, that solemn and mystical power. We do not know all the ways in which it operates, but one chief way is through physical cravings set up. It is strange how much easier a second time is than a first, especially in regard to evil acts. The hedge once broken down, it is very easy to get through it again. If one drop of water has percolated through the dyke, there will be a roaring torrent soon. There is all the difference between once and never; there is small difference between once and twice. By habit we come to do things mechanically and without effort, and we all like that. One solitary footfall across the snow soon becomes a beaten way. As in the banyan-tree, each branch becomes a root. All life is held together by cords of custom which enable us to reserve conscious effort and intelligence for greater moments. Habit tends to weigh upon us with a pressure ‘heavy as frost, and deep almost as life.’ But also it is the ally of good.

The change to good is further made difficult because liking too often goes with evil, and good is only won by effort. It is a proof of man’s corruption that if left alone, evil in some form or other springs spontaneously, and that the opposite good is hard to win. Uncultivated soil bears thistles and weeds. Anything can roll downhill. It is always the least trouble to go on as we have been going.

Further, the change is made difficult because custom blinds judgment and conscience. People accustomed to a vitiated atmosphere are not aware of its foulness.

How long it takes a nation, for instance, to awake to consciousness of some national crime, even when the nation is ‘Christian’! And how men get perfectly sophisticated as to their own sins, and have all manner of euphemisms for them!

Further, how hard it is to put energy into a will that has been enfeebled by long compliance. Like prisoners brought out of the Bastille.

So if we put all these reasons together, no wonder that such reformation is rare.

I do not dwell on the point that it must necessarily be confined within very narrow limits. I appeal to experience. You have tried to cure some trivial habit. You know what a task that has been-how often you thought that you had conquered, and then found that all had to be done over again. How much more is this the case in this greater work! Often the efforts to break off evil habits have the same effect as the struggles of cattle mired in a bog, who sink the deeper for plunging. The sad cry of many a foiled wrestler with his own evil is, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ We do not wish to exaggerate, but simply to put it that experience shows that for men in general, custom and inclination and indolence and the lack of adequate motive weigh so heavily that a thorough abandonment of evil, much more a hearty practice of good, are not to be looked for when once a character has been formed. So you young people, take care. And all of us listen to-

II. The great hope for individual renewal.

The second text sets forth a possibility of entire individual renewal, and does so by a strong metaphor.

‘If any man be in Christ he is a new creature,’ or as the words might be rendered, ‘there is a new creation,’ and not only is he renewed, but all things are become new. He is a new Adam in a new world.

Now {a} let us beware of exaggeration about this matter. There are often things said about the effects of conversion which are very far in advance of reality, and give a handle to caricature. The great law of continuity runs on through the change of conversion. Take a man who has been the slave of some sin. The evil will not cease to tempt, nor will the effects of the past on character be annihilated. ‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,’ remains true. In many ways there will be permanent consequences. There will remain the scars of old wounds; old sores will be ready to burst forth afresh. The great outlines of character do remain.

{b} What is the condition of renewal?

‘If any man be in Christ’-how distinctly that implies something more than human in Paul’s conception of Christ. It implies personal union with Him, so that He is the very element or atmosphere in which we live. And that union is brought about by faith in Him.

{c} How does such a state of union with Christ make a man over again?

It gives a new aim and centre for our lives. Then we live not unto ourselves; then everything is different and looks so, for the centre is shifted. That union introduces a constant reference to Him and contemplation of His death for us, it leads to self-abnegation.

It puts all life under the influence of a new love. ‘The love of Christ constraineth.’ As is a man’s love, so is his life. The mightiest devolution is to excite a new love, by which old loves and tastes are expelled. ‘A new affection’ has ‘expulsive power,’ as the new sap rising in the springtime pushes off the lingering withered leaves. So union with Him meets the difficulty arising from inclination still hankering after evil. It lifts life into a higher level where the noxious creatures that were proper to the swamps cannot live. The new love gives a new and mighty motive for obedience.

That union breaks the terrible chain that binds us to the past. ‘All died.’ The past is broken as much as if we were dead. It is broken by the great act of forgiveness. Sin holds men by making them feel as if what has been must be-an awful entail of evil. In Christ we die to former self.

That union brings a new divine power to work in us. ‘I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’

It sets us in a new world which yet is the old. All things are changed if we are changed. They are the same old things, but seen in a new light, used for new purposes, disclosing new relations and powers. Earth becomes a school and discipline for heaven. The world is different to a blind man when cured, or to a deaf one,-there are new sights for the one, new sounds for the other.

All this is true in the measure in which we live in union with Christ.

So no man need despair, nor think, ‘I cannot mend now.’ You may have tried and been defeated a thousand times. But still victory is possible, not without effort and sore conflict, but still possible. There is hope for all, and hope for ME.

III. The completion in a perfectly renewed creation.

The renovation here is only partial. Its very incompleteness is prophetic. If there be this new life in us, it obviously has not reached its fulness here, and it is obviously not manifested here for all that even here it is.

It is like some exotic that does not show its true beauty in our greenhouses. The life of a Christian on earth is a prophecy by both its greatness and its smallness, by both its glory and its shame, by both its brightness and its spots. It cannot be that there is always to be this disproportion between aspiration and performance, between willing and doing. Here the most perfect career is like a half-lighted street, with long gaps between the lamps.

The surroundings here are uncongenial to the new creatures. ‘Foxes have holes’-all creatures are fitted for their environment; only man, and eminently renewed man, wanders as a pilgrim, not in his home. The present frame of things is for discipline. The schooling over, we burn the rod. So we look for an external order in full correspondence with the new nature.

And Christ throned ‘makes all things new.’ How far the old is renewed we cannot tell, and we need not ask. Enough that there shall be a universe in perfect harmony with the completely renewed nature, that we shall find a home where all things will serve and help and gladden and further us, where the outward will no more distract and clog the spirit.

Brethren, let that mighty love constrain you; and look to Christ to renew you. Whatever your old self may have been, you may bury it deep in His grave, and rise with Him to newness of life. Then you may walk in this old world, new creatures in Christ Jesus, looking for the blessed hope of entire renewal into the perfect likeness of Him, the perfect man, in a perfect world, where all old sorrows and sins have passed away and He has made all things new. Through eternity, new joys, new knowledge, new progress, new likeness, new service will be ours- and not one leaf shall ever wither in the amaranthine crown, nor ‘the cup of blessing’ ever become empty or flat and stale. Eternity will be but a continual renewal and a progressive increase of ever fresh and ever familiar treasures. The new and the old will be one.

Begin with trusting to Him to help you to change a deeper blackness than that of the Ethiopian’s skin, and to erase firier spots than stain the tawny leopard’s hide, and He will make you a new man, and set you in His own time in a ‘new heaven and earth, where dwelleth righteousness.’2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore — Since all Christ’s true disciples do thus live to him, and not to themselves, and only know him in a spiritual manner; if any man be in Christ — By living faith and the indwelling of his Spirit; if any man have an interest in and union with him; he is a new creature Καινη κτισις, there is a new creation, in the soul of that man. His understanding is enlightened, his judgment corrected, and he has new ideas and conceptions of things. His conscience is informed, awakened, and purged from guilt by the blood of Jesus, Hebrews 9:14. His will is subjected to the will of God, his affections drawn from earth to heaven, and his dispositions, words, and actions, his cares, labours, and pursuits, are all changed. Old things are passed away — All old principles and practices; behold — The present, visible, undeniable change! all things are become new — He has new life, namely, a spiritual and divine life; new spiritual senses, new faculties, new desires and designs, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, passions and appetites. His whole tenor of action and conversation is new, and he lives as it were in a new world. God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, angels, men, sinners, saints, and the whole creation — heaven, earth, and all therein, appear in a new light, and stand related to him in a new manner, since he was created anew in Christ Jesus.5:16-21 The renewed man acts upon new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company. The believer is created anew; his heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given him. He is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Though the same as a man, he is changed in his character and conduct. These words must and do mean more than an outward reformation. The man who formerly saw no beauty in the Saviour that he should desire him, now loves him above all things. The heart of the unregenerate is filled with enmity against God, and God is justly offended with him. Yet there may be reconciliation. Our offended God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. By the inspiration of God, the Scriptures were written, which are the word of reconciliation; showing that peace has been made by the cross, and how we may be interested therein. Though God cannot lose by the quarrel, nor gain by the peace, yet he beseeches sinners to lay aside their enmity, and accept the salvation he offers. Christ knew no sin. He was made Sin; not a sinner, but Sin, a Sin-offering, a Sacrifice for sin. The end and design of all this was, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, might be justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Can any lose, labour, or suffer too much for Him, who gave his beloved Son to be the Sacrifice for their sins, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him?Therefore if any man be in Christ - The phrase to "be in Christ," evidently means to be united to Christ by faith; or to be in him as the branch is in the vine - that is, so united to the vine, or so in it, as to derive all its nourishment and support from it, and to be sustained entirely by it. John 15:2, "every branch in me." John 15:4, "abide in me, and I in you." "The branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me." See also John 15:5-7, see the note on John 15:2. To be "in Christ" denotes a more tender and close union; and implies that all our support is from him. All our strength is derived from him; and denotes further that we shall partake of his fullness, and share in his felicity and glory, as the branch partakes of the strength and vigor of the parent vine. The word "therefore" (Ὥστε Hōste) here implies that the reason why Paul infers that anyone is a new creature who is in Christ is that which is stated in the previous verse; to wit, the change of views in regard to the Redeemer to which he there refers, and which was so great as to constitute a change like a new creation. The affirmation here is universal, "if any man be in Christ;" that is, all who become true Christians - undergo such a change in their views and feelings as to make it proper to say of them that they are new creatures. No matter what they have been before, whether moral or immoral; whether infidels or speculative believers; whether amiable, or debased, sensual and polluted yet if they become Christians they all experience such a change as to make it proper to say they are a new creation.

A new creature - Margin, "Let him be." This is one of the instances in which the margin has given a less correct translation than is in the text. The idea evidently is, not that he ought to be a new creature, but that he is in fact; not that he ought to live as becomes a new creature - which is true enough - but that he will in fact live in that way, and manifest the characteristics of the new creation. The phrase "a new creature" καινὴ κτίσις kainē ktisis) occurs also in Galatians 6:15. The word rendered "creature" (κτίσις ktisis) means properly in the New Testament, creation. It denotes:

(1) The act of creating Romans 1:20;

(2) A created thing, a creature Romans 1:25; and refers:

(a) To the universe, or creation in general; Mark 10:6; Mark 13:9-11; 1 Peter 3:4.

(b) To man, mankind; Mark 16:15; Colossians 1:23.

Here it means a new creation in a moral sense, and the phrase new creature is equivalent to the expression in Ephesians 4:24, "The new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." It means, evidently, that there is a change produced in the renewed heart of man that is equivalent to the act of creation, and that bears a strong resemblance to it - a change, so to speak, as if the man was made over again, and had become new. The mode or manner in which it is done is not described, nor should the words be pressed to the quick, as if the process were the same in both cases - for the words are here evidently figurative. But the phrase implies evidently the following things:

(1) That there is an exertion of divine power in the conversion of the sinner as really as in the act of creating the world out of nothing, and that this is as indispensable in the one case as in the other.

(2) that a change is produced so great as to make it proper to say that he is a new man. He has new views, new motives, new principles, new objects and plans of life. He seeks new purposes, and he lives for new ends.

If a drunkard becomes reformed, there is no impropriety in saying that he is a new man. If a man who was licentious becomes pure, there is no impropriety in saying that he is not the same man that he was before. Such expressions are common in all languages, and they are as proper as they are common. There is such a change as to make the language proper. And so in the conversion of a sinner. There is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, and so abiding, that it is proper to say, here is a new creation of God - a work of the divine power as decided and as glorious as when God created all things out of nothing. There is no other moral change that takes place on earth so deep, and radical, and thorough as the change at conversion. And there is no other where there is so much propriety in ascribing it to the mighty power of God.

Old things are passed away - The old views in regard to the Messiah, and in regard to people in general, 2 Corinthians 5:16. But Paul also gives this a general form of expression, and says that old things in general have passed away - referring to everything. It was true of all who were converted that old things had passed away. And it may include the following things:

(1) In regard to the Jews - that their former prejudices against Christianity, their natural pride, and spirit of seducing others; their attachment to their rites and ceremonies, and dependence on them for salvation had all passed away. They now renounced that independence, relied on the merits of the Saviour, and embraced all as brethren who were of the family of Christ.

(2) in regard to the Gentiles - their attachment to idols, their love of sin and degradation, their dependence on their own works, had passed away, and they had renounced all these things, and had come to mingle their hopes with those of the converted Jews, and with all who were the friends of the Redeemer.

(3) in regard to all, it is also true that old things pass away. Their former prejudices, opinions, habits, attachments pass away. Their supreme love of self passes away. Their love of sins passes away. Their love of the world passes away. Their supreme attachment to their earthly friends rather than God passes away. Their love of sin, their sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, ambition, passes away. There is a deep and radical change on all these subjects - a change which commences at the new birth; which is carried on by progressive sanctification; and which is consummated at death and in heaven.

continued...

17. Therefore—connected with the words in 2Co 5:16, "We know Christ no more after the flesh." As Christ has entered on His new heavenly life by His resurrection and ascension, so all who are "in Christ" (that is, united to Him by faith as the branch is In the vine) are new creatures (Ro 6:9-11). "New" in the Greek implies a new nature quite different from anything previously existing, not merely recent, which is expressed by a different Greek word (Ga 6:15).

creature—literally, "creation," and so the creature resulting from the creation (compare Joh 3:3, 5; Eph 2:10; 4:23; Col 3:10, 11). As we are "in Christ," so "God was in Christ" (2Co 5:19): hence He is Mediator between God and us.

old things—selfish, carnal views (compare 2Co 5:16) of ourselves, of other men, and of Christ.

passed away—spontaneously, like the snow of early spring [Bengel] before the advancing sun.

behold—implying an allusion to Isa 43:19; 65:17.

If any man be in Christ, is as much as, if any man be implanted or ingrafted into Christ, by faith united to him,

he is a new creature; ( the Greek is, a new creation); a phrase which argueth the greatest change imaginable, and such a one as can be wrought in the soul by no other power than the power of God. We have the same expression, Galatians 6:15. The ellipsis of the verb makes some translate it: Let him be a new creature, supplying estw for esti. But the next words show us, that the apostle is speaking of what is past:

Old things are passed away, old affections, passions, notions, &c. He hath the same soul, but new qualities, new apprehensions in his understanding, new inclinations in his will and affections, new thoughts, counsels, and designs. The predicate showeth, that the term, be in Christ, cannot be understood of those that are only in the church, and turned from paganism to the Christian faith; for there are many such in the world, in whom there is no new creation, and who have in them nothing of this new creature. Therefore if any man be in Christ,.... There's a secret being in Christ from everlasting; so all that are loved by him, espoused unto him, chosen and preserved in him, to whom he was a covenant head, surety, and representative, are in him, united to him, and one with him; not in such sense as the Father is in him, and the human nature is in him, but as husband and wife, and head and members are one: and there is an open being in Christ at conversion, when a man believes in Christ, and gives up himself to him; faith does not put a man into Christ, but makes him appear to be in him: and such an one "is a new creature"; or, as some read it, "let him be a new creature": who understand being in Christ to be by profession, and the sense this, whoever is in the kingdom or church of Christ, who professes himself to be a Christian, ought to be a new creature: the Arabic version reads it, "he that is in the faith of Christ is a new creature". All such who are secretly in Christ from everlasting, though as yet some of them may not be new creatures, yet they shall be sooner or later; and those who are openly in him, or are converted persons, are actually so; they are a new "creation", as the words may be rendered: , "a new creation", is a phrase often used by the Jewish (h) doctors, and is applied by the apostle to converted persons; and designs not an outward reformation of life and manners, but an inward principle of grace, which is a creature, a creation work, and so not man's, but God's; and in which man is purely passive, as he was in his first creation; and this is a new creature, or a new man, in opposition to, and distinction from the old man, the corruption of nature; and because it is something anew implanted in the soul, which never was there before; it is not a working upon, and an improvement of the old principles of nature, but an implantation of new principles of grace and holiness; here is a new heart, and a new spirit, and in them new light and life, new affections and desires, new delights and joys; here are new eyes to see with, new ears to hear with, new feet to walk, and new hands to work and act with:

old things are passed away: the old course of living, the old way of serving God, whether among Jews or Gentiles; the old legal righteousness, old companions and acquaintance are dropped; and all external things, as riches, honours, learning, knowledge, former sentiments of religion, are relinquished:

behold, all things are become new; there is a new course of life, both of faith and holiness; a new way of serving God through Christ by the Spirit, and from principles of grace; a new, another, and better righteousness is received and embraced; new companions are sought after, and delighted in; new riches, honours, glory, a new Jerusalem, yea, new heavens, and a new earth, are expected by new creatures: or the sense of the whole may be this, if any man is entered into the kingdom of God, into the Gospel dispensation, into a Gospel church state, which seems to be the sense of the phrase "in Christ", in Galatians 3:28 he is become a new creature, or is got into a new creation, as it were into a new world, whether he be a Jew or a Gentile; for with respect to the former state of either, "old things are passed away"; if a Jew, the whole Mosaic economy is abolished; the former covenant is waxen old, and vanished away; the old ordinances of circumcision and the passover are no more; the daily sacrifice is ceased, and all the other sacrifices are at an end, Christ, the great sacrifice, being offered up; the priesthood of Aaron is antiquated, there is a change of it, and of the whole law; the observance of holy, days, new moons and sabbaths, is over; the whole ceremonial law is at end; all the shadows of it are fled and gone, the things they were shadows of being come by Christ, the sum and substance of them; and there is no more a serving God in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the Spirit: and if a Gentile, all the former idols he worshipped he turns from, and his language is, "what have I to do any more with idols? or what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" all former sacrifices, superstitious rites and ceremonies, with which he worshipped them, are relinquished by him; with all other Heathenish customs, rules, and methods of conduct he had been used to: "behold, all things are become new"; to the one, and to the other; the Gospel dispensation is a new state of things; a new form of church state is erected, not national, as among the Jews, but congregational, consisting of persons gathered out of the world, and anew embodied together; new ordinances are appointed, which were never in use before, as baptism and the Lord's supper; a new and living way is opened by the blood of Christ into the holiest of all, not by the means of slain beasts, as among the Jews, nor by petty deities as with the Gentiles; a new commandment of love is enjoined all the followers of the Lamb; and another name is given them, a new name, which the mouth of the Lord their God has named, not of Jews nor Gentiles, but of Christians; and new songs are put into their mouths, even praise to God: in short, the Gospel church state seems to be, as it were, a new creation, and perhaps is meant by the new heavens and new earth, Isaiah 65:15 as well as those who are the proper members of it, are new creatures in the sense before given.

(h) T. Hieros. Roshhashana, fol. 59. 3. Vajikra Rabba, fol. 170. 4. Bemidbar Rabba, fol, 202. 3. Cosri, fol. 62. 2. & R. Levi ben Gersom in Exod, fol. 108. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 121. 2.

{11} Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a {o} new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

(11) An exhortation for every man who is renewed with the Spirit of Christ to meditate on heavenly things, and not earthly.

(o) As a thing made new by God, for though a man is not newly created when God gives him the spirit of regeneration, but only his qualities are changed, yet nonetheless it pleased the Holy Spirit to speak so, to teach us that we must attribute all things to the glory of God. Not that we are as rocks or stones, but because God creates in us both the will to will well, and the power to do well.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 5:17. Inference from 2 Corinthians 5:16. If, namely, the state of matters is such as is stated in 2 Corinthians 5:16, that now we no longer know any one as respects his human appearance, and even a knowledge of Christ of that nature, once cherished, no longer exists with us, it follows that the adherents of Christ, who are raised above such a knowledge of Christ after a mere sensuous standard, are quite other than they were before; the Christian is a new creature, to whom the standard κατὰ σάρκα is no longer suitable. The apostle might have continued with γάρ instead of ὥστε; in which case he would have assigned as ground of the changed knowledge the changed quality of the objects of knowledge. He might also, with just as much logical accuracy, infer, from the fact of the knowledge being no longer κατὰ σάρκα, that the objects of knowledge could no longer be the old ones, to which the old way of knowing them would still be applicable, but that they must be found in a quality wholly new. He argues not ex causa, but ad causam. The former he would have done with γάρ, the latter he does with ὥστε (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection).

ἐν Χριστῷ] a Christian; for through faith Christ is the element in which we live and mov.

καινὴ κτίσις] for the pre-Christian condition, spiritual and moral, is abolished and done away by God through the union of man with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:21; Colossians 3:9-10; Romans 6:6), and the spiritual nature and life of the believer are constituted quite anew (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15), so that Christ Himself lives in him (Galatians 2:20) through His Spirit (Romans 8:9 f.). See on Galatians 6:15. The form of the expression (its idea is not different from the παλιγγενεσία, Titus 3:5; John 3:3; Jam 1:18) is Rabbinical; for the Rabbins also regarded the man converted to Judaism as בריה חדשה. See Schoettgen, Hor. I. pp. 328, 704 f., and Wetstei.

τὰ ἀρχαῖα παρῆλθεν κ.τ.λ.] Epexegesis of καινὴ κτίσις; the old, the pre-Christian nature and life, the pre-Christian spiritual constitution of man, is passed away; behold the whole—the whole state of man’s personal life—has become new.[236] There is too slight a resemblance for us to assume for certain a reminiscence of Isaiah 43:18 f., or Isaiah 65:17; as even Chrysostom and his followers give no hint of such an echo. By the ἰδού of vivid realization, and introduced without connecting particle (“demonstrativum rei presentis,” Bengel; comp. 2 Corinthians 6:9), as well as by the emphatically prefixed γέγονε (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:11), a certain element of triumph is brought into the representation.

The division, according to which the protasis is made to go on to κτίσις (Vulgate: “si qua ergo in Christo nova creatura;” or τίς is taken as masculine: “si quis ergo mecum est in Christo regeneratus,” Cornelius a Lapide), has against it the fact, that in that case the apodosis would contain nothing else than was in the protasis; besides, the prefixing of ἐν Χ. would not be adequately accounted for.

[236] Not only in reference to sin is the old passed away and everything become new (Theodoret: τὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἀπεκδυσάμεθα γῆρας), but also—certainly, however, in consequence of the reconciliation appropriated in faith—in relation to the knowledge and consciousness of salvation, as well as to the whole tendency of disposition and will. Chrysostom and Theophylact unsuitably mix up objective Judaism as also included, and in doing so the latter arbitrarily specializes τὰ πάντα: ἀντὶ τοῦ νόμου εὐαγγέλιον· ἀντὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ οὐρανός· ἀντὶ ναοῦ τὸ ἐσώτερον τοῦ καταπετάσματος ἐν ᾧ ἡ τρίας· ἀντὶ περιτομῆς βάπτισμα κ.τ.λ.2 Corinthians 5:17-19. IN CHRIST ALL IS NEW, AS FROM GOD WHO RECONCILED THE WORLD TO HIMSELF IN CHRIST.17. Therefore] i.e. as a conclusion from 2 Corinthians 5:15-16, in consequence of Christ’s Death, His Life, His superhuman, Divine personality.

if any man be in Christ] The Vulgate puts no stop at Christ, and renders ‘if there be any new creature in Christ’ (‘if ony newe creature is in Crist,’ Wiclif). Tyndale translates as above. For ‘in Christ,’ see Romans 16:7; Galatians 1:22; and chap. 2 Corinthians 12:2.

he is a new creature] These words may be rendered there is a new creation, i.e. a new creation takes place within him. Whosoever is united to Christ by faith, possesses in himself the gift of a Divine, regenerated, spiritual humanity which Christ gives through his Spirit (cf. John 5:21; John 6:33; John 6:39-40; John 6:54; John 6:57; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 2:2; and 2 Peter 1:4. Also chap. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 2 Corinthians 4:11, 2 Corinthians 5:5). This life, which he possessed not before, is in fact a new creation of the whole man, “not to be distinguished from regeneration.” Meyer. So also Chrysostom. Cf. John 1:13; John 3:3; John 3:5; Titus 3:5. The margin of the A. V. renders let him be, which is grammatically admissible, but hardly suits the context.

old things] Literally, the old things. Cf. the ‘old man,’ Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9; the ‘former conversation’ or manner of living, before the soul was dominated by the Spirit of Christ.

are past away] Literally, passed away, i.e. at the moment of conversion. But as the Dean of Peterborough has shewn in the Expositor, Vol. vii. pp. 261–263, this strict use of the aorist cannot be always pressed in Hebraistic Greek.

behold, all things are become new] Many MSS., versions and recent editors omit ‘all things.’ The passage then stands ‘behold, they are become new.’ If we accept this reading, the passage speaks more clearly of a conversion of the whole man as he is, thoughts, habits, feelings, desires, into the image of Christ. The old is not obliterated, it is renovated. As it stands in the A.V. it relates rather to a substitution of a new nature for the old. Isaiah 43:18-19; Revelation 21:5.2 Corinthians 5:17. Εἰ τις ἐν Χριστῷ, if any one be in Christ) so as to live in Christ. If any one of those who now hear us, etc. Observe the mutual relation, we in Christ in this passage, and God in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:19; Christ, therefore, is the Mediator and Reconciler between us and God.—καινὴ κτίσις, a new creature) Not only is the Christian himself something new; but as he knows Christ Himself, not according to the flesh, but according to the power of His life and resurrection, so he contemplates and estimates himself and all things according to that new condition. Concerning this subject, see Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10.—τὰ ἀρχαῖα, old things) This term implies some degree of contempt. See Gregor. Thaum. Paneg. cum annot., p. 122, 240.—παòρῆλθεν, are passed away) Spontaneously, like snow in early spring.—ἰδοὺ, behold) used to point out something before us.Verse 17. - Therefore. If even a human, personal, external knowledge of Christ is henceforth of no significance, it follows that there must have been a total change in all relations towards him. The historic fact of such a changed relationship is indicated clearly in John 20:17. Mary Magdalene was there lovingly taught that a "recognition of Christ after the flesh," i.e. as merely a human friend, was to be a thing of the past. In Christ; i.e. a Christian. For perfect faith attains to mystic union with Christ. A new creature; rather, a new creation (Galatians 6:15). The phrase is borrowed from the rabbis who used it to express the condition of a proselyte. But the meaning is not mere Jewish arrogance and exclusiveness, but the deep truth of spiritual regeneration and the new birth (John 3:3; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:23, 24; Colossians 3:3, etc.). Old things; literally, the ancient things, all that belongs to the old Adam. Behold. The word expresses the writer's vivid realization of the truth he is uttering. All things. The whole sphere of being, and therewith the whole aim and character of life. The clause illustrates the "new creation." A new creature (καινὴ κτίσις)

Or creation. Compare Galatians 6:15. The word κτίσις is used in three senses in the New Testament. The act of creating, as Romans 1:20. The sum of created things, as Revelation 3:14; Mark 13:19. A created thing or creature, as Romans 8:39. The Rabbins used the word of a man converted from idolatry. "He who brings a foreigner and makes him a proselyte is as if he created him."

Old things (τὰ ἀρχαῖα)

Rev., correctly, the old things. See on 1 John 2:7, and see on Revelation 12:9.

Passed away (παρῆλθεν)

Lit., passed by. So Luke 18:37; Mark 6:48. As here, James 1:10; Matthew 5:8; Matthew 24:34, etc.

Behold

As if contemplating a rapidly shifting scene. As in a flash, old things vanish, and all things become new.

Links
2 Corinthians 5:17 Interlinear
2 Corinthians 5:17 Parallel Texts


2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB
2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

2 Corinthians 5:17 Bible Apps
2 Corinthians 5:17 Parallel
2 Corinthians 5:17 Biblia Paralela
2 Corinthians 5:17 Chinese Bible
2 Corinthians 5:17 French Bible
2 Corinthians 5:17 German Bible

Bible Hub
2 Corinthians 5:16
Top of Page
Top of Page