PREACHING THE GOSPEL IN AFRICA 8

IF ANYONE IS IN CHRIST—NEW CREATION!
2 Cor 5:17
Richard Hays = new creation!
Living by a different set of rules = the rules of the kingdom of God
How are the rules of your society? Do you get even when people hurt you? Do you feel
threatened at negative comments? Is it important to save face, even when you know you have
done something wrong (or not done what you know you should have done)? Do you try and get
ahead by any means possible, caring little for how you achieve your personal ambitions?
I felt a great change when I first became a Christian. It wasn’t obvious overnight, but in the
following months I found that I was a softer person. I felt more empathy with others and was
more sensitive to being hurt by them as well. I can’t define it more clearly than that; I was only
9 years old and it was a long time ago now. That was my experience the first I committed my
life to Jesus. The next time I did it, I was seventeen.
I didn’t enjoy my high-school years and by the time I was 17, I’d had enough of the ‘popularity
game’. I decided to go in a different direction and renewed my commitment to Jesus. At that
time I began to read the Bible in large doses (and I got to leave high-school for tertiary study).
After 2 years of studying engineering, I should have embarked on a career as an engineering
technician. But the economy was dead flat and jobs were scarce; no one in the construction
sector was hiring young people with no experience. I found myself unemployed and
contemplating what had led me into the situation where I had a qualification that did not open
the door into a job.
All my life, I had been told to work hard, do well at school and when you finish your study, there
would be a well-paying job waiting for you. I had done my part; I had worked hard and was
near the top of my class (not at the top, but certainly in the top 15%). So, where were the jobs?
I discovered that it was all founded on false assumptions and filled with little more than wishful
thinking. I realised that the priorities my society had taught me were wrong and the life
narrative I had been sold was a lie.
As I sat each day with nothing to do and precious little money to do it with, I realised that I
needed to rebuild my life on a different set of values and priorities. I began to read the Bible in a
more searching way, looking for how the Christian life should be lived. I came to understand the
Christian worldview, I came to know God more deeply and I adopted Christian values for my
life. I became a different person; and I came to understand that the rules that God requires us to
live by are different to the rules that normal society operates by. In short, I became a new
person living in a new society. I had discovered what 2 Cor 5:17-21 refers to when it says that if
anyone is in Christ Jesus, then there is a new creation!

the new age has appeared in Christ. 4: 13– 18. 8: 18– 25). for Paul. rather. discusses the meaning of the passage: The apocalyptic scope of 2 Corinthians 5 was obscured by older translations that rendered the crucial phrase in verse 17 as “he is a new creation” (RSV) or— worse yet—“he is a new creature” (KJV). 1 Cor. in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament.Richard Hays. Salvation will be fully accomplished only at the parousia. however. it must also wait for the consummation of its hope. Such translations seriously distort Paul’s meaning by making it appear that he is describing only the personal transformation of the individual through conversion experience. Rom. But for Paul there is also a critical caveat that must be spoken: while the church stands at this juncture . cheat. the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. his appearing will be accompanied by the general resurrection of the dead and the final judgment (1 Thess. 10: 11). 14 The old age is passing away (cf. or a new society.” Paul is not merely talking about an individual’s subjective experience of renewal through conversion. and the church stands at the juncture between them. He is proclaiming the apocalyptic message that through the cross God has nullified the kosmos of sin and death and brought a new kosmos into being. 1 Cor. a very literal translation might treat the words “new creation” as an exclamatory interjection: “If anyone is in Christ—new creation!” The NRSV has rectified matters by rendering the passage. The ends of the ages have overlapped (pp2021) Richard Hays’ confirms my experience that being a Christian involves moving into a new community. That is why Paul can describe himself and his readers as those “on whom the ends of the ages have met” (1 Cor. goals. 7: 31b). “If anyone is in Christ there is a new creation. lacks both subject and verb. Paul thinks of the present time as an anomalous interval in which the “already” and the “not yet” of redemption exist simultaneously in dialectical tension. ktisis (“creation”) refers to the whole created order (cf. a new society where the rules of what constitutes good behaviour are very different. where the priorities. 15: 20– 23). The sentence in Greek. and way of life are quite different. or a thief will . Thus. The Christian enters into a new creation. This is how the New Testament can say that no one who is a liar.