The Creator’s Grand Design—Part 16

God’s New Creation

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” —Ephesians 2:10

THE animate and inanimate creations of God exist in almost endless variety. On this small planet Earth there are the many sorts of inanimate life in the vegetable kingdom; and in the animal kingdom there are many thousands of species, beginning with the lowest forms of organisms and continuing to the highest form of earthly life, which is the human. David wrote that man was made “a little lower than the angels,” which means that above the human plane of existence, and invisible to our eyes, there are further varieties of created life.—Ps. 8:4-8

The Scriptures reveal that, beginning with the first advent of Jesus, the Creator has been developing another creation—a creation on a higher plane of life than any previously brought forth. This new creation is to be divine and in God’s design will share his highest of all planes of life. The Creator’s design calls for a limited number to be on this high plane of life, and it reveals that these will be indestructible. They will enjoy “glory and honor and immortality.”—Rom. 2:7

It was God’s arrangement, in connection with all his other intelligent creatures, to create them and then test their loyalty to him. It was thus with the angels. Some of these maintained their fidelity; others failed under test and became what are sometimes referred to as “fallen angels.” The same procedure was followed with respect to man. Adam was created a perfect human and then tested. He failed under test and came under condemnation of death, with his progeny dying with him.


But this procedure was not possible when it came to God’s new creation of the present age, for in his design those who would be members of this highly honored class were ultimately to be exalted to the divine plane of life, which, as we have noted, is indestructible. Obviously it was necessary that those striving for this high position should be tested before they were granted immortality, else there would be the possibility of having in the universe sinners who could not be destroyed. Thus, so far as these would be concerned, the divine mandate that “the wages of sin is death” would be made void.—Rom. 6:23

The only way this testing prior to full maturity as “new creatures” could be accomplished would be to invite a limited number who already existed on a lower plane of life to participate in the program, on the basis that if they proved loyal under the severest of tests they would be exalted to the divine plane. The first of these was Jesus, and during this Gospel Age others have been invited to partake of this “heavenly calling.” (Heb. 3:1) The creative work in these has been, and continues to be, accomplished by God’s Holy Spirit.

At the time of his baptism, and through the holy power of the Creator, Jesus became a new creature. His mind was filled with the precious promises of God, and these set before him the hope of a future joy of exaltation to the right hand of his Father. The joy enabled Jesus to endure the cross and to despise the shame involved in the testing of his fidelity to the Creator. (Ps. 16:10,11; Heb. 12:2) When Jesus proved his faithfulness, even unto death, and was raised from the dead, he was highly exalted above every name that is named. He was, in fact, given the divine nature.—Phil. 2:9,10

His Followers Also

What was true with Jesus is also true with respect to all his faithful followers. The only difference is that Jesus was perfect from the beginning, so that his mind and body could and did react perfectly to the impulses of the Holy Spirit as they reached him through the Word of truth, whereas his followers are imperfect, members of the fallen and sinful race of Adam. These could not be acceptable at all for the purpose for which they are called except as they are looked upon by the Creator as being covered by the righteousness of Christ.

In the selection of these to be part of his new creation, the Creator, through his providences, prepares them to be receptive to his Word of truth, and then arranges for them to be brought into contact with that Word. Through God’s Word these begin to appreciate his love as expressed through Christ Jesus, and by the drawing power of his love they are influenced to dedicate themselves to him and to Christ, whose righteousness they believe will be imputed to them.

Paul explains this viewpoint very beautifully. He writes: “The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (II Cor. 5:14,15) Then in the 17th verse Paul adds: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” It is concerning these that, in our text, Paul writes, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”—Eph. 2:10

As Paul explains, this new creation is “God’s workmanship.” God’s creative work in developing this group of his faithful people in preparation for exaltation to the divine nature is accomplished by his Holy Spirit, or power. It involves much more than conversion from sin to righteousness. The total creative process involves the development of a new mind—a spiritual mind with heavenly aspirations—and finally, in the resurrection, the exaltation of that mind in a glorious divine body.

Born Again

To help our finite minds comprehend in some measure the bringing forth of this new creation, the Bible uses various illustrations. One of these is the begetting and birth of a child. We recall Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, a ruler in Israel. To him Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) “The kingdom of God” here referred to is the rulership aspect of that kingdom. There will be many millions in the kingdom of God as subjects, but these will not be “born again.”

Nicodemus did not understand this, and he asked if it would be necessary to enter again into his mother’s womb and literally be born again. Jesus replied: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”—vss. 4-8

Jesus’ illustration of the characteristics of one who is born of the Spirit is revealing—he uses the invisible power of the wind. Obviously our finite minds cannot grasp too much concerning the characteristics of spirit beings, but we do know that they are invisible to human eyes and powerful. This is true of the exalted Jesus and of the Heavenly Father; and those who are exalted to the divine nature to be rulers in the kingdom of God will be like these. They will be God’s new creation.—I John 3:2

Begotten First

Many students of the Bible think that in his discussion with Nicodemus Jesus was referring only to conversion from sin to righteousness and a filling with the Holy Spirit. But this is not all that Jesus was speaking of, as is apparent from the Master’s statement that those born of the Spirit can come and go as the wind. However, before there can be a birth of the Spirit there must first be a begetting of the Spirit, and it is this begetting that occurs when one enters the narrow way and begins to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

This point is somewhat obscured in our English Bibles, due to the fact that there is but one Greek word for both begettal and birth. The student must determine from the context which meaning is intended. For example, when Jesus said that those “born” of the Spirit could come and go as the wind, we know he was referring to Spirit birth and not Spirit begetting. Other texts use the word “born” when the context indicates that the reference is to the Christian at the present time. In these instances the word “beget” or “begotten” would greatly clarify the meaning of the text.

There is a beautiful thought associated with the idea of begettal, followed in due time by birth. It is during this period that the embryonic new creature is nourished and matures in preparation for birth. This development takes place while the mind of the new creature is contained in an earthly body. Thus the creative process goes on, and in due time the new creature is ready for birth on the divine plane.

It is the Spirit of truth, reaching the new creature through the inspired Word of God, that does the nourishing and strengthening prior to the birth of the new creature. During this period God’s providences also exercise an important role in the development of the new creature. But when the due time comes for spiritual birth in the resurrection, God’s power is exercised in a more direct manner. Paul speaks of the “exceeding greatness of his [God’s] power” which raised Jesus from the dead at the time he was “born of the Spirit.”

Through God’s overruling providences in our lives as new creatures, that same divine power is available for us while we are maturing in preparation for Spirit birth. And then that mighty power of God will be used to raise us from the dead and exalt us to the divine nature to live and reign with Christ in that glorious kingdom through which all the families of the earth are to be blessed. Paul was willing to give up all earthly advantages and glory in order to experience that power, during the present life and in the resurrection.—Phil. 3:8-11; Eph. 1:18-23


In all the other works of creation the things created did not have the opportunity of cooperating in their own creation. But with God’s new creation it is different. Paul wrote: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12,13) Peter speaks of our being made partakers of the divine nature through the “exceeding great and precious promises” of God and then admonishes us to add to our faith virtue, knowledge, fortitude, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love. If we do this, Peter assures us, we will have an abundant entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”—II Pet. 1:4-11

Part of the work of God’s grace in our lives is accomplished through the trials he permits and helps us to endure. It is by these that our loyalty to the Creator is tested. Peter wrote, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (I Pet. 4:19) Yes, our Creator is faithful. He was faithful in the creation of our first parents. When they transgressed his law he was faithful in sending his beloved Son to redeem them and their progeny from death. He is faithful now in bringing forth his new creation. He is loving and kind and just; and while he knows that we need to be tested, his strength is available to help us if we yield ourselves to the experiences that he sees are best for us.

Peter also wrote: “Humble yourselves … under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (I Pet. 5:6,7) Nothing like this was ever said to any others of God’s intelligent creatures while in the process of being created. They were not asked to cooperate. But we are. God’s creative hand may at times weigh heavily upon us as new creatures. But this is in love and because he is a faithful Creator. Our part in it is to realize he is caring for us and to humble ourselves under his mighty hand, knowing that if we do, through his faithfulness he will exalt us in due time to the glory, honor, and immortality he has promised.

“The mighty hand of God,” as represented in his providences, will continue over us until we finish our course in death. Jesus said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) Here again our cooperation is invited, and what a blessed privilege it is to respond by faithful adherence to the whole will of God. Being faithful is possible only with the help of “the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.” It is the God of grace who is able, after we have suffered a while, to make us perfect and strong and settled. Truly he is a faithful Creator!—I Pet. 5:10,11

Minds Renewed

Paul wrote: “Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2) The renewing of the mind here referred to by Paul is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. By nature we seek earthly things. Adam was created of the earth, earthy. The earth, by nature, is our home, and it is natural that man should love the things of the earth. But for those whom God is developing as new creatures in Christ Jesus there is the need that their minds be transformed. There are many promises of the Word that help to accomplish this. Jesus said to his disciples that he was going away to prepare a place for them and that he would come and receive them unto himself, that where he is there they would be also. (John 14:2,3) John wrote that it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that we shall be like him and see him as he is.—I John 3:1-3

The Apostle Peter wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”—I Pet. 1:3-5

These and other promises create an assurance that by faithfulness to the will of God we may attain spiritual life with Jesus in a heavenly home. Thus our minds are transformed from earthly to heavenly aspirations. We hear Paul’s admonition to “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God,” and to set our “affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:1,2) As we allow these new aspirations to captivate us, we are growing as new creatures; and if faithful to the end of our earthly course, we will attain the glory promised.

“Bare Grain”

Paul uses “bare grain” to describe the new mind that is “sown” in death and made alive in the resurrection. He says that “it is sown in corruption,” and “it is raised in incorruption.” Continuing, he says: “It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” To this Paul adds, “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body”—in the resurrection, that is.—I Cor. 15:37,42-44

Paul explains that in the resurrection God will give to “every seed” “its own body,” that is, a body appropriate to the mind that was sown in death. For the mass of mankind this will be a human body, for they have not developed spiritual aspirations and hopes. They were created to live on the earth, and their hopes have all been earthly. But for “new creatures” who have set their affections on things above it will be different. The minds of these have been transformed, and their hopes have been transferred from the earth to heaven, for they have been made “partakers of the heavenly calling.”—Heb. 3:1

Concerning these in the resurrection, Paul states, “As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (I Cor. 15:49) “For,” he further explains, “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”—vss. 53,54

The statement, “Death is swallowed up in victory,” is taken from Isaiah 25:8. The entire verse reads: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth.” This is one of God’s promises to restore mankind in general to perfection of human life on the earth. This will be accomplished through the agencies of Christ’s thousand-year kingdom. During that time Satan will be bound, and the Lord’s people will not be persecuted; for then, as Isaiah assures us, the Lord will remove “the rebuke of his people … from off all the earth.”

However, as Paul explains, this great boon to humanity, this great project of “restitution,” must await the completion of the “new creation” class of the present age. Only after all these, individually, have been exalted to immortality will God fulfill his promise to “swallow up death in victory” and put an end to the reign of sin and death. This proper sequence in the outworking of the divine plan is shown by Paul’s use of the words “when” and “then” in his explanation that “when … this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

God’s Inheritance

In Ephesians 1:18 Paul speaks of “the riches of the glory of his [God’s] inheritance in the saints.” There are many passages which refer directly or indirectly to the rich inheritance of the new creation class. They are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. But here Paul speaks of this class as being God’s inheritance. This is a stupendous thought, yet one which can be understood when we take all the facts into consideration.

Among all the hosts of God’s intelligent creatures there had been none on his own plane of existence. Even the holy angels were limited in the extent to which they could fellowship and cooperate with the divine Creator. But God’s new creation, when completed, will be on the divine plane of life with him. He will have an immediate family of his own, which in this full sense was not true before. So, in the outworking of his grand design for the deliverance of mankind from sin and death, God himself will receive an inheritance which throughout the endless ages will continue to enhance his joy and glory.

How truly marvelous it is to realize that by his Holy Spirit, or power, the Creator could take some of his imperfect and dying creatures here on earth, recreate and exalt them to his own nature and high position in the universe! To do this, even for Jesus, who was perfect and separate from sinners, is beyond our comprehension. But what amazing grace is manifested through his calling, preparation, and exaltation of Jesus’ followers to the same high position. “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”—Rom. 11:33

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