God has brought his people salvation in Jesus Christ, a gift that is described throughout the Scriptures as new life. Two words are used in the New Testament to describe newness. The first, neos [nevo"], describes that which is new in time. It is used infrequently to describe new life in Christ ( Col 3:10 ). The more popular and definitive term is kainos [kainov"]. It, and its derivatives, describe that which is new in nature, different from usual, better than the old, and superior in significance. Used in conjunction with zoe [zwhv], kainos [kainov"]describes the essence of what God has done through Jesus Christ: he has given his children new life.
Believers begin a new life when they are born again by the Spirit ( 1 Peter 1:3 ). Regeneration places believers on the road of faith whereby they become new creations ( 2 Cor 5:17 ) and enjoy a new life in Christ ( Rom 6:4 ). In spite of that reality, believers wrestle with the old nature and old self. They must seek to put on the new self ( Eph 4:24 ) and to follow the new commandment of Christ ( 1 John 2:8 ).
The gift of new life was foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament. Ezekiel prophesied the gift of a new heart and a new spirit ( Eze 36:26 ). Jeremiah told of a new covenant ( Jer 31:31 ). Isaiah spoke of a new name ( Isa 62:2 ). The new age promised by the prophets came in Jesus Christ, the new Adam. Yet that which is presently realized by believers is only a foretaste of that which is yet to come in fullness. The apocalyptic Book of Revelation tells us that God will make everything new ( 21:5 ). He will create a new heaven and new earth ( 21:1 ), a new Jerusalem ( 3:12 ), where the saints enjoy a new name ( 2:17 ) and sing a new song ( 5:9 ).
Sam Hamstra, Jr.
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
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Bibliography InformationElwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'New Life'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology".