God cannot change you: A NewISH creation

And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman (ISHA אִשָּׁה), because she was taken out of Man (ISH אִישׁ) – Genesis 2:23.

Adam, of course, wasn’t Jew Ish – a Jewish creation; neither was he newish, but new. The New Testament says that those sinners who have been born again by grace through faith in Christ also become a new creation. The issue I want to discuss here is that many Christians (Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Methodists, most Messianic Jews, most Anglicans, indeed, the majority of Christians), if they were consistent would have to add the suffix “ish” to “new” in the following scripture: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). These Christians follow Jacob Arminius, and are called Arminians. Arminius taught that “the grace sufficient for salvation is conferred on the Elect, and on the Non-elect; that, if they will, they may believe or not believe, may be saved or not be saved.” As an Arminian called Underdog put it “I do not think that we should expect that GOD will change us. Change is a load of the individual who wants to be changed and not of GOD.” In other words, a Christian decides to open his heart to Christ, then Christ comes in. And he ends up being “in Christ” and consequently a new creation.

Arminius (1560 - 1609)

Arminius (1560 – 1609)

If by “we” Underdog means a believer, this would not make biblical sense, because the reason why we believe is because God changed us. Arminians could not say this because they believe that God invites people to change (their “hearts”) and only after they have changed, they become born again (regenerated). So, after you decide to have faith, God will make you a new creation (regenerate you). What were the people in bondage to their sinful nature – that is, wanting nothing to do with Christ – thinking in the hiatus between deciding to believe and their subsequent being raised from the dead? A newish creation?

If conversion be a new creation, then fallen man hath not a free-will to good. A convert is called a new creature, or a new creation, in Gal. vi. 15; and 2 Cor. v. 17. Creation is a production of something out of nothing; but if there be a free-will to do good, in man, before conversion, then is there something of its own nature spiritually good in unconverted man, towards the work of conversion; so can it not be called a new creature… the whole frame is out of frame in the unconverted state; and man is a confused chaos, a vast emptiness, when this creating power comes upon him… New qualities and operations are created in us; the will to will well, and the power to do well, are ascribed to this creating almighty power, in the effectual conversion of souls to God. It is God which worketh in you, both to will, and to do, of his own good pleasure, Phil. ii. 13 (Christopher Ness, “An Antidote to Arminianism,” 1700).

Underdog is a rare Arminian; he is consistent: he doesn’t pray that God changes people’s hearts.