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Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

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New Life

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 [νέος], 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 [καινός]. 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 [ζωή], kainos [καινός]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.

See also Eternal Life, Eternality, Everlasting Life; Life

 


Copyright Statement
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell Copyright 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49516-6287. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bibliography Information
Elwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'New Life'". "Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology".
<http://classic.studylight.org/dic/bed/view.cgi?number=T510>. 1897.

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