I know “ex-nihilo” does not officially begin with an X, but I couldn’t think of a topic beginning with an X (if you can, let me know!), so I figured this was just as good.
So what does ex-nihilo mean? Ex-nihilo, or “out of nothing” refers to how God created the world in Genesis 1. Why does that matter? Because this shows us that God created something out of nothing. The world was formless and void, and God took what was void and made it into something useful, where people can live. This applies to Israel and to us in different ways. To Israel, this meant that what God did at creation (creating something out of nothing) He can do again now with them. You see Israel was a sinful, rebellious people, wandering through a “formless waste” called the wilderness (Deut. 32:10). They would have read Genesis 1 and been encouraged that God could bring them, who were wandering through a formless land, into a land flowing with milk and honey. God would take Israel from being nothing to something. Genesis 1 therefore prepared Israel to enter into the promise land.
To us, it means something similar but different. We are living in a world that is in a sense “formless and void” because we live among people who disregard God and His commands. We, like Israel, are looking forward to the day when we are brought into a land better and greater than the land we now inhabit. But there’s more. We are sinful, rebellious people like Israel. Because of this, we are formless and void in our souls. BUT, the moment we trust in Jesus God does in us what He did at creation – turned nothing into something. Paul draws on this in 2 Corinthians 4:6 when he says:
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
You see how Paul brings Genesis 1 into our own salvation? God said “Let there be light” back at creation turning the empty void into a fruitful paradise. BUT MORE, God said, “Let there be light” in our hearts when we believed in Jesus giving us a taste for the glory of God in the face of Jesus. God, in us, has made nothing into something. Our hearts used to be barren, rocky, empty, and void, but now our hearts are an oasis of fruitful paradise. Where does holiness come into this? It is out of this new garden paradise in our hearts, that holy living flows.
God created holiness in us in an ex-nihilo manner.