Reflection April 6
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.
Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor. 5:16-21
O how I rejoice in the fact that in Christ, we are a new creation! I imagine being dressed up in beautiful new clothing like a butterfly just out of the cocoon! What I find more difficult is the reality that being a new creation is not an instantaneous event, rather newness is being drawn out, or released through the Spirit. My first instinct is to want to be a complete creation NOW, I don’t want to be in process. Yet I have come to see that being a new creation in Christ is better likened to a posture than a destination.
In this passage Paul rejoices in the fact that he has been given the ministry of reconciling others to the gift of Jesus Christ. He shares that the ministry is possible because the very thing he is being asked to do for others Christ is doing in in his own life. Because Christ did not hold Paul’s sins against him, Paul is enabled to see beyond the sins of those he encountered. This pattern of grace is the pathway to sanctification.
What is implicit in the passage is Paul’s joy in sharing the life of Christ with others. I hear Paul’s passion as he implores his readers to submit to God to not only receive the newness of life for themselves, but also to receive seeing others with the profound hope of becoming new creations!
In a small way, I relate to this vocation of being an ambassador for Christ in the lives of college students. I count it a privilege to influence young men and women in their journeys with Christ. As I remind them of the grace that Jesus extends them in their development, I experience the kindness of his grace in my own life. The reciprocal nature of seeing one another in the midst of grace is a significant part of our becoming, and the beauty of it consistently draws me to deeper devotion to our Lord. So, if imperfection as a new creation is the means God uses for worshipping him more fully then I rejoice in my imperfection all the more!