2 Corinthians 5:16-21
16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 18 Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” 21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
—2 Corinthians 5:17
In Nepal, there are Hindu "holy men" called Sadhus. They supposedly abandon all worldly possessions and choose to live a life of nothingness. By adorning their bodies with paint, wearing tattered garments, and lying around dirty, they appear to have set themselves apart from worldly thinking.
However, when my husband tried to take a photo of one such individual, he asked my husband for compensation. Ed chuckled, thinking the man had not separated himself too far from worldly thought.
That photo of the Sadhu reminds me of this passage: "Don't evaluate people by what they have, or how they look" (verse 16, The Message). Only those in Christ are promised to become new from the inside out. This is a revolutionary gospel! Christ promises that our old life is gone and through Him a new life burgeons.
Christianity is revolutionary because of this one promise alone. Only Jesus can make all things new. We can’t earn our way into relationship with God. I love the song that says, "We can't explain it. We can't attain it!"
I’ve watched in Nepal as people turn prayer wheels trying to get a message to God. They put paint on their faces, wailing and whining—all to no avail. The 300 million gods they pray to are powerless to answer their prayers.
Only the Living God is able to hear us when we call. He alone is able to change a man's heart. And He’s given us the task of telling everyone what He’s doing. In Christ, we’re His representatives, His ambassadors (verse 20a).
We need not adorn ourselves with paint, or sit in the dirt, or put on sackcloth and ashes, or take a vow of poverty. We merely need to embrace the call, "Be reconciled to God” (verse 20b).
Jesus died that we might live. All things have become new from that vantage point. Hallelujah!
- What do your insides look like? Are you clean with the holiness of God?
- What evidence does your life reveal that something is different about you?
- Do people notice this difference? Are you willing to give verbal credit to God for what He has done for you?
- If you were taken before a court, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christ-follower?