Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (verses 17-21)
What a remarkable opening statement. In Christ, I am a new creation – changed, transformed, everything is new. “The old has gone, the new has come!” Remarkable.
I think of the leper crying out to Jesus, “If you are willing, you can make me clean,” to which Jesus replied, “I am willing – be clean!” And he was.
I think of the raving lunatic in the tombs near Gadara, demon-possessed, but at Jesus’ word set free. Those who had known him previously, now encountered him afresh by those same tombs, clothed and in his right mind. Transformed.
I think of the man born blind, living in a world closed in by darkness, cut off from sight. Yet light dawned for the first time when, at the Pool called Sent, he washed muddy salve from his eyes, applied there for healing by Jesus’ own hands.
The old has gone, the new has come.
And, of course, Paul himself, blinded in body and spirit, was delivered into sightedness by the commanding invitation of Jesus. The Damascus Road became the birthing suite for a new creation.
We know that the heart of this newness comes about through reconciliation with God. That’s what Paul tells us here. Previously we were estranged. Like the leper our lives were unclean, like the demoniac our minds were unsound, and like the blindman our eyes were unperceiving. It was our sin that stood against us, condemning us, decisively separating us from our Holy God. We were without hope and without God in the world.
But God worked the change. He “reconciled us to himself through Christ.” We, by our own guilt, had created the estrangement. But God, himself the offended party, stepped in and worked reconciliation for us. It couldn’t have happened otherwise. Taking our sin, he placed it on his Son, making him “sin for us,” and giving to us instead Christ’s own righteousness. No wonder reconciliation has come about! We find ourselves standing in the very footing of Jesus himself, in his right-standing with the Father.
So, yes, in Christ everything is new. I am a new creation. The old is gone. The new has come. Full reconciliation is here. Praise his name.
Dear Lord, thank you for newness, for re-creation, for reconciliation, and for righteousness that I could never produce myself. Thank you for doing it all. I rejoice in what you have done. I receive all that you are continuing to do. I submit to your purposes.
Reflect: In Christ, “the old has gone, the new has come.” What aspects of “the old” are still clinging to your mind or behaviour? Give them to the Lord. What aspects of “the new” do you need to embrace more fully? Receive.