A L O O K I N T O T H E A P O S T L E ' S H E A R T
“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.”
~II Corinthians 5:17-18
This is probably one of the most well-known passages in II Corinthians. Filled with much hope, encouragement, and truth, these two power-packed verses have touched and blessed many. However, we generally see or hear these verses out of context and, thus, don’t always understand the full weight of what Paul was saying when he penned them. So let’s take a closer look at II Corinthians 5:17-18 in context with Paul’s heart-to-heart letter and see what it means and what new truths we can learn from this timeless passage.
Remember how we looked at what it meant to be controlled by the love of Christ? We studied II Corinthians 5:14-15, and how our lives ought to be completely governed and dictated by Christ’s love. So with all that in mind, read the following verse:
“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.”
~II Corinthians 5:16
As you may notice by the verse numbers, the passage above is the connecting verse between verses fourteen and fifteen—being controlled by love—and verses seventeen and eighteen—new in Christ. It’s the two sentences that give us the context for our focus passage today, and it gives us a glimpse into what Paul was actually meaning when he wrote that in Christ we are a new creation.
But what is Paul saying in this key verse (verse 16)? Well, in short, because we are controlled by Christ’s love, we no longer judge others by what we see or think, but by what God sees. Why? Because in Christ we are a new creation. So II Corinthians 5:17-18 is really the why behind Paul’s statement in verse 16. The two are not stand alone verses. In fact, in order to really understand the passage we should back up and read from verses fourteen through eighteen. So if you have a moment, go ahead and do that now.
So what can we learn from all of this? We no longer ought to judge each other by our old life and our old selves. But rather we should look at people through the lens of God’s love and from God’s perspective. And what does God see?
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
This is beautiful! In Christ, we are new. When God looks at us, He no longer sees the stains and ugliness of our sin, but rather the beauty and perfection of His Son. This incredible grace and mercy is all from God. To Him be all the praise and glory!
Therefore, let us no longer look at fellow Christians and judge them as the world does based on what our limited knowledge and sight can see. But let us view people through the lens of God’s love and see them as He does—redeemed, loved, and brand new!