2 Corinthians 5:16-17
16From 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. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Paul tells us in his writing to the church at Corinth that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. He writes that the old has passed away and the new has come. It’s a common theme for evangelicals, for crusaders, for revival preachers and the like – and for good reason. However, what does this mean? What is Paul saying to the church at Corinth? To be a new creation means to find yourself the outcome of a process. This is not something magical that coincides with your acceptance of Jesus – you don’t get a “new creation” t-shirt because you sign a covenant membership card at the Reunion Connections desk – unless that’ll get you to sign a covenant membership card, then I definitely already have a design mocked up that we can get you ordered.
No, a new creation is the result of the fierce, ongoing exchange between what is old and what is new. A new creation is the consequence or combined, end-accomplishment that is birthed from the clashing of the non-existent with the existent, the sin stained with the pure. There’s this beautiful process that takes place, and it truly is magical – in the purest sense of the word. Paul continues…
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
hóste: so as to, so then, therefore
Original Word: ὥστε
Part of Speech: Conjunction
Phonetic Spelling: (hoce’-teh)
Definition: so as to, so then, therefore
Usage: so that, therefore, so then, so as to.
hṓste (a conjunction, derived from /hōs, “as” and /té, “both-and”) – wherefore (with the result that both . . . ), connecting cause to necessary effect which emphasizes the result (the combined, end-accomplishment). The result involved then is the combination of both elements in the correlation, underscoring the inevitable effect of the paired elements.
[This common point (“fulcrum”) of the correlation is the key link for yielding the result of the cause-and-effect relationship.] www.biblehub.com
oun: therefore, then, (and) so
Original Word: οὖν
Part of Speech: Conjunction
Phonetic Spelling: (oon)
Definition: therefore, then, (and) so
Usage: therefore, then.
oún (a conjunction) – therefore, now then, accordingly so. (oún) occurs 526 times in the NT and is typically translated “therefore” which means, “By extension, here’s how the dots connect.”
Why are we talking about cause and effect pastor Todd? Sounds like a science class and I came to learn about God – not science. Well, to me, science sounds like a God class. A God of order. A God of cause and effect. A God of results, and end game, of analysis and direction.
I Corinthians 14:44
33For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
He’s always had a plan in place. And the plan is the consequence and outcome of the ministry of reconciliation. Listen as we dive deeper into Paul’s teaching to the community in Corinth. Listen to what he calls out in each and every one of us when it pertains to a new creation. Paul didn’t just write “you’re a new creation if you accept Jesus” – it’s true, but taken out of context, with no guidance or order, then it becomes a falsehood. And it becomes the worst type of falsehood as it is darkness parading as light…
Matthew 6:23 (partial)
If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
We have to continue to place teaching into context and ask God for guidance. We must seek truth outside of ourselves – becoming a “new creation” through the fierce, ongoing exchange of old and new, stained and righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
1For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
This premise is the buildup to Paul’s point, where we started this teaching. Paul begins this chapter with speaking to something that should exist within each and every follower of Jesus – the hope of heaven. Heaven is sorely misrepresented and undersold to the world of 2019. We don’t talk about it. We don’t seem to long for in. To the contrary, we put off death as long as humanly possible and deny and delay its inevitability. Pauls says that “in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.” And he confirms that we should long for heaven because God confirms our eternity in the presence of His Spirit. What are the fruits of His Spirit?
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
The Spirit is what is right and true and good in our world. The Spirit is comfort through pain and sorrow. The Spirit is kindness through despair and doubt. The Spirit is the Love that is shared in the face of hatred and judgment. The Spirit is what enables you to be outside of yourself – go Love yourself!
And Paul lays out the bookend to the “therefore” of this chapter – a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:11-15
11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
It’s never about you. This story is never about just you. I’m sorry to the inner monologue that is presenting its strongest counter argument out there right now. Listen up, and listen up well… It’s not about you! ”that one has died for all, therefore all have died;” meaning simply this – that to be reconciled to God is to be reconciled to one another. It means we persuade others (sounds almost dirty doesn’t it?)
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We are ambassadors for Christ. God makes his appeal to others through us. The gravity of that reality should blow your mind. You are the instrument of God – to reconcile others (all mankind) to Himself. So while it’s never about you – everything is about you and done for you.
14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
charis: grace, kindness
Original Word: χάρις, ιτος, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (khar’-ece)
Definition: grace, kindness
Usage: (a) grace, as a gift or blessing brought to man by Jesus Christ, (b) favor, (c) gratitude, thanks, (d) a favor, kindness.
(xáris) is preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them”).
- God is a God of creation and order, Therefore he created the heavens and the earth
- Man was created with free will and choice, Therefore he chose to sin
- God is without sin, Therefore when man sinned, he separated himself from God
- God is full of truth and grace, Therefore he sent His Son to die for the sin of the world
- Jesus set the example to follow, Therefore to follow him is to reconcile others to God
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Jesus doesn’t use the term new creation – he speaks of a new commandment – that you would Love one another.
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