“The New You” (2 Cor. 5:15-20)
WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – When I was a teenager, a lady I cared about decided to start over – I mean radically: one day she walked away from home, husband, children, friends, clothes, everything; she just disappeared. Decades later it was discovered that she took a new identity across the country, settled in, married, had another family – and then she did it again. And she made the sad discovery most of us have: no matter where you move, you’re still there. It’s a new setting but the old you.
That doesn’t have to be true. You are not stuck with the old you forever. Some of the best news in the gospel is this:
“If anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation;
the old has passed away,
and see, the new has come!
“Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 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. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: ‘Be reconciled to God.’” (2 Cor. 5:17-20)
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – One of the most freeing things in my life is learning to live as the new me. Today’s passage explains four major differences that makes:
The original me was created to please God; but by trying to please myself, I messed that up in every possible way. So badly so, that I didn’t need a renovation, I needed to start over– and that’s exactly what I got: a new creation. One of the tremendous things about believers’ baptism is that we get to leave the old self under the water. “Therefore, we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life.”1
I had made my old self God’s enemy, and every single one of my sins was rightfully added to the list against me. Now, I am totally reconciled to God (by God Himself), and He is counting none of my trespasses against me. In fact, since He sees me only through the filter of His Son Jesus, I have “become the righteousness of God.”2
The old me lived for myself. That’s where I got in trouble. The new me lives for Jesus. “He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.”3
The old me had no purpose in life except survival. I represented no one except Jeff. The new me has a new identity and something to live for bigger than me. I am an Ambassador for none less than Jesus Christ, “the King of Glory,”4 and so are you. He has given us ambassadors “the ministry of reconciliation” and committed to us “the message of reconciliation.” That’s the most important ministry and message in human history. And for reasons I may never understand, He is counting on us to fulfill this ministry and to deliver this message: “God is making his appeal through us.” Our new selves won’t let Him down.
And…if you haven’t been living your new self lately, now’s a good time to get back to it.
1 Rom. 6:4. 2 2 Cor. 5:21. 3 2 Cor. 5:15. 4 Ps. 24:7-10.