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2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Most of us have a myopic view of what God is doing. We see Christ’s salvific work as it relates to our sin. It is personal. The death and resurrection of Christ has often been reduced to a remedy for sin, more specifically, our (my) sin. The apostle Paul wants the Corinthian church to understand the work of Christ in far broader terms than they ever imagined. The work of Christ has a purpose that includes personal salvation, but it must be viewed in the context of his broader work of transformation, restoration and reconciliation of all creation.

In this passage we have a glimpse of the scope and depth of the work of Christ. We begin to see clearly all that God is up to in Christ. We read vs. 17 in most translations as “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” (NIV). Carver[i] points out that a more apt translation may be “…if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation…” (NRSV). The personal transformation is true and essential. In Christ I am made new. But there seems to be a grander aim of the transforming work of Christ. A new world order has been established. The old order is destroyed and a new order (Christ’s Kingdom) has been established. This profound certainty changes everything, not just me. “…everything old is passed away, see, everything has become new.” (NRSV)

It changes the way I view others. (vs.16)

In Christ we no longer have the right to classify others in tidy terms like ‘enemy’. We now see them as woven into the tapestry of the new Kingdom. They may or may not be fulfilling the life to which Christ has called them, but we must acknowledge that Christ has called them, nonetheless. Our perspectives as Christians will be in sharp contrast to the ‘human’ view. The Christ follower no longer views people based on status, lifestyle or even accomplishments. All people are to be viewed as God’s creation which Christ came to redeem. They are neither targets for our conquest nor objects of our scorn. They are designated participants in the transformative work of Christ. Our great challenge is to become a gateway in their lives for reconciliation with God.