Bible Ballistics: New Creation?? April 27, 2014 Vol.3 #24
I was reminded just today, of the import of knowing the context of any individual verse of scripture. Sometimes we fail to examine the context of individual verses. But we can’t truly understand scripture until and unless we search out the context. Meaning is always affected and colored by the immediate context of the verses.
I was reading 2 Corinthians just today and was moved by the connections that I observed there. I often us 2 Cor. 5:21, to remind us that our righteousness is imparted to us by Christ’s sacrifice for sins when we come to Him. But the context seemed to jump out at me today..
Let’s follow the flow of this passage and make application to our lives. In the beginning of this chapter Paul talks about our eternal, heavenly body/life and our present life in the flesh. He refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit who helps us live life by His power, not the flesh. He also reminds us that we are accountable for our actions in verse 10,
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
He goes on to remind us that our work is to be for God’s glory and the good of the body. And verse 14, where we’ll begin, shows us the conclusions that Paul was leading the Corinthians to. ‘For’, can also be understood as ‘because’, so let’s see what we can learn.
1 Corinthians 5:14-21, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Because of what? Because “the love of Christ constraineth us” Constrain means to compel or force. So it is Christ’s love that compels us to live for Jesus. That’s what Paul also tells us in Galatians 2:20,
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
To say that ‘I am crucified’ is a picture of the ‘crucified life’. “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” Just as we learn from verse 15 above, “they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again”. Christ was crucified for me, for my sin—His blood bought my freedom. So what are we to do for Him? Anything He asks? How? By walking in faith and obedience to Christ and His word, by His Spirit.
Paul goes on to say that we know Christ, not in the flesh but in the Spirit. Even those who knew Him in the flesh when he walked this earth, now know Him in the Spirit. And we continue on to see that those that know Christ by faith are new creatures. Christ gives us new life, and therefore Paul can say,
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”
But we are not made “new” to glorify ourselves but to share in Christ’s ministry of ‘reconciliation’, (the restoration to friendly relations). Why do we need to be reconciled? Romans 5:10 tells us,
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Sin made us enemies, Jesus death in our place brings reconciliation to God. Without Christ and the salvation that He bought at Calvary, we have no hope. But when we are saved, we are reconciled to God, no longer His enemy but His child. Changed from an enemy to a son/daughter of God.
John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Our focal passage goes on to remind us that when we are reconciled by God, we are made partakers of His ministry of reconciliation. We are reconciled by Christ’s sacrifice, and we are to share that reconciliation with the world. Why? Because of what we see in verse 21,
“21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
We are able to tell others because God has reconciled us. Because we are a ‘new creation’ we serve Christ by HIS power, not our own. We have the power to take this reconciliation to the world, as we live crucified lives by the power of His Spirit. The Good News for all who will hear.