11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
As the at-risk teenagers took their seats in the youth room, William bowed his head, breathed a silent prayer, then spoke. “Some people don’t let me forget I’ve been in jail,” he said. “Sometimes, I’m the one who doesn’t let me forget all the bad things I’ve done.” He held up his Bible, smiling. “But God says He’s given me a new life. And He’s offering the same gift to you.”
Like William, some of us struggle to feel forgiven and accept that we’re rescued, redeemed, restored—new creations defined by our Savior’s love for us, not by the sins that once bound us. The apostle Paul, who considered himself the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:12–17), affirmed that believers in Jesus needed to stop seeing people and Christ from “a human point of view” (2 Corinthians 5:16). As “new people” (or “new creations”) who’ve been reconciled to God through Jesus’ death and resurrection, our sins are no longer counted against us (VV. 17–19). After having received this new identity, God’s children become living ambassadors for Christ (V. 20). Our past sins can’t trap or tarnish us.
When we focus on our insufficiencies instead of God’s ever- sufficient grace, it’s hard to live like we trust God. But even in that struggle, God can help us see ourselves as redeemed people who are called and empowered to live for Jesus—pointing others to the hope we have in Him.
– XOCHITL DIXON
When has someone, including yourself, made you believe you’re trapped or tarnished by your past sins? How does Jesus’ sacrifice for your sin and the forgiveness He offers give you hope for the future?
Mighty Jesus, please help me live as if I’ve truly received the new life You’ve given me and encourage others to accept the new life You offer those who place their trust in You.