If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
During her ministry to men incarcerated in South Africa’s most violent prison, Joanna Flanders-Thomas witnessed the power of Christ to transform hearts. In Vanishing Grace, Philip Yancey describes her experience: “Joanna started visiting prisoners daily, bringing them a simple gospel message of forgiveness and reconciliation. She earned their trust, got them to talk about their abusive childhoods, and showed them a better way of resolving conflicts. The year before her visits began, the prison recorded 279 acts of violence against inmates and guards; the next year there were two.”
The apostle Paul wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). While we may not always see that newness expressed as dramatically as Flanders-Thomas did, the gospel’s power to transform is the greatest hope-providing force in the universe. New creations. What an amazing thought! The death of Jesus launches us on a journey of becoming like Him—a journey that will culminate when we see Him face-to-face (see 1 John 3:1–3).
As believers in Jesus we celebrate our life as new creations. Yet we must never lose sight of what that cost Christ. His death brings us life. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
How has Jesus’ transforming work been evidenced in your life? What areas of your life are still in need of that “new creation” impact?
Loving Father, thank You that, because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, I am a new creation. Forgive me for the times I return to the old things that need to pass away.
Various forms of the key New Testament word reconcile are found five times in 2 Corinthians 5:18–20. At the root of this term are the ideas of change or exchange. In the context of money, it signifies coins that were exchanged for others of equal value. Concerning people, the word denotes a change in the relationship from hostility to friendship. In 2 Corinthians 5:14–21, the change in relationship is between God and people on the basis of the death of Christ. Romans also includes multiple uses of the word reconciled. In just one verse the past and the ongoing benefits of reconciliation come into focus. “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (5:10).