Bible Lesson: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Theme Verse: Vs 17. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Young Sam Jones ruined his life because of alcoholism. His father John Jones’ dying words were, ‘my poor, wicked, wayward, reckless boy. You have brought me down in sorrow to my grave. Promise me, my boy, to meet me in heaven.’ Sam fell to his knees and promised, then he flew to a bar and begged for a glass of liquor. But as he started to drink it, he saw himself in the mirror. Hair matted, filth and vomit on his clothes and lips swollen. Sam smashed the glass on the floor and gave his life to Jesus Christ. Thereafter he became famous preacher of his time.
Believers who are positioned in Christ are not ordinary people but they are New Creation (vs. 17); Reconciled to God (vs. 18); Ambassadors for Christ (vs. 20) & the Righteousness of God (vs. 21). In plain words they have a brand new identity in Christ Jesus. We are no longer slaves to sin or people belonging to the darkness but we’re God’s people. The word ‘new’ is the renewal of old into a new form where we become spiritually fresh from the inside and are far different from what we were before. God’s Holy Spirit continues to act in our lives and help us to become like His Son Jesus Christ and simultaneously we aim to please God by our new behavior and attitude. Paul in Colossian 3:9-10 says: You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. In Jn. 2:1-11, Jesus changed water into wine which was His first miracle in Galilee. The water which was tasteless, odorless and colorless was immediately changed into wine. The value of that water increased after getting taste, aroma and color. Similarly, His touch also sparkle our lives with His brightness and makes us new.
Secondly, through this new life we are now reconciled to God. Colossians 1:21-22 says you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him. In Greek ‘reconcile’ mean ‘to be restored to the favor of God’ or ‘to recover God’s favor.’ It’s only because of God’s favor we are able to return back to His fold like Sam Jones. Only through God’s mercy, love and grace we are always protected. Thirdly, after being reconciled to God we have received the responsibility to carry out the ministry of reconciliation as the ambassadors of Christ. Ambassador is an official representative who acts as a figurehead for their country in the foreign land while retaining original citizenship. We should not forget that our citizenship belongs to heaven (Philippians 3:20). Sam Jones after being reconciled to God became famous ambassador of Christ in the nineteenth century and brought millions of people to Him throughout America.
Lastly, only through Christ, God blesses us with His righteousness. Once we acknowledge that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us then He ‘will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9). Bible says, ‘all our righteousness are like filthy rags’ (Is. 64:6) but righteousness of God demands holy and upright living. It’s true that our own merit cannot make us righteous but only through the grace of Christ we become the righteousness of God. The robe of God’s righteousness which we lost it in the Garden of Eden because of our sins has now become our breastplate and our shield so that we may stand against the power of darkness. One of my favorite hymn Love Divine, All Love excelling written by Charles Wesley ends with beautiful words:
Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee:
changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love and praise.