Day 23 | John Black
2 Corinthians 5: 17-21

Although we do not yet inhabit the new heavens and new
earth of Revelation 21, God’s people can still be
encouraged today as the apostle Paul encouraged the
Corinthians when he penned this letter. During the season
of Christmas, we celebrate the fact that Jesus HAS come
and has ALREADY begun making things new! Notice that
Paul didn’t say “If anyone is in in Christ, he will be a new
creation… so hang tight until Jesus returns.” Rather, the
truth is that if anyone is CURRENTLY in Christ, he IS a new
creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and can in this moment experience
“newness of life” (Rom. 6:4)!

As one responds faithfully to the call of Christ and receives
his “Spirit as a guarantee,” (2 Cor. 5:5), that person is
immediately given a new identity, and it is completely
undeserved. In union with Christ, our sin is not counted
against us (2 Cor. 5:19) because Jesus took that sin on
himself as he bore the wrath of God for our sin on the
cross. Paul stated that in Jesus, God has ALREADY
reconciled his people to himself (2 Cor. 5:18)!

Now, as we consider all that we have gained from the
accomplishments of Christ, we should have peace. We
should have joy. We should have love for Jesus. We
should have hope. But as a result of all of that, we should
also embrace the purpose to which we have been called!
After freeing us from sin’s condemnation, he gave us a
ministry to participate in (2 Cor. 5:18). Jesus didn’t
become sin for us so that we can remain as we are and
do as we will, but that “we might become the
righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21)!
Jesus took the punishment for our sin in order that we
would actively enjoy using his gifts as his ambassadors in
this world. We get to represent him to those who are
without hope. We get to extend the loving hand of Christ
in offering reconciliation to those who are unable to
escape sin’s devastating grip. Not only that, as we walk in
the footsteps of our Savior, he continues to transform us so
that when the day comes that we are face-to-face, we
will resemble him more than the day we first met him. In
that moment of embrace, we will get to hear him say, “I
love you, beautiful child. This is why I came.”