2 Corinthians 5:16-19
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. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
How often are we tempted to make a judgment about someone based on their appearance? When we meet someone for the first time, we instantly make hundreds of judgments about them based on how they look. We judge the person’s attractiveness, fashion, disposition, and manner of speaking. Often these judgments shape the way we respond to the person. Will we be kind, tolerate or even ignore them?
In this passage the Apostle Paul calls Christians to avoid making judgments in this manner, “from a worldly point of view.” Instead, Christians are to strive to see people as God does, by looking at their heart. What truly matters is a person’s character, which always expresses itself in words, deeds and thoughts.
But this is hard! How can we do it? We naturally judge others by the outward appearance, for this is how we naturally judge ourselves. The answer is in verse 17. A person who has been saved by the grace of God in Christ is now a new creation. The old ways have gone. We, as new creations in Christ, belong to the new created order: “the old has gone, the new is here!”
And this magnificent, ongoing change is “all from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (v. 18). There is nothing in salvation to be personally proud of. God is the one who has changed us. He is the source and end of reconciliation. And yet, how can we keep this good news to ourselves? There is a new world order! We must say, plead and cry out to people, “be reconciled to God through Christ.”
Ask God to help you today to judge everyone you encounter in the same way: not by their appearance, importance, or what they can do for you, but rather, by whether or not they have trusted in Jesus and been reconciled to God through his amazing grace. Secondly, don’t judge yourself by your “appearance” (e.g. status) in the world. What truly matters is that you are a new creation in Christ, a part of God’s new world order. Finally, remember you are a messenger of reconciliation. Share the good news that Jesus has been raised, and as Aslan the lion says in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, “death itself has begun to work backwards.”
The GRC Children’s Ministry is also providing a family Lenten Devotional which is available here.
Note: Each day’s devotional is written by a different member of the GRC family.