2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (ESVST)
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
According to the flesh in the above verse means from the human point of view. Whenever the word flesh is used in the bible in most cases it means sin or things of the human world or human pointy of view as opposed to that of God or of the Holy Spirit.
So what Paul is saying is that from now on, meaning from this point onwards, they regard or evaluate no one according to human view point, according to this world’s standard. Paul’s says even though they did that before and even evaluated Jesus Christ according to world standards, they no longer regard or evaluate Jesus from the human point of view.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
This verse starts with the word “therefore” indicating a continuation form the verse above. Paul is saying that since we no longer use world standards to evaluate anyone or to evaluate Jesus Christ, therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation and the old has passed away. The word new in Greek here is the word “kainos” which means qulaitatively new. This means that by a new creation, Paul is not saying the old has been replaced but rather that the quality of the old has been improved or made better.
As a Christian you are still the same person but you a now of better quality, you are now of better standard since you are no longer evaluating based on human standards but of God.
A good example would be a soccer player who is by birth a very talented player but because of the coach he has, his talent is not nourished and exposed but, as soon as he gets a better coach, the same player now becomes a better player whose talents are now exposed and nourished. We have as Christians obtained a far much better coach in God who has now made us completely of better quality.
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
We are all sinners and because of sin we were seperated from God and on death row, why, the wages of sin is death. God because of his own mercy and grace, we became a new creation, we became of better quality not because we worked harder or we did something to improve our own quality but all of this is from God.
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. By the ministry of reconciliation, Paul means that God gave us a task to reconcile others to God as a service to him.
This reconciliation through Christ by God means that firstly in Christ God was reconciling the world, not just the Jews, but the world to himself. Secondly, God forgave us and stopped counting our trespasses against him and lastly he tasked us with the ministry of reconciliation to ensure that as a service to him, we pass on the message of reconciliation to others so that all may know that God has reconciled us back to him.
This again is ample enough proof to show that God because he is so loving and so merciful, by his grace through Christ, without us having to do anything, He decided to reconcile us to himself by forgiving us our sins and stopping to count our sins against him and by sending his son Jesus to die for us so that those that beleive, may be reconciled back to him. Salvation is by grace through Faith in Jesus Christ.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Now that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, we are now ambassadors for Christ. God is making an appeal to others through us, God is calling others through us. The word ambassador used here in Greek is in an indicative mood meaning that as a matter of fact, we are ambassadors. This is not Paul’s opinion but it is a fact. The word “implore” in the verse is also in an indicative mood, meaning that Paul is saying that it is a fact that on behalf of Christ that, we request you to be reconciled to God. The word “reconciled” is in an imperative mood, meaning that Paul is strongly requesting, maybe even a command to unbelievers that they be reconciled with God.
Again the word “made” in verse 21 is in an indicative mood meaning that Paul is saying that it is a fact that God, for our sake, made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin and the reason was so that we as the real sinners might become the righteousness of God.
I am using the Greek to show what Paul intended to achieve and how those that were listening would have understood him.
As ambassadors of God, let us take this ministry serious and may God grant us the wisdom and strength to perform this ministry God’s way and in His Glory, in Jesus name, Amen.