The saving work of Christ in the believer is complete! Sometimes, however, we may think that we are missing what is needed to live as believers. Sure, God has ‘saved’ us, as if the Gospel were only about avoiding hell (it’s not, by the way). But, we have not yet gained or learned all that we need to in order to be who God has called us to be.
The Gospel of Jesus is about much more than the initial act of salvation. If we believe that the work of the Gospel stops at salvation, then we have totally misunderstood who God is and what His purposes are… to our own detriment. God wants us to live in Him. God wants us to be completely satisfied in Him. Our life in Him, our redemption, our forgiveness… It’s all from Him and for Him. For His good pleasure. (Ephesians 1). We have already been given “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” For His good pleasure.
2 Corinthians 5 echoes the same sentiment. God has changed me! For His good pleasure. The life I live in Christ is for Christ. It is not for me or about me. In a strict sense, it is not even for others. My life is “For His good pleasure.”
1. In Christ I am a New Man
2 Corinthians 5:16-17
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. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
I no longer consider others as I once did, focusing on externals and making judgments about people based upon my own standards or prejudices, or based on the world’s standards. I don’t even look at Jesus the same anymore… I know Him now. I am His and He is mine. Everything about me is different now. My wants are different, and so are my thoughts and hopes.
But, why? JESUS!! Because of Jesus, I am a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). I am a child of God, an heir, and a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). I once was dead, but now I am alive in Christ (Colossians 2:13). I am chosen, part of a royal priesthood, God’s special possession (1 Peter 2:9). I am rescued from the dominion of darkness and placed in the Kingdom of Jesus (Colossians 1:13). I am complete in Jesus (Colossians 2:9-10).
I could go on and on. The point is, being a New Creation is much more than just a change of heart and mind. It is a complete spiritual transformation!! The Gospel of Jesus has completely changed me… my standing and position before God. I am alive and Christ lives in me… For His good pleasure.
There is a commercial that says “Having a baby changes everything.” It did not take long for my wife and I to realize the truth in that simple little statement after having our first child.
The same could be said for the work of Jesus… but on a much deeper level! The Gospel changes everything. The Gospel changes EVERYTHING!!
How has the Gospel changed you? How do you view the world differently than your unbelieving friends?
If you are a believer and you don’t really know how to answer that question, I would like to invite you to take some time and chew on it. Ask God to search your heart right now. I would also like to encourage you to get into His Word and begin to let the richness and goodness of It speak deeply into your heart and mind.
2. In Christ I have a New Message
2 Corinthians 5:18-19:
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 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.
I am a new man with a new message. My life is no longer about me. I have been reconciled with God!! The word “reconcile” means “settle or make even two accounts.” In other words, because of the saving work of Jesus, my account has been settled with God. The payment for my sin (that I could NEVER repay) has been paid by Jesus. Just the idea of being reconciled with God is unbelievable. This is a reality that I should live in daily and dwell on often.
This is my new message.
I have been reconciled with God. Not only that, but now I have also been given the ministry of reconciliation. God has changed my message! I am to show others the life-changing, life-saving power of the Gospel. My story, my words and my life are now all part of God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself. This message, the message of reconciliation, is much more magnificent, much more glorious and life-giving than any self-proclaiming message I or the world could ever propagate. This message is worth dying for. This message is worth living for.
“If there’s anything in life that we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate about thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world. Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us. And only the gospel ought to be.” CJ Mahaney, The Cross Centered Life, 20-21.
What message am I speaking (or living out) to the people around me? Is it the message of the Salvation? What would my closest friends/family say is the message I’m speaking the loudest?
3. In Christ I have a New Mission
2 Corinthians 5:20-21:
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I am now on mission for God (and with God). I am His ambassador. I am a representative of the Most High God (Genesis 14:20), the Almighty (Genesis 49:25), the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9). My life is about bringing Him the honor He deserves — showing the world Who He Is and What He has done.
If I move, I move in Him (Acts 17:28). If I boast in anything, let it be in Him (Galatians 6:14). If I do anything, as His ambassador, let it be done for Him Colossians 3:17).
Notice how Paul says, “we implore you on behalf of Christ.” Paul is saying, “we BEG you… be reconciled to God.” Do you hear the urgency in Paul’s voice… “I am begging you, Please, be reconciled to God!”
Paul says, for our sake, God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin… so that we may become the righteousness of God! God did not simply put sin on Jesus… Jesus became sin (Galatians 3:13) for us. God wants you, your family, your friends…everyone so much that He made His only son become sin!
This is my mission… our mission… to be ambassadors… representatives for God… Who reconciled us to Himself.
Who am I living for… really? Who am I making known? Who would those closest to me say I am living for? Me? God? Family?
Dear Christian, God has changed you. God has given you a new message. God has given you a new mission. For His good pleasure.