“So from now on we do not regard anyone according to the flesh. Yes, though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet we do not regard Him as such from now on. Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new.” — 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 MEV
Verse 17 is my life verse — I love it that I am all new. But you see it starts with “therefore,” so today when this verse came up in my lectio divina, I wanted to look up and remember what the “therefore” was referencing.
Paul is saying he used to know Christ “after the flesh,” in the way “the world” knows Jesus, we would say. And what way is that? The way of the transaction: the way many Christians know Jesus: we try not to sin and he takes us to heaven.
But now, Paul says, we don’t know him that way anymore. We know him in the new way of grace, a relationship with a friend, Savior, brother, who loves us no matter how we behave. There is no more “transaction” to this relationship; Jesus does it all. Therefore: all things are new for us, and we behave a new way.
We become new people, a new kind of people, who trust wholly to God’s love, and have no heartache with any evil. We trust that Jesus dealt with evil on the cross, so we need not deal with it.
When we see evil or injustice, we are moved to protect the victims — but we are not moved to condemn the perpetrators. We are a new kind of people who see that the perpetrators themselves are still trapped in the old way. We see brothers and sisters who need to be set free, just as their victims need to be protected.
And when all people become this new kind of people, evil will take care of itself; it will cease because the perpetrators themselves will have been made new. All things new.