Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:1

After looking at the majesty and glory of God through His creation around us, it’s time to look at it in ourselves. So often we remember how unworthy we were and let that dominate our worship and praise (and even attitude) to God. “Look how lofty and holy You are and how sinful and dirty I am! You are so merciful!” Sure, we were dead in our sins. We were sinful and messed up and lost and hopeless and rotting in the grave. But we are a new creation. That was the old creation, and it’s long gone. “The old is gone, the new is here!” (v.17) Look at the emphasis Paul put on that fact. For one thing, it’s an amazing, life-altering miracle of God, but on the other hand, it was something the Corinthians really needed to accept. And we really need to accept it today as well.

“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”(v.20) Implore is not a word to be taken lightly, especially in the Bible. Too often we implore God to forgive us, help us change, and make us the person He is calling us to be. Paul is imploring something else on Jesus’ behalf. The bottom line: Jesus Christ, the One Who died for us and gave us new life, is pleading that you accept His sacrifice as enough and believe He has already made you that new person. There’s no need for groveling at the foot of the cross. Being humble and thankful is one thing, but thinking we have to sit here and beg God to forgive us as if nothing’s changed is not what we are told to do. The cross isn’t the destination: it’s the door. And we can’t truly have freedom in Christ until we’re willing to cut loose of our obsession with who we used to be.

The way I recently learned about this involved a sadly disgusting story as an example, so I’ll try to use my own version. Our old self died with Jesus on the cross and stayed in the grave, and we became the person God is calling us to be. Well, it stayed in the grave until we dug it back up again and started giving it life-saving procedures. You can’t rehabilitate someone who’s dead. We even lift that old creation up for the Father to see and say, “Look how pitiful! You are great and this is pitiful!” What’s pitiful is the fact we’re sitting there going through a whole identity crisis and won’t even look to God for help. That’s not who we are!

There’s a reason Paul said the new creation “has” come and “is” here. When we live in the past, it’s like we’re saying, “Thanks for trying Jesus, but not even the Almighty Son of God can save this wretch, even if You did live a perfect life, suffer and die in agony, and bleed for us. I’ll use some begging and pleading to get there; You’re just not powerful enough.” If you believe you’re saved by the mercy and grace of Christ alone, then you don’t have to earn anything, not even put on some show to “earn” that forgiven feeling every time you pray. You just have to ask, and you will be forgiven because it is a gift.

So pray to the Lord and ask Him to help you see what He has already done and what you don’t have to work or strive to achieve. Remember, our Father doesn’t get mad at us when we sin. We need to repent, be sorry for disobeying God, and acknowledge we have disobeyed God, but once we ask for forgiveness, we don’t need to convince God to give it to us. He already has.

“Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:7b

This can sometimes be hard to see but have faith; it is true! It’s amazing when you accept it! Here are some more verses that tell us about who we are in Christ: