“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Whenever you see the word “therefore” in the Bible, you should ask yourself the question, “What is it there for?” “Therefore” links what is being said to what has been said. To best understand this passage, you have to read it in its context.
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. 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!” 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NIV)
The word “therefore” in our passage is Paul’s way of moving us from explanation to application. First, he introduces a teaching: Compelled by the love of Christ and His death for us all, we have a new point of view in life:
- We have a new view of ourselves. We no longer live just for ourselves. Compelled by His love for us, we live with a new motivation to please Him in all we do. An ego-centered life is exchanged for a Christ-centered life. We are motivated by love to put Christ first in every area of our lives.
- We have a new view of others. We see them as people for whom Christ died and rose again. We no longer see them as friends or enemies, relatives or co-workers. We see them the way Christ sees them, as lost sheep who need a shepherd and as sinners who need a Savior; Christ love compels us to share His love with them.
- We have a new view of Christ. We no longer regard Christ as the world does, just as a baby in a manager or a good man who taught others. We see Him as He is, God in the flesh, a sinless Savior who offers forgiveness to all mankind and is coming again to establish His rule and reign.
Because we are part of a new creation, everything becomes new! We are in this world but we are no longer of this world! I love the way C.S. Lewis said it,
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world … I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”