“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” - 2 Corinthians 5:9
Last week, millions of Americans made New Year’s Resolutions. According to a survey featured on Parade.com, these were some of the most popular resolutions for 2020: “Stop procrastinating.” “Manage stress better.” “Exercise.” “Lose weight.” Now, these aren’t bad goals. All of them could be very good things to accomplish. But if you think about it … all of these new year’s resolutions could be made and successfully carried out by an atheist.
But for people who proclaim that Jesus Christ is the most important person in our lives—people who believe that our lives here on earth are just a drop in the water bucket of eternity—these goals are rather shallow. You see, our best goals don’t just aim to make ME temporarily better here on earth. Our best goals aim to make an eternal impact on others and to please God. Wouldn’t it have been encouraging if some of these goals had made the list: “Donate blood five times this year.” “Volunteer every month at my local pregnancy center.” “Take my family to church every week.” “Lead one person to a saving knowledge of Christ in 2020.”
In 2 Corinthians 5:9, Paul reminds us: “We make it our goal to please [God], whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” In other words, whether we’re here on earth or there in heaven, our goal as believers and followers of Jesus Christ is to please God. And as we look ahead to 2020, we should ask ourselves this important question: How are we going to please God this year?
Everyone loves a fresh start. Maybe that’s why, for many of us, 2 Corinthians 5:17 is one of our favorite verses in the whole Bible: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” This is an awesome verse—in fact, it’s the theme verse for our student ministries at Impact Christian Church. But we shouldn’t forget the context that surrounds this verse. When we become a “new creation” in Christ, Paul tells us that the “old has gone.” But what “old” things is he talking about?
According to 2 Corinthians 5:16, one of the “old” things that is gone is our perspective on people. Before we became followers of Christ, we viewed most people around us as annoying and inconvenient, didn’t we? And when we’re stuck in traffic in the
, or tenth in line at WalMart,
we may still view people this way. But according to verse 17, when we are
followers of Christ, God gives us a “new” perspective on people. Cajon Pass
And that new perspective is explained in verses 18 and 19: that God reconciled himself to us through Jesus Christ, giving us, his followers, the ministry of reconciliation. Instead of having a self-centered perspective of people, God has given us an others-centered perspective. The New Testament teaches us to use that perspective to love our neighbors, pray for those who persecute us, forgive others and be kind and compassionate to them. But according to verse 20, one of the very best ways that we can live out our others-centered perspective is to be Jesus’ ambassadors who “implore” (urge) people to “be reconciled to God.”
In other words, the best thing that I could ever do for another person is to lead him or her into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. And the best thing that I could ever do for a person is also the best thing that I could ever do for God Himself. If you really want to please God and, at the same time, be the biggest blessing to others, then lead people to Jesus Christ.
If you’re a Christian, you are a new creation in Christ. And your greatest role as a new creation in Christ is as an ambassador for Christ. He is sending you into your family, into your neighborhood, into your workplace, into your school, and into your local WalMart to be his ambassador. Wherever you go and whoever you’re with, you represent the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He has commissioned you to love and serve people by leading them to Him. And that’s a blessing that will last far beyond 2020—all the way into eternity.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our worship service Sunday at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.