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Week:10, Season:1, 2016 Posted on Saturday by PCT

The New Creation in Christ

Scripture:2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16 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. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] the old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Two types of love

I was born into a loving family. Both my parents loved me very much though in different ways. My father always bought me good stuff, fun toys or took me to interesting places. I still remember there was one night in my childhood, my father had just come back from working in another town, and he brought me a wooden train set. The warm and sweet feeling in the bottom of my heart is something unforgettable to me. In my high school days, my biggest fear was the writing class but my mother even arranged for me to take after school writing classes. So I needed to write at least three pieces of work every week which made me feel stressed. After I grew up, I gradually realised that the training from the writing classes actually equipped me with the skills to serve God with words. My talent in writing also contributed a lot to my church work. Now I finally understand my mother’s love and her vision, “a love with commands”.

The new creation encouraged by the love of God

Topologists said that there is one type of love which surpasses the love from parents, which is the love of Christ. The sacrificial love of Jesus Christ is indeed greater than any other type of love. There is no other love like the love and sacrifice given by our parents which can be closer to the love of Christ. The love of Christ is like the love of parents, it sometimes is “a love with mercy,” and sometimes it is “a love with commands.” As Christians, we might often see pictures of Jesus as a shepherd and we imagine that Jesus’ love is like the merciful shepherd who holds his little lamp. We need to bear in mind that the love of Christ is often “a love with commands.”

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 reminds us that we need to see others with the eyes of Christ, so to become a new creation. The foundation of this Bible passage is established upon what has been told in verses 14-15: For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. In some other Chinese Bible versions, the word “compel” is also translated into encouraging, urging, and crying to; while in Greek text it has meanings of forcing, constraining, controlling, and even oppression. In other words, the greatest love for which Jesus Christ sacrificed himself to carry our human sins not only encourages people but it also requests us to live for Christ and reply to his love as we receive this greatest one.

At the time, the Corinthian church was troubled with internal and external misunderstandings. Many members argued and blamed each other and sometimes even questioned Paul and other disciples’ work and criticised their attitude as shallow and selfish. The members of the Corinthian church were in need of learning to love one another. Therefore, Paul wrote letters to remind them not to judge and know Jesus from his appearance and flesh but to learn from his example of loving one another and to let the love of Christ guide their behaviour.

Furthermore, this passage also tells us that Jesus guides us with his sacrificial love. If we are willing to accept his “love with commands,” we will be able to live in him. And when we live in the Christ, our lives will be filled with love and we will determine to live for him. So we can become a “new being” by renewing our mind in Christ.

New mission for new beings

Now the question is: how to receive the love of Christ and become a new being? The action of reconciliation with God is one of the main practices of faith. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” The message in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 reveals that the new life in Christ is a life to do the ministry of reconciliation. Christ is the bridge of reconciliation between men and God. As the mediator, Christ helps men and God establish a reconciled relationship and those who are reconciled with God have the mission to share this gospel of reconciliation. So Paul worked with his co-workers to encourage the members of the Corinthian church to reconcile with God and people. They demonstrated how to be the messengers of Christ and live a life carrying the cross of Christ through mission and action. Paul also emphasised that the new relationship with God, the reconciled one, was established based on the sacrificial love of Christ.

The church I served, Lo-Siong Church, has a week day ministry to children through an after-school group. But because the educational building is still under construction, the current forty children can only stay in the church main hall for this after-school group. The confined space for them has made arguments between children happen quite frequently. However, whenever an argument occurs, the group leader always deals it with wisdom from God. Rather than allowing the arguing children get what they want, the leader asked them to calm sown and reflect on what they did wrong to argue with each other, and give apologies. Then the leader guides them to think of how to adjust their attitude to avoid future arguments. Conflicts between people is often due to wrong desires or different opinions. So when someone holds different opinions or oppositions against us, argument and upset occurs. Only when one end is willing to sacrifice, to yield the thought can lead to reconcile. Ture reconciliation is built on the willingness to learn from Jesus’ example and give out our love to sacrifice.

In the Faith Confess of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, it says, “We believe that the Church is the fellowship of God's people, called to proclaim the salvation of Jesus Christ and to be the ambassador of reconciliation…and through love and suffering becoming the sign of hope.” We must experience the salvation of Jesus Christ, the power of resurrection, to live as a peace maker who reconcile with God and people. The only way towards reconciliation is through love and suffering to demonstrate our love of sacrifice.

Let Christ compel our life

Silicone is a common plastic material used in very often in interior decoration. After solidified, it has adhesion and water-resistance function. When applying the silicone, the operator needs to put pressure on the back handle of the silicone tube in order to squeeze the materials out. As a limit creation, we know that we must love one another and be the peace maker to God, but we often cannot follow this command. This is because though we have talents from God and knowing that we need to claim the gospel of reconciliation, the human nature of laziness, complaints and pride often control us. Only when we are willing to allow Jesus compel our life, put pressure on our shoulder to push us out of our comfort zone, as if the silicone needs to be squeeze out the tube, we hence will be able to show the grace of God on us and live in love, peace, and reconciliation.

When we can truly accept the sacrificial love and the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and are willing to be compelled by Jesus who inspires us to sacrifice our selfishness to love one another, that is the moment we truly have life in Christ and become a new being. When we become new beings in Christ, we therefore can reconcile with God and live in peace with all others to show our life is a sign of remembering the cross of Christ.

For discussion:

1. Have you felt the love of others? How should we to learn to love one another?
2. Did you truly accept the sacrificial love of Christ and are you willing to accept his guidance to live a life with Christ in you as a new being? If so, how do you think you can practise it?
3. How to become a messenger to Christ to spread the good news of the gospel in our everyday life?

Please pray for:

1. the love of Jesus truly being in my heart; make me a person who is inspired by Him and become capable of loving others more. May God help me to live with actions of love in everyday life.
2. That all Christians can become messengers of reconciliation; may all churches be filled with the grace of God.


Sacrificed Lord Jesus, we give thanks to you that you gave your precious life to let us witness the deepest love in the world. Please help us to reflect on our own wrong doings and confess our sins; help us to accept your encouragement and request to live our life to honour you. We pray that we can live according to your commandment of love always and become Christians who truly love God and love people. May you help us to live a graceful life with your grace and to claim the gospel of the good news so that we can become a blessing to others as well as messengers of peace. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.

Something you can do:

1. During the season of Lent, spend some time reflecting on Christ’s crucifixion. Quiet your mind and rethink how Jesus’ love can be sent through you and me in everyday life.
2. Are you having some disagreement with maybe a family member, friend, colleague or school mate at the moment? Pray for it. Ask Jesus to come to you and guide you with his love to find a way to reconcile with them again.