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  • 🧠 2 Corinthians 5:17 | Reconciliation, New Creation & Butterflies

🧠 2 Corinthians 5:17 | Reconciliation, New Creation & Butterflies

PLUS: Quotes from Guzik, Spurgeon and resources to help you dig deeper

Howdy 👋 

If you missed the Monday or Tuesday emails, you can click here to read them (scroll down after clicking to read them).

📧 In today’s email…

  • 🤝 The ministry of reconciliation

  • 🦋 The paradox of being a new creation

  • 🤓 Quotes from Guzik and Spurgeon

  • 📚️ Resources to help you connect further with 2 Cor 5:17

 🧠 Memorize

see if you know what words go in the blanks

Therefore, if _______ __ __ ______, __ __ _ ___ creation. The old has passed ____; behold, ___ ___ has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

(Answer key below. You can also use our free web app to memorize in your favorite translation. Set up instructions are linked at the bottom of this email.)

🤝 The Ministry of Reconciliation

Yesterday, we learned that the original audience of 2 Corinthians was the church in a city known for immorality of many kinds.

And that in his first letter, Paul addressed signs that the Corinthians were acting in the flesh (division within the church, sexual immorality, etc.)

Look at the language Paul uses in his first letter to the Corinthians:

1  But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,

3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

1 Corinthians 3:1

Now, let’s look at 2 Corinthians.

When you read Chapter 5, you’ll probably notice a heading that says:

The Ministry of Reconciliation

This idea is central to what our memory verse is getting at, so let’s dig in.

What is the ministry of reconciliation?

Let’s look at 2 Cor 5:18-19 (directly after our memory verse):

18  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;

19  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

📖 3 key aspects of the ministry of reconciliation

1. God did the reconciling, not us.

The work is done, not by our efforts, but by Jesus’ work on the cross.

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Cor 5:21

2. Although God did the work, we must actively receive it.

Paul urges the Corinthians in verse 20 to “be reconciled” - to live as if they were actually reconciled to God.

This is the rhythm of the gospel. And it’s the only way we can truly be a new creation.

God acts, we respond.

Jesus died on the cross, paying the penalty for our sin.

We respond by living our life as people who have been:

  1. pardoned from punishment we deserve (forgiven)

  2. gifted the righteousness Jesus deserves (justified)

3. God entrusts us to share this message of reconciliation with the world and to represent Him as ambassadors.

Always encouraged when I get to hear my good friend bring us the truth from the Word of God!

God gave us work to do until he returns:

  • 🗣️ In word: Share with the people around us that they have been reconciled to God through the work of Jesus

  • 💼 In deed: Live our lives as a new creation, representing God to the world in every area of our lives.

💡 Tomorrow, we’ll connect our memory verse to the larger story of Scripture!

🦋 The Uniqueness of Being a New Creation

Yesterday, we talked about this unique idea of being a “new creation.”

We said it’s not just some moral upgrade or God’s way of pressing the “undo” button and starting over from scratch.

On one hand, we’re still us. We have the same name and might live in the same place or have the same job. So much of us feels the same.

But on the other hand, we are brand new…we’re a totally new creature.

It almost seems like a paradox - as if both things can’t be true at the same time.

But in many ways, I think this transformation we experience in Christ mirrors the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

The greek word for ‘transform’ used in Romans 12:2 (“be transformed by the renewing of your mind”) is metamorphoō.

Which is where we get the word metamorphosis, which describes the change a caterpillar undergoes when it becomes a butterfly.

After much effort, I finally managed to get a photo of this butterfly sipping nectar from a pink ixora flower.

A caterpillar shares the same DNA makeup of a butterfly, but it takes on an entirely new form.

It becomes a new creature.

In the same way, when the Spirit of God comes into our life, we are made new.

Or in the words of Jesus, we are born again.

God is the Creator God. He doesn't want to say, "Okay, creation was very good, but I'm scrapping it." He wants to say, "Creation is so good that I'm going to rescue it."

David Guzik

Apply & respond: Reflect 🤔 

The process of being transformed is just that…a process.

In the second part of our memory verse, Paul says:

The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Read 📖 

In Ephesians 4, Pauls instructs the Christians in Ephesus:

22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-23
Reflect 🤔 

As you read Paul’s words in Ephesians 4, is there a specific area of your life you need to let God transform?

Are you struggling with:

  • Selfishness?

  • Unforgiveness?

  • Bitterness?

  • Idolatry?

  • Unrepentant sin?

✍️ What’s one way God is inviting you to “put off your old self” and walk in your life as a new creation?

Wisdom 🧐 

It is unfair for us to expect those who are not in Christ to live as if they were a new creation. However, it is not unfair to expect a changed life from people who say they are Christians.

David Guzik

I know no language, I believe there is none, that can express a greater or more thorough and more radical renewal, than that which is expressed in the term, ‘a new creature.’

Charles Spurgeon

Recommended Resources 🎙️ 

Here are a few resources to help you dig deeper into this week’s passage and topics:

💻️ We recently spent hours turning our lessons on John 15:5 and Psalm 63:1 into a 14-Day Scripture Memory eDevotional.

If you want to support our work, have a printed version of our content for yourself, or if you want to easily share it with a friend, check it out!

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Answer key  

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Tomorrow, we’ll connect our memory verse to the larger story of Scripture!

Have a great Wednesday! 🐫 

Best,

Kieran & Isaac 🙏 

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