2 Corinthians 5:18-19 – Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Messiah and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Messiah, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us.
The very heart of the gospel message has always been about reconciliation and forgiveness. In reconciliation an exchange takes place; exchanging hostility for mercy, exchanging disdain for favor. There is a restorative function in reconciliation: where once there was distance and separation there is now closeness and connection.
Reconciliation takes place when two parties have been separated, and reconciliation then brings them back together. For this to happen there has to be a release, a letting go of injury or transgression; there has to be forgiveness.
In Messiah, reconciliation for Israel with God was accomplished. He became the suffering servant of Isaiah’s prophecy that would be the ultimate representative sacrifice for the nation.
In Messiah, the scattered Israelites who had been absorbed among the nations due to God divorcing them for their rebellious idolatry (like those in Corinth) were reconciled back to him through faith.
In Messiah, any of us who have been separate and distinct from the God of Israel and his people are brought near through faith in him.
Galatians 3:26 – for through faith you are all sons of God in Messiah Yeshua.
All of this can only be accomplished when something unique takes place. Paul tells us what this is in this passage:
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 – From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Messiah from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way. Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
Paul says that believers in Messiah can no longer view anyone from a worldly perspective, literally “according to the flesh.” What they are in the flesh is of no consequence when we are living according to the new creation.
Romans 10:11-12 – For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him.
Galatians 3:27-28 – For those of you who were baptized into Messiah have been clothed with Messiah. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.
Colossians 3:10-11 – You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. In Messiah there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Messiah is all and in all.
This lack of distinction should be evident in the new creation of God’s kingdom people. In Messiah, all is reconciliation and unity. Just as God does with us, we can no longer look at the fleshly distinctions that separate us from each other. If we retain unforgiveness in our heart, it is due to the fact that we are continuing to look at those who have offended us through fleshly eyes, not the eyes of the new creation.
Because we ourselves are a new creation, we should no longer have a need to retain unforgiveness and separation in our hearts toward those from whom we have separated over some infraction or hurt. We can release it and let it go because we are no longer the same individuals we were before, and because we are no longer viewing them through fleshly eyes.
2 Corinthians 5:16 – From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective.
Even though we were sinful and rebellious toward God, he forgave us and reconciled us to himself. He did not look at us from a worldly perspective but from the perspective of the new creation, the kingdom perspective. As his children, we should do likewise with others.
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