– 2 Corinthians 5:17
Our Sinful Nature
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians that we are new creations in Christ, and the old is gone while the new has come, He was saying that our old sinful nature has been replaced; however, the old sinful nature doesn’t die easily. It rears its ugly head all too often, and we’ll battle this old nature for the rest of our lives. Paul wrote, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom. 7:19). Know what he means? I do the things that I don’t want to do, and the things I know I should do, I don’t. How frustrating. But Paul finished, asking, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death” (Rom. 7:24) and then answering his own question: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:25a).
Our New Heart
Ezekiel was writing about Israel, but this also applies to everyone who has been born again where God says that “I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19). I don’t know about you, but I needed heart surgery, a new heart to be exact, because the old one was desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). God declares, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26). A new heart makes us a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
Our New Desire
Once a person is born again, their heart is changed and it becomes softer and more tender for the things of God. Paul wrote that since “through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18), “we are [now] ambassadors for Christ [and] God [is] making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20a) to see others be saved. The old nature could have cared less about lost people because we were lost at that time, but with a new heart, we have new desires, God-given desires to seek and to save that which is lost. This makes us “ambassadors for Christ,” and as ambassadors, we represent the kingdom and should be seeking to bring others into it.
Our New Standing
One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is one that sums up the Gospel of Jesus Christ in one verse. This verse is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21, which says that it was “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” It was not by our works but by Jesus’ righteousness that was accredited or imputed toward us. We’re not separated from God by sin anymore (Isaiah 59:2); rather, “Christ reconciled us to himself” (2 Cor. 5:18) by giving Himself.
Today I am not the man I used to be, even 10 or 20 years ago, and I hope you aren’t either. That’s because our old sinful nature, while not dead, has been changed. God has given us a new heart, a heart for the lost, and we can now stand before a holy God with no condemnation because of Christ. Hallelujah!