The first verse in the Bible that I memorized after becoming a Christian was 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV)
I was not only saved from eternal damnation, I was a new creation! I had been Born-Again! If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you too are a totally new creation through the creative act of God!
Funny thing is with scripture memorization is that we tend to pick and choose individual verses out of a passage of the Bible and “leave the rest”; sometimes missing the whole point of the total passage.
For example, it took me a few years to read the next verses in 2 Corinthians 5 (v18-20) in which the apostle Paul wrote that we are not only new creations but we have been given (v.18) “the ministry of reconciliation, (v. 19) “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” We are now God’s ambassadors to this world (v.20) “as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God”.(NKJV)
Sadly, it took me many years; perhaps decades, to come to the next verse in 2 Corinthians 5 which is perhaps one of the greatest verses in the whole Bible that talk about the grace and goodness of God:
(v.21) “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (NKJV)
The Amplified Bible puts it this way; “For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with him, by His goodness].
In my own words: “For He (the Heavenly Father) made Him (Jesus Christ)who knew no sin (to miss the mark) to be sin for us (to miss the mark and so not share in the prize, that is, (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) tosin: – for your faults, offend, sin, trespass.) that we might become the righteousness (innocent, holy; absolutely or relatively; just, meeting the some total requirements) of God in Him (Jesus Christ).”
My first question in reading this verse is “Did the Father make Jesus take on the sins of the world?” The answer is “yes” when He died on the cross for us.
My second question in reading this verse is; “If that is true, then what does that make us?” The answer is “We are declared righteous in the eyes of this Holy God- in Jesus Christ”. IN HIM “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV). Say that out loud, “I am the righteousness of God IN Christ!” Do you believe that; you should! Glory to God!
You see, God didn’t over look our sins, Jesus paid for our sins by His death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus died that we might live; and He did it BEFORE we knew about; while we were still sinners.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8 NKJV); and“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV)
All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; and put their complete faith and trust in Him and His complete work on the cross are brought into right relationship with God. This righteousness is unattainable by simply trying to completely obey the law, or by a person’s own merit, or by any other condition other than faith in Jesus Christ.
The person who trusts in Jesus Christ becomes “the righteousness of God in Him”; and becomes in Jesus Christ all that God requires a man to be, all that he could never be in himself. That is the grace and goodness of God!
The Apostle Paul goes on in his second letter to the Corinthians telling us to not take this grace for granted because TODAY is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:1); “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul is saying that you too; like I did, can become a new creation. If you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior (accept His payment for your sin) and Lord (submit to His will for your life) you too will become a totally new creation through the creative act of God! You too will be brought into right relationship with God!
Today is the day of salvation; don’t put it off for one more moment.
Romans 10:8-11 “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (NKJV)
New King James Version © 1984 Thomas Nelson
Amplified Version © 1987 The Zondervan Corporation