I received salvation at the young age of 9, and it wasn’t until the final years of high school that I even began to grasp the complete restoration and resurrection that those in Christ undergo. So passages like 2 Corinthians 5:17–19 didn’t always track with me, because I didn’t really have an “old” to look back on or a time in which I was wildly disobedient towards the will of God. As a child, you can only be so disobedient — at least in the worldly sense.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 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.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17–19
But, as I’ve gotten older and (slightly) more mature than my 3rd-grade self, I’ve started to realize and understand the incredible transformation Christ takes us through when we profess our faith in him.
Think of anyone you know of that’s an expert in his or her field. I picture an NBA superstar. That player didn’t wake up in his senior year of high school and suddenly have the ability to make three-pointers, to dunk over guys that are 6'9" or to be the face of Nike. It took days, months and years of hard work and determination, and that was just to get a college scholarship. He then had to take that same hard work and determination and double — or, more likely, triple — that effort in order to be drafted by an NBA team. He then had to work inordinately harder to become the best on his team, let alone the entire league.
Okay, so, how does that relate to 2 Corinthians 5? Good question.
The point is, any ability that we humans possess or achievement we reach is always attributed to, essentially, an incomprehensible amount of work that then led up to that achievement.
But not when it comes to our salvation.
When we step out of a life of sin, pain and sorrow and step into the grace, mercy and glory of Jesus Christ, we simultaneously experience the greatest transformation any human is capable of experiencing and enter the most important and life-changing kingdom any human is capable of entering — all because of a simple profession of faith.
What Christ does for us when he breaks our chains of bondage and sin is nothing short of being the most important action in the history of mankind. Nothing else even comes close.
I know that illustration probably still fails to help you fully understand the newness we’ve received in Christ, but I hope it at least spurns you to really take a look at that passage for yourself and meditate on it, asking God to reveal that truth to you so that you can fully rest in him, just as Ephesians 2:6 speaks of.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
— Ephesians 2:4–6