Scripture: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Observation: As we know, Paul is writing to the Corinthian congregation. This is a congregation that has really struggled with Christian living. As Lutheran Christians, we understand that our behavior does not earn us salvation. We call this JUSTIFICATION by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). However we are also careful to make the distinction that, just as this text says, as Christians we are new creations. Paul even says in verse 21 that we literally “become the righteousness of God.” We recognize that now that we have Christ dwelling within us, we are dead to sin. And while we may live in this world, we do not live for this world. Consequently we strive each day to become more like Christ… “compelled” by His love (verse 14). In this way we live out the fact that we are a new creation – and as such we have a new identity in Christ. Now our deeds are not driven out of compulsion or fear, but rather because the Lord lives and works through us. We call this SANCTIFICATION.

Application: I continue to struggle with what it means to live the Christian life. I understand that my works do not earn my favor with God. However I must recognize that wherever I go I bear the name of Christ. Are my actions demonstrating the fact that I am a new creation? How can I live no longer for myself, but for him who died for me and was raised again? (Verse 15).

Prayer: Father, thank you for showing me in your law the sin that I have left behind, and the sins that no longer define me. Thank you also for Jesus Christ. Not only is he my savior from sin, but he is my example for living in a way that is pleasing to you. Help me live less for myself, and more for you. Amen.