Links Daily Devotional

What’s New?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)

The PGA Tour season opens today in the wine country of California. Never mind that we’ve hardly had time to miss the old season. Certainly Jimmy Walker has not. The Open defending champion played a full FedExCup playoffs schedule, then competed with the U.S. Ryder Cup team two weekends ago. Now he’s back in Napa, calling the 2014-15 season a brand new one along with the rest of the field.

Ah, the rest of the field. It’s a collection of hangers-on, major champions, young hopefuls, and tour regulars, all trying to get a jumpstart on those who dare to take the fall schedule off.

So whether or not it feels new, sure enough these guys will try to be good, even if many of them are dog tired.

Newness is an intriguing biblical idea as well, discussed often in the context of today’s well-known verse from Paul’s second letter to the believers in Corinth. But perhaps we should take the notion of “well-known” with a dose of hesitation, because there is some discrepancy in the translation of this passage.

Commentator Richard Hays describes it this way: “The sentence in Greek…lacks both subject and verb; a very literal translation might treat the words ‘new creation’ as an exclamatory interjection: ‘If anyone is in Christ — new creation!’”

In the traditional rendering of the verse, as captured in the English Standard Version above, the individual is deemed to be a new creation (or alternatively in some translations, a “new creature”).

What Hays and others are saying about the work of Christ is that it was so pervasive that just one person’s having entered into Christ—something impossible before Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection—ignites a reconditioning of everything as we know it. Read it this way: “Because we see one flower bloom, we know spring has come. And because we see one person restored in Christ, we know that a new order has begun!”

What makes this view of 2 Corinthians 5:17 so compelling? It means that while I may be thrilled with the work Christ has done in me individually, making me new in him, I am wildly aware that the ramifications of this newness reach far beyond me. What Christ has done for me, he has done for all who receive it. It’s as though everyone on the planet who shares my birthday comes together for a giant birthday party—that would be one amazing celebration!

There’s not just one player who’s eager about teeing it up in Napa today. There’s a whole field ready for new. All are excited together, just as we are when we realize the full nature of what Christ has done in bringing new life to the world.

Jeff Hopper
October 9, 2014
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