2 Corinthians 5:16-17
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.(ESV)
In my last post I discussed the previous two versus. Paul states that he is controlled by Christ’s love because 1) Christ died for him and 2) When Christ died, Paul died. A revelation of the sufficiency of the Cross changes everything. Because Christ died for me, my standing before God has changed. I have been made righteous. I have been included in the convenant family as a son. Because I died in Christ I have been given a new nature. I am a new person. The old me has been removed.
In these verses Paul continues to develop this idea. A revelation of the sufficiency of the Cross transforms the way I relate to other believers. Because Jesus died for them, because when Jesus died they also died, they too have a new status before God and a new nature. They too have had their old nature removed. They too are righteous. They too are sons. They too are carriers of the divine nature.
So Paul says we are to know no one according to the flesh. This is so very important. Here we clearly see that Paul understands that what we see in someone’s flesh is often incongruent with what is true about their identity in Christ. We must see beyond that which is observable with our natural eyes and choose to see people as heaven sees them. The old things really have passed away. If we only observe the flesh we will not think the old things have passed away. We will relate to people on that basis, as if the old things were still present. But if we understand the sufficiency of the Cross, then we will see others through the lens of His perfect provision.
What if we were to determine to shift the way we see others in light of this truth? What if we were to choose to relate to others solely on the basis of their identity in Christ rather than their current attitudes, behaviors, or shortcomings? What if we were to begin to relate to our children this way? Our spouses?
I believe there is something powerful and redemptive released among us when we choose to see one another as God sees us – in Christ.