The Life-Changing 2 Corinthians 5:17 Meaning (the old has gone the new has come)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

This verse is an incredible promise that every follower of Jesus should hold onto. The old has gone, the new has come! Yet, we often struggle to apply the 2 Corinthians 5:17 meaning to our lives. 

So, I want to dive into what this verse really means, and then look at how we can live it out. Let’s start by looking at the context of 2 Corinthians 5:17. 

The Context Of 2 Corinthians 5:17

2 Corinthians was a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. In this letter Paul urges his readers to live out and apply their faith. One of his common messages is showing how Jesus is greater than the temporary suffering experienced in this life. 

In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul encourages his readers to keep their eyes on the eternal prize and not the temporary things in this life. He uses his life as an example; he continually suffers for preaching the Gospel. But he doesn’t stop; he keeps showing people God’s love. 

Paul’s argument in this chapter is that we should have the same mindset (2 Corinthians 5:6). We should focus on the eternal prize that’s waiting for us. We should live by faith and not by sight

How is this possible? Through the work of Jesus. Paul is constantly reminding his audience that they have been reconciled to God. Their sins are no longer counted against them. That they can have an incredible life through God. 

And that’s what leads us to 2 Corinthians 5:17. Paul is continuing with this thought. 

The 2 Corinthians 5:17 Meaning 

To help you better understand the 2 Corinthians 5:17 meaning, I’ve broken this verse into three sections. After we look at the meaning we will dive into how it applies to your life. 

Therefore If Anyone Is In Christ

Whenever you see a “therefore” you should pause and ask, “what is this there for?” They often reveal some incredible truth. 

Typically “therefore’s” represent a culmination of a previous thought that is now built to a conclusion. Because God did this, we should do this… 

In this case Paul is drawing a conclusion from 2 Corinthians 5:11-16. Paul here is talking about Christ’s love for us and how that compels us to step into the life he has for us. He reminds his readers that Jesus’ love was so great that he died on the cross for us. 

Because of what Jesus has done, Paul is reminding all who are in Christ of the implications of that. 

The New Creation Has Come

When we place our faith in Jesus we become a new creation. Obviously there are things that don’t change in this new creation. We keep our physical features, our personality, family, and are still susceptible to sin. Those things don’t change in this new creation. 

Other things do change. Our view of life, our priorities, our perspectives, our shame, and the things that once entrapped us all change. Not only that, but this new life brings with it peace and joy. In essence, we can live life as God intended. 

But maybe the biggest change in this new creation is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have God living in us. The Holy Spirit directs, guides, protects, and comforts us. We are truly a new creation. 

The Old Has Gone The New Is Here

A new creation also means that there is an old creation that is passing. We once filled our lives with things other than God that promised us peace, happiness, and joy. But they ended up robbing us. They didn’t bring life, rather death. 

When we step into the life God has for us these things pass away so that new life can come. A follower of Jesus is a new creation. We were once governed by our sinful nature, but now we live by the spirit. 

While from the outside we may look the same, it’s what is on the inside that has changed. In Christ we have a new purpose, new mission, new freedom, and incredible joy. Those who are in Jesus are an entirely new creation. 

How To Apply 2 Corinthians 5:17 To Your Life 

So how does the meaning of 2 Corinthians 5:17 apply to our everyday life? You likely feel a little bit of tension. While you likely see God breathing life into you, there’s likely still evidence of the old life: sin. 

The reality is we all will continue to sin. But there’s a difference between living in sin and committing a sin. No one can achieve a sinless life this side of heaven. But a follower of Jesus has been set free and redeemed. Yes, they will still sin. But as they pursue Jesus they will sin less and less and desire it less also. 

The difference between the new creation and old creation is that the new is no longer a slave to sin. We are freed and sin no longer has power over us. We now have a choice to let sin control us or to step into the freedom that God has for us. 

So, when you sin don’t let it control you. Turn back to God and rest in his grace. Give up your faults and failures, and let him redeem you, bring you from death to life. Over time you will see an incredible transformation in you. 

If you are looking for a resource to help you grow your faith I HIGHLY recommend Mark Moore’s books Core 52 and Quest 52. These simple 15 minute daily readings will help you connect with God and understand the Bible better. They are INCREDIBLE. Plus there’s kids/teen versions as well! 

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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