A few years ago, a TV chef rose in popularity based on a three-letter catch word: BAM! Emeril Lagasse bounced around the made-for-TV kitchen, added ingredients with flare to “kick it up a notch!” When adding a spice or perhaps a final touch of glaze, he would shout BAM! It was the equivalent of a culinary Big Bang Moment: Bam! And there’s a perfect flan. BAM! There’s some chili to die for! BAM!
In 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Paul is describing a major shift. Because of what God has done in Christ, everything is different. We don’t see one another as we once did. In fact, if anyone is in Christ, the old has gone. The following phrase lacks a verb in the Greek so it is as if Paul says, “The old has gone, and BAM! New Creation!” Like Emeril flinging spices, God bursts into the scene of broken Creation and unleashes redemption.
Nothing we have done has wrought such a dramatic change. God in Christ has reconciled and the world to himself. The once fractured relationship is BAM! made new at God’s initiative.
And yet, the transformation does not stop with a new status before God. It comes with a new vocation: Co-reconciler and ambassador for Christ. We are invited to share what God has done and wants to do in each person, but we are also invited to get to work reconciling relationships. In some mysterious way, our vertical relationship (us to God) has a direct impact on our horizontal relationships (me to you) and vice versa. This radical newness transforms how we interact with one another. We forgive as we have been forgiven. We do not hold people’s sins against them as God has not held our sins against us. We invite people into the fellowship of faith, people we never would have crossed paths with otherwise.
The old has gone and BAM! New Creation!
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Grace and Peace