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17 Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished.[a] Behold, everything is fresh and new.[b] 18 And God has made all things new,[c] and reconciled[d] us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God. 19 In other words, it was through the Anointed One that God was shepherding the world,[e] not even keeping records of their transgressions, and he has entrusted to us the ministry of opening the door of reconciliation to God.[f] 20 We are ambassadors[g] of the Anointed One who carry the message of Christ to the world, as though God were tenderly pleading[h] with them directly through our lips. So we tenderly plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Turn back to God and be reconciled to him.” 21 For God made[i] the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us,[j] so that we might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.[k]

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Footnotes

  1. 5:17 This would include our old identity, our life of sin, the power of Satan, the religious works of trying to please God, our old relationship with the world, and our old mind-sets. We are not reformed or simply refurbished, we are made completely new by our union with Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
  2. 5:17 Or “Behold, a new order has come!”
  3. 5:18 As translated from the Aramaic and implied in the Greek.
  4. 5:18 Or “who has restored us to friendship with God.”
  5. 5:19 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.”
  6. 5:19 As translated from the Aramaic.
  7. 5:20 To be ambassadors for Christ means that we are his diplomatic agents of the highest rank sent to represent King Jesus and authorized to speak on his behalf. We are the voice of heaven to the earth, invested with royal power through the name of Jesus and authority of his blood.
  8. 5:20 Or “begging.”
  9. 5:21 The Greek word Paul uses is poieō, a verb that, when nominalized, is poiema (poem, or poetry). Christ is God’s poetic masterpiece who became the glorious sacrifice for sin. Though disturbing to the eyes of man, God saw the work of redemption culminated in the masterful poetry of his Son suspended on a cross to give us heaven’s righteousness. Read Isa. 52:10–53:12.
  10. 5:21 Or “the sin offering.” See Ex. 29:14; Lev. 4:3; Num. 8:8; Eph. 5:2.
  11. 5:21 This one verse is perhaps the greatest verse in the New Testament to describe our salvation through the sinless Savior and his substitutionary death on the cross. A wonderful divine exchange took place at the cross. All of our sins were left there, our guilt was removed and forever gone, and we walked away with all of God’s righteousness. What bliss is ours! Every believer today possesses the perfect and complete righteousness of Christ. We are seen by the Father as righteous as his Son.