A New Worldview- 2 Corinthians 5:16

Thus far in our study of 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, we have seen that Paul here exhorts all believers to live their lives compelled by the love of Christ for them, that we become compelled by His love for us as we become convinced of His love for us. That love was demonstrated once and for all in the fact that He died for us, and we learn here also that He died for us not in order to enable us to live our lives for Him, but in order that He could live His life through us. He then continues, in verse 16, to tell us exactly how we are to go about learning to let Him live His life through us. This verse reads as follows in the NIV: “So from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in the same way, we do so no longer”. The “from now on” here refers to the moment at which Paul became “convinced”, or made a once for all decision, that since Christ loved Him enough to die for Paul literally, Paul would be willing to die for Christ metaphorically, and learn to allow Christ to live through Him. This point in time at which Paul made this decision produced a change in what may be referred to as Paul’s “worldview”. We will discuss this concept in more detail shortly, but must begin with a nuance in the Greek text which is easily missed in the NIV translation. We find the word “regard” used twice in the translation, which would lead us to assume that the same Greek word is used twice as well. This is actually not the case, for we find here two Greek words for knowledge, oida and ginosko. The first instance of the use of “regard” here is oida, and the second is ginosko. The Greek word oida is derived from the root word eidon, which means “to see”, so we find that eidon refers to physical seeing, while oida refers to mental “seeing”, and refers to how we perceive or understand things. Ginosko is a Greek word referring fundamentally to the process of “coming to know”, it refers to knowledge acquired or learned through experience. So the way this is presented in our verse at hand is that Paul now understands or perceives (oida) no one “according to the flesh”, with “flesh” here being Paul’s normal way of referring to our basic human “fallenness”, our old ways of thinking and being. He once “regarded” (ginosko) Christ in this way (according to the flesh) but does so no longer”. By using ginsoko in the second part of this verse, Paul is telling us something very powerful and profound about how we as human beings come to our position on Christ. Paul “came to know” (ginosko) Christ according to the flesh, the understanding that Jesus was not the Messiah was an “acquired” knowledge. It was not a knowledge he was born with, but which he picked up from his environment. He learned to “see” (understand or perceive) the world through the “eyes” (understandings or perceptions) of others, his worldview was primarily formed by his parents and teachers, by his environment in Judaism. It is then apparent why he uses oida in the first part of this verse, for his new “worldview” is not acquired from others, but shaped as he continues to grow in his perception and understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for Paul and all of us, as well as what this means for how we live moment by moment. So what do we mean here by “worldview”? A worldview may be defined as ” a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation upon which we live and move and have our being.” Our worldview is the fundamental way in which we understand and interpret reality, so everything which we hear, see or experience as we live our lives in this world is filtered through our worldview. In Paul’s case here, Christ is the ultimate reality, and when Paul perceives and understands (oida) who Christ is, the fundamental way in which he understands and interprets reality is transformed, it is no longer “according to the flesh”, no longer the one he acquired from his parents and his Judaism. So what we find here is that the way in which we can learn to let Christ live His life through us is by learning to see all of reality through His eyes, by allowing Him (through the study of His word) to transform our worldview, so that we may no longer regard things according to the flesh, but may learn to interpret and understand all of reality through the truth of His word, through a biblical worldview, and not through the vain philosophies of this world, not through a secular worldview.

No Comments Christian Philosophy  //  Conformed to the Image of Christ  //  Transformation

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