17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
So that, assuming that anyone is in Christ, he is a creation new in quality. The antiquated, out-of-date things [which do not belong to the new life in Christ Jesus] have passed away. Behold, all things have become new in quality. But the aforementioned all things are from God as a source, the One who reconciled us to Himself through the intermediate agency of Christ and gave to us the ministry whose work is that of proclaiming the message of this reconciliation, namely, that absolute deity in Christ was reconciling the world [of sinners] to Himself, not putting down on the liability side of their ledger their trespasses, and lodged in us the story of the reconciliation. — Wuest, page 424.
he is (v.17) — added by the translators. The original Greek reads “Therefore if anyone in Christ a new creation”
reconciled (v.18) = lit. “down to an exact point,” as when two parties reconcile when coming to the same position
imputing (v.19) = reckoning, charging with, taking into account
trespasses (v.19) = lit. “fall away after being close-beside,” lapse, slip, sin
Verse 17 is often interpreted to mean that at conversion to Christ a man becomes “a new creature,” and that for him “old things are passed away” and ‘behold, all things are become new.” But this is simply not true. … Those who interpret the verse in this way confuse the believer’s standing with his state. The apostle Paul illustrates this in two passages concerning the old man and the new. In Colossians 3:9-10 he says: “… ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man …” (this relates to our standing), but in Ephesians 4:22, 24 he exhorts us to “put off … the old man … and … put on the new man …” (this relates to our state). …
The believer is not a new creature (except in Christ) and his old temptations and sins have not all passed away. If only the translators had supplied the words “there is” rather than “he is.” The actual wording, especially in its dispensational context, lends itself far better to “there is” than to “he is.” …
Who can deny that with believers now given a place in Christ there is a new creation? And this truth is a natural continuation of the dispensationalism taught in verses 15-16.
Not the believer’s temptations and sins, but the old dispensation, the Law, with all its solemn rites, its stern commands, and its severe penalties, has given place to “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:1-2), with all believers now seen “in Christ” and all “one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). This is nothing less than “a new creation” as Paul calls it. — Stam, pages 127-128.
All things in this new program are of God. He has reconciled us to Himself—by Jesus Christ; we had no part in it. “While we were sinners, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10).
As the enmity was entirely on our part, so the reconciling love of God is entirely His. It was we who needed to be reconciled to God, not God to us. And now He has given to us “the ministry of reconciliation.” We can understand it clearly and proclaim it in the power of the Spirit, only as we obey the divine imperative: study it dispensationally, “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). — Stam, page 129.
In verse 18 He declares that He has “given to us the ministry of reconciliation,” and in verse 19 He goes on to explain in the simplest language what this ministry consists of.
In this context “God was in Christ,” at Calvary of course, “reconciling the world (the world of people; He did not die for this world system) unto Himself” for, as we have seen, “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10).
God does not impute our trespasses unto us; they were all imputed to Christ who, in mercy and grace, “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26), so that there need be no more fear of any believer ever standing before the Great White Throne. — Stam, page 130.
There are actually people out there who believe that after they became Christians they no longer sin. I can’t begin to imagine the mental gymnastics they have to perform every day to justify their frequent failings.