“The new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). What does that mean?

New appearance? Perhaps; many people do have a brighter countenance after they receive Christ.

New language? Sometimes—if one decides to put profanity behind and strives to speak more wholesome words.

New values? Definitely; there is an eternal context for everything a reborn person does which wasn’t in their previous way of thinking.

But what of this “ministry of reconciliation” God gives His children? That’s new as well.

Even non-believers may be benevolent, but only in temporal ways. The best they can do is help improve the lives of others up to the point of their death. But not one minute longer. They can offer nothing that is truly everlasting.

But for those who are in Christ, their calling, their privileged calling, is to affect eternal souls. Christ offers life beyond the grave, and this is the hope that His children can share.

Perhaps the grandest thing about our newness is that we have an eternal purpose: the ministry of reconciliation. Only those who have received can give.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation.
The old has passed away;
behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ
reconciled us to himself
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
(2 Corinthians 5:17–18 ESV)