Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.2 Corinthians 5:16(NASB)
The God of the universe, with all His divine attributes and entitlements became the man Christ Jesus. God incarnate was born into the the fallen race of man. The Creator of the universe came from heaven to earth in human flesh.
The Almighty everlasting Word, willingly became flesh and dwelt amongst us - and humbly and obediently carried out the word and will of the Father in every area of His life - even to death on the cross.
Paul's life had been turned upside-down and inside-out as a result of his encounter with the Lord of glory.. and his immense love and eternal thanksgiving to God, for his conversion to Christ and his salvation by grace.. caused this man to follow the Lord with selfless abandon.
It was his love for Christ that compelled Paul to share relentlessly the ministry of reconciliation through the glorious gospel of grace - whereby Christ died for all so that by faith in Him we should not live for ourselves any longer.. but for HIM Who died and rose again.
Paul appears to be saying that before he was converted he viewed things, including the Lord Jesus from a human perspective.. paying attention to things like his family and education, his position and popularity.. the things He said and did, and the chronicled records of His actions and performance. But following his conversion Paul's perception and perspective of Christ drastically changed.
And so too his perception and perspective of others. Paul no longer gained his evaluation of man by an outward appearances. He no longer valued the externals of the flesh that are so highly prized by the world today. Since being saved Paul preferred to evaluate a man by his inner character.. and by their new position in Christ. For Paul knew that if any man is in Christ they have become a new creation.. the old fleshly, sensual man is done away with and must remain nailed to the cross - for all things have become new in Him.
Paul had learned that the intent of the fallen sin nature of man is unreliable and selfish and he determined to neither recognise nor regard any person from an outward, human viewpoint. He made the decision.. that from that time forward he would not regard men from any worldly standards - even though, he admitted that at at one time he even regarded Christ according to the flesh.
Even though he had known Christ from such a human point of view - no longer would he do so. Christ was now the risen, ascended, glorified Lord of glory, Whose personal ministry on earth had been superseded by the ministry of reconciliation - where every member of His body is a full and free participant.
Like Paul.. we must also make sure that from now on our assessment of others is not according to the flesh.. and our perspective of Christ must not only be as an historical figure - but as the crucified, risen, ascended, glorified Lord of glory .. Who is seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high -for He is our God and Saviour, Who laid down His life so that we might live.
Heavenly Father, may my love for Christ so constrain me that I choose to live day by day in spirit and in truth - not paying attention to things in this fallen, failing, finite world according to the flesh.. but may I develop a spiritual perspective in all things and live godly in Christ Jesus, my risen, ascended and glorified God and Saviour - in Whose name I pray, AMEN.