So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." [v.16]
What does he mean, "we regard no one from a worldly point of view"?
I think the clue might be in the second sentence: "...we once regarded Christ in this way..."
Think about how the Jews used to regard Christ:
*They thought he would be a mighty warrior
*They expected a violent liberator who would lead an insurrection against their oppressors
*The anticipated a Messiah who would rule from an earthly throne of political power
But they were wrong about Christ.
He didn't come as a warrior. He came as a baby.
He didn't do any violence but responded to violence with love, forgiveness and mercy.
He did not rule from a place of political strength - and He actively resisted it when Satan tempted him in the desert and also when the people sought to make him King by force [see John 6:15] - instead Jesus ruled out of the power of love with an obedience that is intertwined with love [see John 14:15-24]
Now, Paul says, they have come to understand who Christ is because they no longer regard Him from this worldly point of view.
They now have a brand new perspective that is informed by the heart and character of Jesus. He subverted their expectations and now they can see another way.
Because of this, they can now see everyone around them from this fresh new perspective made possible by Jesus.
So, what is this new perspective? Simply this: We now regard everyone around us as people who are dearly loved of God. Whether they are Christians or not. We see everyone as people that God loves profoundly. Regardless of their race, their creed, their color, their orientation, their theology, their nationality, or even if they want to kill us - we only see people who are loved by God as much as we are loved by God.
This means we no longer identify as Americans, or as Mexicans, or as Koreans, or as Baptists, or Methodists, or as Lutherans or Calvinists, or as Democrats or Republicans, or as Conservative or as Liberals. We no longer recognize those worldly points of view in ourselves or in anyone else.
We do not see Muslims or Buddhists. We only see people loved by God.
We no longer see Gays or Lesbians. We only see the people God loves enough to die for.
We no longer see Refugees or Terrorists. We only see people made in the image of our Abba.
We no longer see Male or Female; Jew or Gentile; Slave or Free; Young or Old. We only see people who are loved with an everlasting love that will never die, never end, never change and never, ever fade away.
Do you still regard anyone from a worldly point of view? If so, take another long look at Jesus. Once you see who He is more clearly, you will start to see everyone around more clearly as well.