Reconsidering Justification in 2 Corinthians 5:14–21

Despite recent developments in the study of Pauline soteriology, many students of Paul remain unconvinced that justification is anything other than a declaration of acquittal. This paper will take a fresh look at a passage that has been interpreted as a text about justification (“traditionally” understood), but also as a text about new creation, about reconciliation, about interchange, and about transformation. How do these various aspects of the text—all legitimately highlighted by various commentators—fit together? A close reading of the text, informed by interpretations both ancient and contemporary, will be offered that yields several theses about how best to understand this text in its context—and as a development of themes in Galatians and a prelude to themes in Romans.