This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
I enjoy playing a round of golf every once in a while. And, by that I mean I get to play maybe once every couple of years. I’m not that great at it. Occasionally, when I hit the ball, it goes where I want it to. And, on those rare occasions, it not only goes the direction I want it to go, but the distance as well. In reality, however, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out which patch of weeds or bushes my ball landed it. I’ve lost a lot of golf balls over the years.
One thing I’ve learned is that golf has its own language. An eagle isn’t bird, it means you got the ball into the hole by taking two less swings than the person who manages the course thought it should take. A birdie isn’t a small bird, but it means you got the ball into the hole in one less swing than thought. Par means you got it in the hole in exactly the number of swings. There are a bunch of others, but you get the idea. Golfers have corrupted the English language. Then there is this word: mulligan. To take a mulligan is to basically get a do-over on your last swing. Your ball flew into the lake? Mulligan! Try again. That last shot isn’t recorded, and you get a new attempt at doing it correctly this time.
God offers each of us a mulligan. In fact, God offers us unlimited mulligans when it comes to our sins. But He is more interested in our soul than our mistakes. The only difference is that God’s mulligan isn’t a do-over for some game we play. Instead, His mulligan redeems us from a life of sin, separated from Him, and restores an eternal relationship with God. As the Apostle Paul put it, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” We get a do-over.
However, unlike the mulligans of this world, we aren’t left to figure out how to live life better, we receive a Coach to guide us in everything we do. So, this “new life” which Paul is talking about isn’t on our own. God is with us every step of the way. He’s telling us how to avoid the pitfalls in life. He’s holding on to us as we walk through the darkest valleys. He’s cheering us on when we celebrate the victories of life. This new life isn’t apart from God. It becomes a part of Him. It is the greatest mulligan the universe has ever seen.