MOTIVES FOR MISSION
Lord, thank You for making us ambassadors for You.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 5:11—6:2
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 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. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
6 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”[c]
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
a 2 Corinthians 5:17 Or Christ, that person is a new creation.
b 2 Corinthians 5:21 Or be a sin offering
c 2 Corinthians 6:2 Isaiah 49:8
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Are we in any way weary of engaging in God’s mission? If so, there is much in these verses to reignite our passion. We participate in mission work because we “fear” the Lord (11). Fear is used here in the sense of reverence. Because Paul has a deep reverence for God and a longing to see God’s name honored, he engages wholeheartedly in Gospel missions. A similar passion for God’s name will lead us to do likewise. Further, there is the glory of the Gospel itself. Try to appreciate the breathtaking scope and power of the reconciliation of which verses 18–20 speak. This is all possible thanks to Christ’s death on the cross for us (21). What a Gospel this is! What is more, God uses us to share it. We are ambassadors, Christ’s representatives declaring the world-changing Good News. We ourselves might have chosen another way of getting the Gospel out but, amazingly, God uses you and me. What a privilege!
We are also pointed to a further motive for spreading the Gospel: “Christ’s love compels us” (14). When I was younger, I was present at a question-and-answer session with a missionary who had spent many years in cross-cultural service. At one point he turned the tables on us and asked us a question: “What motivates you for mission work?” We came back with several responses, including those mentioned above. To our surprise he said we were missing something and directed us to 2 Corinthians 5:14. We were told that if we did not love others with the love Christ puts in our hearts we would find it hard to sustain a life of faithful missionary service. There are many motives for mission work and we need to incorporate them all, but we should never forget the words of Paul: “Christ’s love compels us” (14).
Pray for a greater passion for God’s name and a deeper love for others. Pray that someone you know may be “reconciled to God” (20) through you.
Lord, we still struggle to comprehend the degree of Your love for us to the point where You would suffer to redeem us and then actually use us for Your purposes.