Lord, help me to know and worship you with an undivided heart, and to lead others to worship you in spirit and in truth.
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.
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.
Prepare for today by reflecting on, ‘For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive’.1
Occasionally preachers talk about the Bible’s ‘purple passages’. They mean passages rich in theology and insight, full of meaningful truths, shaping and clarifying what we believe and how we live. This is one such, about how God has reconciled the world to God’s own self, has done so through the work of Christ and now calls us to share in this work of restoring people and our world to God.
None of this could be said, of course, were it not true that God is a God who wills to save the world that he loves and has taken the initiative to do so. This is seen in the whole career of Jesus, in whom God has been present to redeem (v 19). We can call this ‘redemptive solidarity’, in that first of all God in Christ assumes our humanity so that Christ may do what we cannot do: he lives a life without sin, one utterly pleasing to God, and then takes the sin of the world upon his own self as though he were a sinner. In doing so he effects a great exchange – he takes our sin, crucifies it, and buries it in the tomb, and we receive his righteousness in return (v 21). Because as God’s gift he died for all of us, we have all died (vs 14,15). When here it says ‘all’ surely it means what it says: everybody.
Such belief changes the way we look at the world. We see it through different eyes. We view people as those who can, in Christ, become new creatures (v 17). We see ourselves as now under an obligation of thanksgiving, to live for Christ, not just for ourselves (v 15) and to become ambassadors of reconciliation for him (v 20). This was Paul’s task. It is also ours.
What does it mean to be an ‘ambassador’? Whom do ambassadors represent? How should they speak and what should they speak about?
Father God, I thank you for the gift of Jesus for my life and salvation. Use me as an instrument of love and grace to bring others to faith also.
1 1 Cor 15:22
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