Monday, March 29, 2010

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (The Christian as Ambassador…)

Here we come to the pinnacle of Paul’s message in 2 Corinthians. Everybody tends to know one or maybe two verses from this passage, but as is usual with a lot of “memory verses” they loose some of their point removed from context. The one everybody learns early on in their walk is 5:17:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Only slightly less well-known is verse 21:

“He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

The first verse is a wonderful promise and reminder of the change that takes place in a person’s life when they accept the message of the Gospel. The second is an amazing picture of what that message is all about. Both are here together because of a larger and often overlooked point that Paul is trying to make. He is reminding the Corinthians that he (and they) has been given a mission by God. They are to carry out the Ministry of Reconciliation.

All of the characteristics of the Christian walk that Paul has described: its superiority to religion but also the suffering it brings us through, are meant for one purpose. God uses us to persuade people to be reconciled to Him. We (should) no longer live as we did before we knew Christ. We have been renewed and our vision and goals in life have been as well. We are appointed as His ambassadors. We represent Him. We no longer interact with other on our own behalf. We represent a foreign power. (And you thought all that “taking the Lord’s name in vain” business was about cussing.)

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