Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
– 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 NASB
In the New Testament, the apostles are often giving summaries or encapsulations of their message about Jesus. It’s an effective teaching device. The passage above from Paul’s second letter to the believers in Corinth is an example of this.
In re-capping the gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul is reminding believers that he and his fellow apostles have acted as “ambassadors” representing Christ. The mission of Christ – teaching and healing, then dying for our sins on the cross – was God’s way of reconciling the world to Himself.
Note that “God was in Christ” doing the reconciling. That is, God took on human flesh in the form of Jesus of Nazareth in order to accomplish the reconciliation. Christ was the focal point of the reconciliation and God was right there in Christ making it happen.
Note also that God has not reconciled Himself to the world. It’s the other way around: that is, He’s reconciled the world to Himself. Had He reconciled Himself to the world, this would amount to leaving us in our sinful state. What parent gives up on His children? He wants us to be like Him!
Jesus died on the cross “not counting our trespasses against us” so that we might see His willingness to overlook our sins. What does He ask us to do in response to this gracious gesture on His part? Repent. What does it mean to repent? To change. That is, we stop seeking what pleases us and begin seeking what pleases Him.
Christ doesn’t want us to live in paralyzing regret over sins we have committed in the past. Rather, He wants us to do right today.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thank You for reconciling us to Yourself. In response, we will be reconciled to each other because we know this pleases You. Help me avoid temptations to be at odds with others today…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.