2 Corinthians 5:11-21
11 We know what it means to have respect for the Lord. So we try to help other people to understand it. What we are is plain to God. I hope it is also plain to your way of thinking. 12 We are not trying to make an appeal to you again. But we are giving you a chance to take pride in us. Some people take pride in their looks rather than what’s in their hearts. If you take pride in us, you will be able to answer them. 13 Are we “out of our minds,” as some people say? If so, it is because we want to serve God. Does what we say make sense? If so, it is because we want to serve you. 14 Christ’s love controls us. We are sure that one person died for everyone. And so everyone died. 15 Christ died for everyone. He died so that those who live should not live for themselves anymore. They should live for Christ. He died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we don’t look at anyone the way the world does. At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don’t anymore. 17 When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here! 18 All this is from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ. 19 God was bringing the world back to himself through Christ. He did not hold people’s sins against them. God has trusted us with the message that people may be brought back to him. 20 So we are Christ’s official messengers. It is as if God were making his appeal through us. Here is what Christ wants us to beg you to do. Come back to God! 21 Christ didn’t have any sin. But God made him become sin for us. So we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.
“Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!”
It’s one of those pivotal verses. God’s first act of creation was extraordinary. Now the break between my old separated self and my new reconciled self is so profound that I’m now a whole new work of creation.
But it’s not a new me that is just like the old me. The new me is no longer separated from God, I’m reconciled with him. The new me lives for Christ (not myself). The new me has been entrusted with the good news and a part to play in bringing back people who are still separated.
I love how it describes it as the “task of reconciling people to him” in the NLT (“ministry of reconciliation” in NIV). It’s “bring people back” (here in the NIRV), but with the aspect of healing the relationship, healing what’s broken, healing what hurts.
I think of when I was small and I was always keen for my mum to “put a band aid on it” if I hurt myself. Then it would be safe from being poked (ouch) to get the dirt out; safe from the antiseptic (ouch again). I understand that people who are separated from God may not want that injured relationship touched, but that infected wound to their lives will only be whole if Jesus is allowed to touch it.
Father, I can barely express how grateful I am to you for remaking me in right relationship with you. But please give me words, and insights, and courage, and sensitivity to express it to those who are still separated.
Written by David Cornell