Be Reconciled

Second Corinthians is considered to be the Apostle Paul’s most personal letter to any congregation. Filled with emotions ranging from uncertainty and frustration to sympathy and relief, it is a heartfelt appeal to the church he planted in Corinth. The letter reflects the tumultuous relationship he had with the church he once led for more than a year and a half (Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2016).

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (ESV)

In this particular passage (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) we see Paul explain the purpose of his ministry: reconciliation. He states that because of the love of Christ, he feels compelled to share the message of hope that Christ’s atoning death on the Cross ushered in, by helping individuals turn from enemies of God into ambassadors for Christ.

Reconciliation = the removal of human enmity toward God

[1] Dockery, D. S., Butler, T. C., Church, C. L., Scott, L. L., Ellis Smith, M. A., White, J. E., & Holman Bible Publishers (Nashville, T. . (1992). Holman Bible Handbook (p. 698). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

If God loves me, why does Scripture talk about “fearing the Lord”?

In our modern times, we tend to equate fear with dread or terror. However, “fearing the Lord” is a critical concept found throughout the Old Testament. According to the Old Testament, people who fear God receive His protection, wisdom, and blessing. To fear God means expressing loyalty to Him and being faithful to His covenant. When people fear God, they show trust in Him and obedience to his commandments. “Fearing the Lord” in biblical terms is a response by people to God, evoking respect, awe, and love.

Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord,

but he who is devious in his ways despises him.

Proverbs 14:2 (ESV)

We preach Christ crucified and share the message of reconciliation, not to brag or boast, but out of love for others and out of awe for the love God has demonstrated toward us. Because of Christ’s unfathomable love for us, those reconciled to God feel compelled to encourage others, pleading our case, with the hope of winning them over for the sake of the Gospel.

Persuade: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action.

Throughout the Gospels in the New Testament, Christ demonstrates his love for people, and we also see the love that people have for him. In his death, Christ died for all individuals without distinction of gender or social status or any of the things people measure others by. Yet, not all get the benefits from Christ’s atoning death. Those who repent and believe in the Gospel, living for Christ, receive all the advantages made possible through Christ’s death on the Cross. Through his death on the cross, Jesus broke the power of sin so that those who believe and place their trust in Christ may live for the purposes of God and fulfill the plans He has for us.

infared

When we meet Christ, we are changed forever. There is a “before Christ,” and there is an “after Christ.”  When we experience Jesus and recognize his love for us and accept the atoning gift He is offering us, we can no longer be the same. It is simply not possible. Yes, our human sin nature still churns inside us. But so does the Holy Spirit, fighting with moans and groans on our behalf, empowering us with the strength of the Lord to overcome the trials and temptations we face in this life.

Once we encounter and experience Jesus Christ, we are no longer our old Self but are new Creations. We are no longer at odds with God. The hostilities between the Lord and us have ceased. Therefore, we become ambassadors of the Great Almighty, proclaiming what He alone has done for us; Not because we asked, but because it was the desire of God. Jesus Christ, having no sin, died for us, chained by sin, freeing us from our bondage. Because of Christ, our chains are gone. Because of Jesus, we know joy, hope, and love we did not know before.

So we plead with you, be reconciled to God.

I’m praying for you.

Go be salt; Go be light.

The Devotional Guy

One response to “Be Reconciled

  1. Pingback: Kickstarting 2017 Right! | The Devotional Guy

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