Saturday, August 13, 2011

You are a new creation! - August 13th, 2011

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.   
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21

History and Context:
Corinth was a city on the main trade route between Asia and western Europe, and Paul had spent two years there establishing the church. Paul wrote the first letter to the Corinthians in order to address division and immorality in the church. After that letter he had an opportunity to visit the church. Apparently the visit was a difficult one for both Paul and the members of the church and afterwards Paul talks about writing a letter in "much anguish" (ch 2). Though this letter is only the second letter to the Corinthians which we have, it seems that Paul wrote at least four seperate letters and that this is the fourth. This is his follow up after the difficult visit and the letter of 'tears'.

The Text:
Paul is talking here about what happens when we accept Jesus as Lord. He says when we enter into Christ, we become a "new creation". Everything in our lives becomes new, it is like Jesus said, we are "born again" (John 3:3). He talks about how we have been reconciled or reunited with God through Christ. In other words we were born originally to be with Him, but something seperated us. It is through Christ that we return to our original place with God. But not only that, it is through Christ that we enter into a "ministry of reconciliation". In other words, we are not allowed to simply be content with our own place with God being restored, we should look towards helping others restore theirs as well. We have become Christ's ambassadors, his representatives. By taking on the name of Christian we have taken on the responsibility of being his ambassadors. Normally, this would be a much greater burden than any human could bear, but Paul ends the passage by letting us know that through Christ we have been made the Righteousness of God. We have been made completely, 100% righteous. This is why we are able to be Christ's ambassadors.

The Challenge:
This is a perfect follow up from yesterday. Yesterday we talked about how we make the decision to become a Christian, today we have discussed what it means to be a Christian. Through that decision God has reconciled you with Him. Even though it was done perfectly, at times we don't act like it. The challenge is to remember that you are reconciled with God and to begin to act like it. Spend time with Him, learn how He thinks, learn what His plan for your life is and do it. Help others be reconciled with God. It shouldn't be goodenough for us that we are returned to our rightful place with God, but we need to be ambassadors of Christ and help others return to God when the opportunity arises. Remember you are righteous!

The Prayer:
Thank you Lord for reconciling me with you, for returning me to a relationship with you. Help me to build that relationship and help me to be your ambassador. Thank you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!

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