2 Corinthians 5:11-21
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New Testament: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Summary: The Ministry of Reconciliation
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. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:15
Christians should not still live for themselves. That is, they should not live in a selfish, proud and greedy manner. God hates such attitudes*, but that is not the only reason, or even the main reason. Christians should not behave like that because of the astonishing change that Christ has made in their lives.
Christ died so that God can forgive our evil deeds. However, this is not a way for us to continue the same evil behaviour without punishment. Instead, it is the beginning of a completely new life, where we can live to please God. God gives to us his Holy Spirit, so that we can do that*.
Christ died and rose again to give people that new life. So people must also die and rise again to receive it. Here, however, we refer not to the death of the person’s body, but to the astonishing change in the person’s attitudes. People must consider their former lives, when they lived to please themselves, to be dead*. They must then accept the new life that God gives to their spirits*. That is how a person becomes a Christian. The result is that God considers that person to be alive. Formerly, because of that person’s evil deeds, God considered that person already dead *. That was so even while they were still alive in this world. That was because the only possible result of their life, was death *. However now, as God’s people, they have life that never ends *.
Therefore, with grateful hearts, they should turn completely from their former evil behaviour*. God has made them free so that they can live for him.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 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. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
In the same way, as Paul said above, I’m asking everyone to seek God since we’ve all sinned and fallen short. Today is the day to get right with God because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. If you think you are a Christian be sure you know Jesus Christ and not just about Him, our salvation depends on it. Don’t hear the below on judgment day:
And then will I (Jesus Christ) declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ ~ Matthew 7:23
The word for ‘reconciliation’ in the original Greek language is KATALLAGE. It means to make enemies into friends. That was the special work that God had given to Paul. Paul had to arrange for the people who were God’s enemies to become his friends.
It was like when some of the king’s officials had left the country to fight against their king. The king would consider it his right to punish those men in a most severe and cruel manner. However, suppose that, in an act of great mercy (kindness), the king wanted to forgive those men. The king would choose some of his most loyal and honourable officials (called ambassadors in verse 20). Those loyal officials would go to the king’s enemies, and try to make arrangements for them to return in peace.
Paul did not consider that he deserved to carry out such an important task on God’s behalf*. However, God had appointed him. For that reason, Paul tried to persuade people to accept God’s offer*.
There were two things in particular that Paul urged people to do. They should accept God’s kind offer that they can have a right relationship with him, because of Christ’s death*. Also, they should make sure that God’s kindness has the proper effect on their lives*. The result should be that they turn from every evil act to serve God in a holy manner*.
It is very wonderful that God is willing to forgive our evil deeds*. Christ, God’s Son, died to suffer the punishment for our evil deeds*. Of course we should accept God’s kind offer. Of course we should not delay*. We should allow God to do everything that he wants to do in our lives. We should accept his friendship, then we should live as the friends of God ought to live.
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