Scripture Reference – 2nd Corinthians 5:11-21 – 6:1-2 (ESV)
“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. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 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.”
To be reconciled means to restore friendly relations. The Hebrew word is katallagē, which means an exchange, (figuratively, adjustment), i.e. restoration to divine favor. Jesus was the ultimate picture of this reconciliation. He restored divine favor to the world. He restored friendly relations by not holding our sins against us. Paul adamantly states that we have been given this ministry. Yet, many of us hold the sins of the sinner against them. Instead of offering them friendly relations, we hold our noses in the air and tell them how bad they are. This is not friendly relation. We have been given the greatest gift on earth and we bury it in the ground. We separate ourselves from anything that we deem unclean. Can one become clean without learning how? Can they know God if we are too good to share Him?
In verse 12 of this chapter, Paul mentions those of whom I’m talking about. He speaks of “those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.” The only people Jesus ever took offense at, ever got angry with, ever scolded, were religious leaders. In Mathew 23, Jesus berates the Pharisees saying on the outside they are white washed tombs, but on the inside are full of dead bones and impurity. If Jesus wanted nothing more than to reconcile those apart from God, yet hammered the religious for their outward piety, how much focus should we put on cleaning our insides and bringing love to those in darkness? I would say all of our focus!
Paul goes on to say that he looks at no one according to the flesh. He wanted only to see what God sees. It’s easy to find fault in people, even believers if we look at them according to what’s on the outside. However, if we open the eyes of our hearts and see the love God has for those in darkness we won’t be so quick to keep our lights hidden. Paul says that we are ambassadors for Christ, or as I like to call it Agents of the Kingdom. God chose to make this appeal through us! How can we reconcile the lost to God if we hate them? How can we bring the good news if we deem them unworthy? How can darkness vanish if the light is never turned on? We can invade the world without being a lover of it! The world is longing for love! We must share this restoration to divine favor. We can no longer go about our lives in a bubble. Opportunities knock every day. The homeless guy in front of the gas station. The waitress who’s having a bad day. The co-worker having a breakdown. The opportunities are endless.
Get your shovel out and dig up your treasure! Polish it up and take it to the streets! The heart of God is love for His creation. Love for His people. The same love that saved you! We have been given the greatest mission ever. We cannot fail, but you have to take the risk! You have to move on the investment! You have to step into the river before it parts!
At the end of this passage, Paul gives an exhortation,
“Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Today is the day! Be an Agent of the Kingdom. Host the presence of God and bring reconciliation to the lost!