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2 Corinthians 5.11-6.13; The Ministry of Reconciliation

Little Jolene had been born with a heart defect. The defect had stunted her growth, and robbed her of any energy. Jolene had difficulty breathing and she struggled to eat. Her parents had been told that Jolene would die unless she had a heart transplant. A phone call in the middle of the night informed Jolene’s parents that a heart was available and they should bring Jolene in for surgery immediately. The surgery was successful and it changed Jolene’s life. She began to grow, she had energy. She was able to run and play like other healthy children.

Paul writes that, “If anyone is in Christ there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new” (vs. 17)! A life lived in a relationship with God changes people. We can’t stay the same. Truly we are a new creation. We are free from guilt and shame. Our reconciliation with God opens up the opportunity to live an abundant life. We have a new purpose and meaning to our lives and these lead to new goals and priorities. This new life is ours to experience in a fresh way every day.

2 Corinthians 5:11-6:13

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences.

We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.