As a wedding planner, I often find myself serving as a mediator between parties—bride vs. groom, bride’s family vs. groom, or even groom’s family vs. bride. Regardless of who is wrong or right, my ultimate goal as the mediator is to heal relationships, so that on the day of the wedding two families, in peace and love, are united as one. I take this responsibility of reconciliation between bridal parties seriously, much like God does in reconciling his relationship with creation. In today’s passage, we explore Paul’s explanation of reconciliation to the church at Corinth.
- What does it mean to be reconciled to God, and to one another, in Christ?
READ THE WORD: 2 CORINTHIANS 5:11-21 (ESV)
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.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 16-21.)
- What are the evidences of a transformed life in someone who is a new creation in Christ (vss. 16-17)?
- In verse 19, Paul wrote that in Christ, God was not counting people’s sins against them. In what ways do you struggle with not counting others’ sins against them?
- Why do you think Paul mentions both a ministry of reconciliation and a message of reconciliation (vss. 18-19)? How are they different?
- Do you see yourself as a person reconciled to God through Christ? How have you responded to your reconciliation?
- What does it mean for you to be an ambassador for Christ? How are you seeking to reconcile others to God through Christ?
RESPOND TO GOD
Our sin made us enemies with God; but as the mediator and the offended, God reconciled us to himself through Jesus. We were wrong, but through Christ, God sees us as righteous, sinless, and blameless, despite our list of offenses against him. He did it so that we can live in peace, love, and unity with him. What a God we serve, and what an opportunity to thank him by living a life of peace with others, representing God as diplomats of reconciliation in all of our relationships.
- If you haven’t made peace with God, respond to him with your confession that he has reconciled you to himself through Jesus Christ.
- Choose today to see others as God sees you, righteous and blameless, by living as an ambassador of peace and reconciliation for Christ.