Feb3MonFebruary 3, 2020
Read the following verses out loud:
2 Corinthians 5:11-21 New International Version (NIV)
The Ministry of Reconciliation
Reconciled/Reconciliation (the Greek): an exchange, a restoration to favour, to change
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:the old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
True mission, which translates into transformational mission, must come out of the compelling love of Christ (verse 14a).
Reflect on your life where you have wanted to be engaged in mission or you have engaged in mission. What has been behind your desire? Think about specific instances/opportunities. What was your motivation? What motivations do you tend to default to? Guilt? Fear? Wanting to succeed? Trying to be like someone else? Something else?
Reflect on your life. Has mission been absent? Have you left it to others that you think are more capable?
Pray out of these questions/reflections.
The Mission? Reconciliation
Back to back verses repeat what the mission is: our own reconciliation that leads us to hold out the message of reconciliation to others.
God reconciled us to Himself through Christ (verse 18)
God has given us the ministry of reconciliation (Verse 18)
God was reconciling the world to Himself through Christ (verse 19)
God has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation (Verse 19)
After repeating this message in verses 18 and 19, we are surprised that Paul calls people who are already believers to be reconciled to God (and to Paul himself as a messenger of God). To exchange our sins for His grace-filled forgiveness, to be restored into oneness with Him, to change where we have forgotten, walked away, disobeyed, etc. “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (20b-21).
The ministry of reconciliation begins with me. I cannot give a message that I have not taken hold of myself for my own life. Do I believe that God doesn’t hold my sins against me? That there is nothing separating me and my God? Do I have joy in knowing that an exchange has taken place? Have I tasted the compelling love of God in such a way that I want others to taste it too?
Pray out of these questions.
The ministry of reconciliation begins with us as a faith community. We are the reconciled ones together. This means more than tolerating or saying we forgive but avoiding one another. God says that there is nothing between he and I. And He wants all the barriers between us to be dissolved by the powerful and compelling love of Christ. His love compels us to be truly reconciled to one another.
Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart. Is there a believer that you have not been able to be truly reconciled to? Is God inviting you to pray for this person and to do what you need to do in order to be reconciled? It can be that the other person has not been willing to be reconciled the way you want to be. Pray for this person and ask God to work so that real reconciliation can take place. It could be that there is unhealthiness that hasn’t been dealt with and it would be harmful to seek reconciliation at this time. Continue to pray that God will bring the healing that would enable reconciliation in the future.
The ministry of reconciliation is meant to be held out to our world. Paul says that we are ambassadors for Christ as if God were making His appeal through us (verse 20).
Ask the Holy Spirit this week to show you where this ministry of reconciliation is needed. Where is that person who is estranged from knowing Christ has died for them to bring them to know God? What might the Spirit lay on your heart to do or say that would reflect this message?
Information on the image for today: Reconciliation, Coventry Old Cathedral
In 1995, fifty years after the end of The Second World War, this sculpture by Josephina da Vasconcellos was given by Richard Branson as a token of reconciliation.
An identical statue has been placed in the Peace Garden at Hiroshima on behalf of the people of Coventry. Both statues remind us that, in the face of destructive forces, human dignity and love will triumph over disaster and bring nations together in respect and peace.