Here are some reflections I shared in another devotional that I gave to the three candidates this morning. It was really fun preparing it last night and seeing God bring my thoughts together. I am quite encouraged and filled with deep joy and peace in spite of some challenges going on around me.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 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. 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. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
When we give our trust to Christ EVERYTHING is new.
a) We are a new creation
b) We are IN CHRIST-We have union in and with Christ.
c) We are given a new identity (See Ephesians Chapters 1 and 2) It is vitally important that we base our identity in Christ and not in what the world says, what our job is, etc.
d) Also in Colossians 3:3 we read "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." We have died to the old life of sin-we now have the choice to live for God and not sin, and because we are in Christ we have died to the "old man" we used to be and been raised with Him. We have NEW LIFE.
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 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."
a) Because we are in Christ we have been given a new ministry--the ministry of reconciliation.
As the verses first point out all of this is from God. As God reconciled us to himself through Jesus dying on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins upon Himself, conquering death and rising from the grave three days later, and bringing us to the place where we trust in His work on the cross alone for our salvation, we are to share the same message with others-our message is the gospel.
b) This ministry is His---it belongs to Him. The glory from it belongs to Him and not to us. Sometimes it us so easy to think that "results for the gospel" are ours, but that is not so because God does use us but in the end, He is the one who gives the growth. This is the ministry He has given to us--we must be faithful with presenting the gospel wherever we are.
"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."
a) As a result of being given this new ministry we are also given a new "title and position." We are Christ's ambassadors. An ambassador is someone from one country that goes to another to represent his or her home country. We have the great honor and privilege of representing Jesus Christ to the world. We must take this opportunity seriously.
b) Our appeal as ambassadors of Christ is only one. It is as if Christ were making his appeal through us and our appeal is that men everywhere be reconciled to God--that they come to trust in Christ--and truly have peace with God.
c) We have a new citizenship. Philippians 3:20-21 says "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Our citizenship is in Heaven and our true home as believers is there with Him.
d) We are ambassadors in Christ's name. There is no other name in Heaven or on earth whereby men can be saved-except through Christ.
e) One day everyone will recognize Christ for who He is. Philippians 2:9-11 "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." As we share the gospel, more people understand who Christ is and put their trust in Christ, as their eyes are unveiled from formerly believing the Enemy's deception and God works in their lives to bring then to the truth now--but one day everyone will understand and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God.
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
a) We are given a new condition. Because Christ who had no sin was made sin for us on our behalf, or better said, in our place in Him we become the righteousness of God. Not only does Christ's death cover our sin so that we are seen as righteous before God, but it is because of Christ that we will one day be as He is---righteous, without sin, and transformed into his likeness.
With Christ it is true-everything is new!
So be encouraged in this day as you who know Christ serve as his ministers of reconciliation and as his ambassadors to the world in need around us wherever you are!