Paul makes a strong statement in his second letter to the church in Corinth concerning our responsibilities as children of God.
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. – 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
It’s very clear we are to let folks know that God wants to see them reconciled to Him and that He has done everything necessary to make that happen. In the fifth chapter of Second Corinthians I see several important parts to this ministry we have been given.
- We must be controlled by Christ’s love.*
- We need to see others the way Good sees them.*
- We need to be committed to a ministry of reconciliation through Christ.*
These three things are essential but I suggest to you that two very important things must be determined and these will color much of how you approach this ministry. The two areas of importance can be viewed through your answers to these two questions.
- Do you believe God really forgives & do you fell completely free & forgiven?
- What is your understanding of who God is; his character and His actions?
If God can’t or won’t forgive, why would I want a relationship with Him? If I can’t feel really free and forgiven how can I convince someone else that THEY can be forgiven? If God is just waiting for me to slip-up then I won’t have an honest intimate relationship with Him. But if He is full of mercy and compassion – now that’s a God I can get next to.
God’s highest view of justice is restorative. He wants to make us whole again after we have crashed and burned. The Prodigal Son’s father was running down the road to hug him and welcome him home BEFORE he knew if his son was sorry, he just wanted his son back. The writer of Hebrews tells us that our Heavenly Father will forgive our sins and remember them no more. Take heart from the encouraging words from Psalm 103.
6 The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. 7 He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. 10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. 11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. 13 The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. 14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.15 Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. 16 The wind blows, and we are gone – as though we had never been here. 17 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children 18 of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!
*We’ll look at these next week.