2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 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. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore 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.
GOOD MORNING AND WELCOME TO DAY 4 OF THE SECOND HALF CHALLENGE.
And though we are four days in, our text remains the same. There is just so much here. As an aside, something we must learn is to dwell deeply in the same biblical texts over long periods of time. We are so used to approaching everything as information it is easy to do the same with the Bible. The Word of God is not information. It is revelation, and one word of revelation is worth more than ten thousand pages of information—indeed all the information in the world. Thomas Merton once said something about Scripture to the effect of, “We must cover less ground, more slowly.” So if you are anything like me, you likely saw that today’s biblical text is the same from yesterday and the two days before, and you skipped right over it to the new information. ;0) So before going a step further, please go back and read the biblical text. The Daily Text is the biblical text. In my writing I am trying to participate with revelation, working with the biblical text. But just so you know that I know—what I write is to the biblical text as water is to wine. What we have without the biblical text is, to be frank, less than nothing.
Now, lets say a word about the first half of the Gospel. Here’s the straight Revelation:
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
Anyone out there remember when we used to reconcile our checkbooks with our bank statement? Anyone hate it as much as I did? I see that hand. It was such a pain to figure how I messed my account up every single month.
Back in the day I had friends who would get their banking ledger so out of balance that they would open an account at another bank and just start over—until it happened again—and they would go to yet another bank. It sounds like a good definition of bank-ruptcy doesn’t it.
It’s a good picture of the human race. The problem is we never really had a chance. We were actually born into bankruptcy. We inherited it from the earliest days of our ancestors. They trespassed. Only one tree in the entire garden of Eden was put behind a boundary, and they trespassed. We have been trespassers ever since. Trespasses. It’s another word for sin. Another common term we use is debt. They are synonyms for each other. We are born in need of forgiveness, pardon, reconciliation. In other words, we are born into a broken race. The ledger cannot be reconciled. It is irreconcilable. This is how the Bible accounts for the situation we see in the world all around us every single day, from the very beginning—from Genesis 3 forward—hopelessly, irreconcilably broken.
And then this happened.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
And in case that wasn’t clear enough, the Word takes another swing:
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.
This is a stunning, sweeping debt forgiveness program. He wipes the slate clean. The debt is gone. The trespass is forgiven. Notice this text says nothing about going up to heaven when you die. It says heaven actually comes down now.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
We don’t actually go to heaven when we die. According to the New Testament, to be “in Christ” is to be already there now. When we breathe our last breath and leave this mortal body, we enter into the fullness of the presence of the Lord—Heaven unabated by the brokenness of the Earth. The truth is, when we die it is merely a seamless transition—a passing through.
And that’s not even the end. I’ve been waiting to tell you this, but there is actually a THIRD HALF OF THE GOSPEL!
Already we are seeing the first half second half moves here. First he reconciles our account. Then he makes us agents—ambassadors is the term—of this reconciliation to the whole world.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
I have to leave it here today. SO MUCH MORE TO COME.
Lord Jesus, All of this is from you. Would you wake me up to the infinite more ness of who you are, what you have done, what you are doing and what you have yet to do. Come Holy Spirit and open the eyes of my heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
What is your experience of being reconciled to God? Is it a truth you “accept” or is it a real living experience? (More on this tomorrow)
For the Awakening,