2 Corinthians 5:18-21
Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.” He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.” For he says: At an acceptable time I listened to you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. See, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! (CSB)
Usually when we think and talk about desires, we confine the topic to human desires. We fail to take into consideration God’s desires. This contributes to an impersonal view about God, but God is very personal. He wants our hearts to get in line with what he knows and loves as good, holy, merciful, and kind. God desires that sinners hear his message of reconciliation.
God makes known his desire through his holy word, the Bible. Two ways we see his desire in this passage:
- The quotation from Isaiah 49:8 – God does minister help to those in need; God is committed to help those who declare the good news, whether Christ, or the apostle Paul, or the Corinthians, or you and me.
- The testimony of the apostle – “Be reconciled to God” (5:20)
God makes his desire known through the ministry. He has given the ministry (5:18) and message (5:19) of reconciliation to us. Since God is still the sovereign Lord and humans still rebel against God, the great and necessary task in every generation is to serve God and people by proclaiming the good news of reconciliation. As has been said, there are two things you can do on earth that you can’t do in heaven: sin and tell others the good news of Jesus Christ. Can you guess which one God wants you to do?
We serve as ambassadors from the Great King to sinners. We have been commissioned to communicate God’s way of peace to other people and to appeal to them to be reconciled to God. When a pro basketball team is trying to sign a key free agent, it will enlist its already signed players to appeal to the free agent to sign with the team. We are on God’s team and we ought to urge others to join us. We have a high calling to declare God’s message precisely and clearly, and to do it in a way that makes known God’s desire for reconciliation. Are you doing your part on his team? Let’s not brush this question aside! Let’s face our responsibility and fulfill it.
God desires that we share his desire. We are to communicate his encouragements to people to be reconciled to God. We beg you (5:20). “We cannot fail to detect the strong note of urgency and compassion in the Apostle’s language” (Hughes). When you beg someone to do something, you really want him or her to do it, don’t you? Today is the pleasant or welcome time (6:2) for anyone to return to God in repentance and faith.
We are to communicate the Lord’s urge for people to be reconciled to God. We appeal or urge people (5:20; 6:1). God’s message is to become our message. We must look at people and opportunities to talk with people with God’s eyes.
Now… now…. We live during the time when people may be saved. At the second coming of Christ, the year of God’s favor toward sinners ends and judgment comes. Seize the opportunity that God has given to you to tell others the good news.
Grace and peace, David