Summary: We preach as though God were begging you through us; be reconciled to God!
In the 5th chapter of II Corinthians, Paul has supplied us with all the information we need give anyone, in order to bring them to saving faith. He talks about the atoning death of Christ, His resurrection, the assurance of newness of life for the one who believes in Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a down payment of our inheritance in Him, the new man’s relationship of acceptance with God, the fact that our new life in Him is one of faith and not sight, and the eventual glorification of our bodies and eternal life in the presence of God.
It’s all there.
Now the primary aim of Paul in this chapter is to define his ministry and the ministry of those who traveled with him, and call his readers to believe.
But since the scriptures are God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work, I have to believe that Paul’s claims are for every believer in Christ; for while we are still here on this earth and until the Lord comes, our commission from the Lord is to make disciples of all the nations, using the Word of God, our own testimony, and sacrificial Christ-like love in the doing of it.
So I want to take just this one verse from II Corinthians 5 today, verse 19, and break it down into its three natural parts. 1. THAT GOD WAS IN CHRIST RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF, 2. THAT HE WAS NOT COUNTING THEIR TRESPASSES AGAINST THEM, and 3. THAT HE HAS COMMITTED TO US THE WORD OF RECONCILIATION; and as we go I ask you to keep in mind that when Paul says God gave US the ministry of reconciliation, and WE are ambassadors for Christ, the ‘us’ and ‘we’ includes not only Paul and his troop, but all believers, everywhere, throughout the history of the church until He comes.
First then, GOD WAS IN CHRIST RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF.
In the 59th chapter of Isaiah, the prophet writes;
“Now the Lord saw,
And it was displeasing in
His sight that there was no justice.
And He saw that there was no man.
And was astonished that there was no one
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him;
And His righteousness upheld Him.”
Then a few verses later he says;
“And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob”,
declares the Lord.”
What an amazing God we have!
At some point in eternity past, before the foundation of the world, the Triune God took counsel and in that Divine counsel it was established that the Word of God would become flesh and dwell among us, for the purpose of reconciling sinful man back to God.
AND THIS, BEFORE MAN WAS CREATED; MUCH LESS HAVING HAD A CHANCE TO SIN!
People of God, how much surer could our salvation possibly be, if God, Who sees all of eternity at a glance, saw our fall and the depths of our sin, and even our individual sins BEFORE even the light was spoken into existence; and yet determined to suffer and die to pay the penalty for us, for the purpose of reconciling us to Himself and giving us an eternal inheritance in Christ?
Man cannot pay for sin; not even his own. He can only suffer the consequences. An eternity of punishment, separated from God’s presence and in the fires of Hell cannot begin to pay the price for sinning against the Holiness of God. Man cannot pay for sin.
Yet the wages of sin is death, and God cannot die.
And since only perfect Holiness can purge sin, there was no man who could intercede between men and God.
So God became a man, so that He could live perfectly, and die perfectly, and perfectly impart life to all who would believe in that atoning work.
God was in Christ; the perfect God/Man. I could go on and on about this until my voice gives out and my vocabulary runs dry, and still not begin to plunge the depths of this wonderful truth!
God was in Christ. God maintained all of creation, while inhabiting a frail body. God walked among us. How could I do justice to that with words? Can you imagine how the apostles must have laid awake some nights, staring at the ceiling or the stars...their minds reeling with the thought that they had walked and talked and eaten and prayed WITH God in the flesh?
Well Christian, you have as much to lay awake pondering as they. For “...though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”