So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 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 men’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.
(2 Corinthians 5:16-20 NIV)
Imagine what it would be like to be an Ambassador; representing your country in a foreign capital, always putting forth your best so as to give a good impression of your native land in a different culture… Wouldn’t that be exciting?
This passage is also exciting!
I fear, however that many read through it and don’t give it a chance to really sink in; for if they did, their outlook on life might be quite a bit different.
Check out the first really staggering statement: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (v. 17) Pay close attention to the grammar, it is present tense; we are a new creation now. The old is gone now. It’s certainly unfortunate that so many choose to hang on to the old instead of being the new creation that we are called to be, but then maybe that discussion is for another time…
Notice next that God has made reconciliation possible between Himself and Mankind through Jesus Christ. (v. 18-19) Remember, Man was created in perfect fellowship with God, and for God’s purpose but Man entered instead into rebellion against God. (See my earlier posts on the Garden and its aftermath) Jesus, by His death, burial and resurrection made a peace treaty that we as Christians have accepted and entered into, and thus we have been reconciled to God; but there is more…
At the end of verse 19 we read that God has given this “message of reconciliation” to us to take to the world as His ambassadors… I hope you realize how big of a deal that little statement really is!
Back in the Garden of Eden, Man was in relationship with God, and God had also given a purpose to the man; to have dominion over the earth. There was relationship with purpose: Fellowship. Through Jesus Christ that relationship has been restored, and that is followed up with purpose: take the message of reconciliation to all of the world (see Matthew 28:18-20)
Wait: slow down a bit… did you see what has happened here?
In the Garden: Relationship + Purpose = Fellowship
In Christ: Relationship + Purpose = Fellowship
In Christ, we have come full circle back to fellowship with God, and our purpose is to make disciples for Christ. Fellowship was the very reason that God created Mankind in the first place, and we are in fellowship with God again. We have just stumbled upon the reason for living. We have just stumbled upon our purpose for being. We have just stumbled upon the meaning of our lives. Oh, and let’s not overlook that we have just stumbled upon our life’s calling.
Hey, I bet you can’t wait for part 2!
In case you missed it here are links to my earlier posts on the Garden of Eden and its aftermath: