Monday, June 11, 2012

ambassadors of reconciliation

Last week I talked a little bit about how I see the great story that we're all invited to be a part of.  I ended the post asking what you think it is that we're invited into.  I thought this week I'd share what I've come to understand the invitation being.  It comes from 2 Corinthians 5, and I've paraphrased here and mixed the NIV and the Message and some of my own words interpreting and expanding on the ideas there:

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.

Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: Jesus died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life begins! Look at it!

Instead of selfishness, we now can be selfless.  Instead of greed, we now can give generously what we have.  Instead of being filled with lust, we now can love people who are ugly.  Instead of being prideful, we know that everything that we have and are comes from God.  Instead of seeking the approval of others, we now know that we have God’s approval. 

All this comes from the God who healed our broken relationship with him, with ourselves, and with each other.  He now asks us to spend our lives working to help other people heal their broken relationships.  If we choose to walk with God, then our job is to also walk with others and bear their burdens and help men and women drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right.

But how is this possible?  It’s possible because God made Jesus, who had no brokenness, to be broken for our sakes, so that through his body and blood, we could become the children of God.

So what do you think?  What would it look like for you to be an ambassador of Christ in your world?  How have you seen God transforming you from selfishness and greed and lust and pride into someone better?

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