Reading (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
The Ministry of Reconciliation
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 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.
Last week I wrote about the scaffolding that was surrounding our house in order that the roof could be repaired. Well, the repairs are all complete and the roof is finished, we now just wait for the scaffolders to take the scaffolding away and all will be done.
What is strange is that the roof itself looks very little different to what it looked like before the work was carried out. From inside the house it has been interesting to see that, while the scaffolding has been up and the roofers were working, people who have walked past the house have stopped and looked up at the roof in order to see exactly what was going on. But now, very few people will notice the difference. The tiles that were there before are the same tiles that are still there. For the very observant they might notice that where we previously had concrete around the base of the chimney stacks there is now lead but the change is only small in comparison to the whole roof.
What people won’t be able to see, is the change that has happened on the inside of the roof. They won’t be able to see the lovely new felt that covers all of the rafters or the strong, sound batons that cover the felt and allow the tiles to hang safely in position. They won’t be able to see that the roof can now successfully fulfil its purpose, as in it can now keep the rain out and keep the house dry.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he talks about those who boast about outward appearance rather than what is in the heart. He tells his readers not to consider people by what they are like on the outside, the flesh that covers their bodies, but by the inside. He tells them that when Jesus enters their lives, they are a new creation, they are different, changed on the inside.
When Jesus enters out lives, it might not be that other people will be able to see the difference on the outside, there may be small changes in appearance but the real difference will be on the inside. Inside we will be stronger, mended and able to fulfil our purpose in life. Like my roof, the outside will be the same, but the inside will be completely changed and we will be able to fulfil what God’s purpose for us is.
Thank you Jesus, that with you in my life I am a new creation. Help me to fulfil the purpose you have for me.