Posts Tagged ‘2 Corinthians 5:17-21’

Friendship with God

April 8, 2017

The Verse of the Day for April 8, 2017 comes from Romans 5:10 in the New Living Translation:

For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

Here is the rendering in the Amplified Bible:

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today].

In reflecting upon this verse we note that past, present, and future all merge in the accomplished work of Jesus Christ, our Savior:

Past

In the past when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by means of the death of His son. We note that “even our ‘justification,’ our ‘reconciliation’—has already been accomplished. We are no longer enemies, but friends. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, as 1 John reminds us.

Romans 8:7 reminds us that before we were reconciled to God we were enemies who were at odds with God:

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

Former enemies have now been reconciled as friends. Beyond the invitation to become friends on Facebook, God transformed our status from enemies to beloved friends. The lyrics to the song reinforce the message:

I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God.
He calls me friend.

Present

In the present, now that we have been reconciled, God has committed unto believers, the word of reconciliation and the ministry of reconciliation, whereby we are appointed as “ambassadors for Christ.” We thus reconcile others, as 2

Corinthians 5:17-21 clearly reveal.

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Future

Regarding our future—“The future is as bright as the promises of God” because “we will be saved from the wrath to come: that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today].”

Verses 24-25 from the Book of Jude remind us and reassure us of what awaits us as believers because of we have been reconciled to God:

24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling or falling into sin, and to present you unblemished [blameless and faultless] in the presence of His glory with triumphant joy and unspeakable delight, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Recently one of the most popular verses that believers refer to when talking about the future comes from Jeremiah 29:11 in the NIV:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Although these words of Jeremiah were specifically addressed to Israel concerning their release from Babylonian captivity after seventy years, we recognize the truth expressed in

Romans 15:4:

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

The prophetic word from Jeremiah can certainly have personal application, in that the plans God has for each of His children in 2017 and beyond are no less grand than those He has for the Children of Israel. Our future is secure, as God, our Heavenly Father, clearly expresses His plans for our future or “final outcome”, so that we need have no fear for our future.

The Verse of the Day also speaks of “our friendship with God,” as we close with Phillips, Craig & Dean offering “I am a friend of God”:

As ambassadors

March 29, 2017

 

The Verse of the Day for March 29, 2017 comes from 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV):

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As the culminating verse of the familiar passage from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, this section helps us to comprehend more fully our rights, privileges, and responsibilities as “Ambassadors for Christ.” This revealing metaphor speaks of our responsibility to mediate terms of agreement between two opposing forces. In the same way that we have been reconnected to God through Jesus Christ, we are to stand in the place of Christ, the original reconciler or mediator between God and humanity, described in this way:

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

In this celebrated passage the words “reconcile” or “reconciliation” appear five times, the number of grace. The verb means to change or exchange something. The basic meaning of the noun is “a change on the part of one party only, induced by some action on the part of another.”

Biblegateway.com notes:

Paul is the only New Testament writer to use the noun katallage (reconciliation) and verb katallasso (to reconcile). The basic idea is to change or make otherwise. In Paul’s writings, God is always the reconciler. Those in need of reconciliation are hostile human beings (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Romans 5:10-11).

God, who initiates the relationship, changes a relationship of enmity to one of friendship. William F. Beck translated 2 Corinthians 5:18 in the following way:

“But God has done it all. When we were His enemies, through Christ He made us His friends and gave us the work of making friends of enemies.”

Once we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, we then stand in his place, and reconcile others, in light of the truth that God has committed to every born-again believer the ministry of reconciliation. The reconciled become the reconcilers, and so the exchange goes on. Our designation as “ambassadors for Christ” inspired this poem:

As Ambassadors

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first
and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him
who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, uhe sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.

Luke 14:31-32

As Christ, the Lord, implores and calls each soul to be reconciled,
So we beseech you in mercy and stand in his stead,
That mankind might reconnect–no longer exiled.
Just as a great king will send an entourage ahead
Of his army and offer terms of agreement,
Expressing his desire to redeem and restore
With a covenant that shall forever cement
And make known his will, even in times of war,
We see that behind every plan unfolds a process,
Conceived in wisdom long before the world began.
From God’s gracious right hand that shall forever bless
Flows loving favor, expressing His divine plan.
The day is forthcoming when all conflict shall cease,
As ambassadors offer final conditions of peace.

We conclude with The Reconciliation Song from Promise Keepers of 1998:

The greatest commandment

February 21, 2016

 

Romans 13--9-10

Most amazingly, Valentine’s Day was a week ago, and we’re still talking about love. The Verse of the Day for February 21, 2016, summarizes the last five of the Ten Commandments, all of which are connected to our relationship with one another:

Romans 13:9-10 (NKJV)

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Whereas the first five of the Ten Commandments discuss our relationship with God, this passage reminds us once again that “It’s all about relationships” and how we should treat one another:

Whether with God, family, friends, co-workers, husband or wife,
“It’s all about relationships,” the foundation of life

The following comments are taken from a blog entry posted a year ago that was inspired, in part, by a life-changing conference called “It’s All about Relationships” hosted by Apostles Eric and Carolyn Warren of Equip U Ministries of Reynoldsburg, OH:

Dane Findley, health writer and wellness coach, commented that “Paying close attention to the relationships in your life is not an extracurricular activity — it’s the reason for life itself.”

Without question, “It’s all about relationships,” starting from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. The Book of Genesis and subsequent books of the Bible unfold the consequences of the first broken relationship when Lucifer chooses to break fellowship with God, thus becoming the “first murderer” and “the father of lies” who begets an untruth in the very presence of truth. We see the devastating consequences of his deadly influence in the Fall of Man and the degradation of humanity and all of earthly life itself.

The Scriptures reveal God’s ultimate desire for reconciliation and the healing of all broken relationships, expressed through Jesus Christ. As ambassadors or representatives of Christ, we stand in his place, using the word of reconciliation which is part of the ministry of reconciliation, as we endeavor to restore broken relationships, first with God and with others as well (II Corinthians 5:17-21).

The primary relationship in life is one’s relationship with God. Matthew 6:33 reminds us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” We also recognize “The first and great commandment: To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Believers are further instructed to “love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love God, first of all, and then love others to the same degree that we love ourselves, we fulfill the law of love which is the highest expression of God who is love.

Here is a musical expression of these profound truths by Martha Hall Bowman, who sings “The Greatest Commandment”:

As ambassadors for Christ

January 13, 2016

2 Corinthians 5--20

The Verse of the Day for January 13, 2016 provides a portrait of believers who are designated as “Ambassadors for Christ,” a telling metaphor that speaks of our responsibility to mediate terms of agreement between two opposing forces. In the same way that we have been reconnected to God through Jesus Christ, we are to stand in the place of Christ, the original reconciler or mediator between God and humanity. The issue of reconciliation or being reconciled is also brought out in Romans 5:10, expressed this way in the Amplified Bible:

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today].

To more fully comprehend our rights, privileges, and responsibilities as Ambassadors for Christ, let us examine the familiar passage from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 which speaks of our being reconciled that we might reconcile others to God:

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

In this celebrated passage the words “reconcile” or “reconciliation” appear five times, the number of grace. The verb means to change or exchange something. The basic meaning of the noun is “a change on the part of one party only, induced by some action on the part of another.”
Biblegateway.com notes:

Paul is the only New Testament writer to use the noun katallage (reconciliation) and verb katallasso (to reconcile). The basic idea is to change or make otherwise. In Paul’s writings, God is always the reconciler. Those in need of reconciliation are hostile human beings (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Romans 5:10-11). God, who initiates the relationship, changes a relationship of enmity to one of friendship.

William F. Beck translated 2 Corinthians 5:18 in the following way: “But God has done it all. When we were His enemies, through Christ He made us His friends and gave us the work of making friends of enemies.”

Once we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, we then stand in his place, and reconcile others, in light of the truth that God has committed to every born-again believer the ministry of reconciliation. The reconciled become the reconcilers, and so the exchange goes on. Our designation as “ambassadors for Christ” inspired this poem:

As Ambassadors

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first
and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him
who comes against him with twenty thousand?

32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation
and asks conditions of peace.

Luke 14:31-32

As Christ, the Lord, implores and calls each soul to be reconciled,
So we beseech you in mercy and stand in his stead,
That mankind might reconnect–no longer exiled.
Just as a great king will send an entourage ahead
Of his army and offer terms of agreement,
Expressing his desire to redeem and restore
With a covenant that shall forever cement
And make known his will, even in times of war,
We see that behind every plan unfolds a process,
Conceived in wisdom long before the world began.
From God’s gracious right hand that shall forever bless
Flows loving favor, expressing His divine plan.
The day is forthcoming when all conflict shall cease,
As ambassadors offer final conditions of peace.

Susan Ashton with Margaret Becker and Christine Dente offer “A Song of Reconciliation” to close this blog entry.

Love fulfills the Law

February 21, 2015

Romans_13-9

“Everything must change”: the lyrics to classic song, a showpiece for countless singers, is really an adaptation of the words of Solomon from Ecclesiastes 3 which reminds us that “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” This past week has been one of significant change for me, in that the problems that I had been having with my laptop continued until my faithful device “gave up the ghost” and totally gave out on me. Fortunately, I had a replacement, a tablet which I should have been getting accustomed to using months ago, but I kept putting it off until now, when I am forced to make a quick adaptation. In the process, I have not been blogging consistently, but I am trying to get back on track. Here is an entry which is a re-posting of the Verse of the Day entered a year ago.

Romans 13:9-10 NIV

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The Verse of the Day for February 21, 2015, reminds us once again that “It’s all about relationships. . . Whether interacting as a married couple, getting acquainted as a single man or woman, whether communicating as friends or co-workers, from pre-teens to senior citizens:

Whether with God, family, friends, co-workers, husband or wife,

“It’s all about relationships,” the foundation of life

Dane Findley, health writer and wellness coach, commented that “Paying close attention to the relationships in your life is not an extracurricular activity — it’s the reason for life itself.”

Without question, “It’s all about relationships. . . “from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. The opening verse of Bible declares, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” establishing the relationship between the heavens and the earth, between bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial. Genesis further reveals the relationship between God, the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. The expression of the interaction of the three is in revealed in Genesis 1: 26: “And let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness.”

Verse two of Genesis 1 beginnings with the conjunction “and,” the most frequently used word in the King James Version of the Bible, being used 28,364 times. The figure of speech known as polysyndeton involves using “many ands” where is there is emphasis placed on each item listed in any series connected by the conjunction. This figure is particularly noteworthy in Genesis 1:2 and the verses that follow.

The Book of Genesis and subsequent books of the Bible unfold the consequences of the first broken relationship when Lucifer chooses to break fellowship with God, thus becoming the “first murderer” and “the father of lies” who begets an untruth in the very presence of truth. We see the devastating consequences of his deadly influence in the Fall of Man and the degradation of humanity and all of earthly life itself.

The Scriptures reveal God’s ultimate desire for reconciliation and the healing of all broken relationships, expressed through Jesus Christ. As ambassadors or representatives of Christ, we stand in his place, using the word of reconciliation which is part of the ministry of reconciliation, as we endeavor to restore broken relationships, first with God and with others as well (II Corinthians 5:17-21).

The primary relationship in life is one’s relationship with God. Matthew 6:33 reminds us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” We also recognize “The first and great commandment: To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Believers are further instructed to “love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love God, first of all, and then love others to the same degree that we love ourselves, we fulfill the law of love which is the highest expression of God who is love.

Here is a musical expression of these profound truths by Martha Hall Bowman, who sings “The Greatest Commandment”:

Reconciled to reconcile, as ambassadors

April 8, 2014

Taken from Romans 5:10, the Verse of the Day for April 8, 2014, speaks of our being reconciled or reconnected to God:

Romans_5-10
In reflecting on that verse, I thought of the familiar passage from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 which speaks of our being reconciled that we might reconcile others to God:

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, the words “reconcile” or “reconciliation” appear five times, the number of grace. The verb means to change or exchange something. The basic meaning of the noun is “a change on the part of one party only, induced by some action on the part of another.”

Biblegateway.com notes:

Paul is the only New Testament writer to use the noun katallage (reconciliation) and verb katallasso (to reconcile). The basic idea is to change or make otherwise. In Paul’s writings, God is always the reconciler. Those in need of reconciliation are hostile human beings (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Romans 5:10-11).

God, who initiates the relationship, changes a relationship of enmity to one of friendship. William F. Beck translated 2 Corinthians 5:18 in the following way: “But God has done it all. When we were His enemies, through Christ He made us His friends and gave us the work of making friends of enemies.”

Once we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, we then stand in his place, and reconcile others, in light of the truth that God has committed to every born-again believer the ministry of reconciliation. The reconciled become the reconcilers, and so the exchange goes on.
Our designation as “ambassadors for Christ” inspired this poem:

As Ambassadors

Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

Luke 14:31-32

As Christ, the Lord, implores and calls each soul to be reconciled,
So we beseech you in mercy and stand in his stead,
That mankind might reconnect–no longer exiled.
Just as a great king will send an entourage ahead
Of his army and offer terms of agreement,
Expressing his desire to redeem and restore
With a covenant that shall forever cement
And make known his will, even in times of war,
We see that behind every plan unfolds a process,
Conceived in wisdom long before the world began.
From God’s gracious right hand that shall forever bless
Flows loving favor, expressing His divine plan.
The day is forthcoming when all conflict shall cease,
As ambassadors offer final conditions of peace.

Susan Ashton with Margaret Becker and Christine Dente offer “A Song of Reconciliation” to close this blog entry.