16: "From this time on we do not think of anyone as the world does. In the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks, but we no longer think of Him in that way." – Our relationship in Christ changes our view of the world.
17: "If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!" – The old ways are forgiven; blotted out from memory. We have new life in Christ.
18: "All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and Himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with Him." – We no longer need to experience separation from God. Christ is the bridge. Once we have crossed that bridge, it becomes our job to tell the world.
20: "So we have been sent to speak for Christ. It is as if God is calling to you through us. We speak for Christ when we beg you to be at peace with God." – God fills His vessels with His Word and they, in turn, overflow the Good News to the world.
21: "Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God." – Justified! God gave us His son as the eternal sacrifice, the everlasting atonement that erases our sins and makes us one with God.
Points to Contemplate:
Has your view of the world been changed?
When you walk through a crowd of people, what do you see? Think of your last time at an airport…did you only see clothing and hair styles? Were you focused on mannerisms and temperaments? Were you enthralled by the differences or upset with the noise and confusion? Were you excited by life or disturbed by the closeness? Have you tried looking at people in this type of situation as God would look? How would Christ act in these crowds? Have you tried looking at each traveler with the accepting love of God and the discerning eye of Christ?
Are you at peace with God? Or are you involved in a game of tug-o-war due to the struggles of life? Do you accept the peace that God has offered through Christ? Or are you still trying to fix and control things yourself? Are you ready to allow God's peace to seep into all aspects of your life?
Are you telling others about the Peace? After you have crossed over the bridge that Christ has provided and have experienced the Peace of God first hand, should you not be telling others? After this experience, is your heart not alive with the passion of God to the point you cannot contain it? Are you passionate about God? Can others sense your passion? Are you an ambassador for Christ?
Can you accept that you are "the thorn that made Christ bleed?"1 As you sojourn through life, dealing with the issues of faith that we all face, can you accept in your heart that Christ actually died for your sins? As you come to terms with your failings and imperfections, as you wrestle with the wrongs you have inflicted on others, and as you search for true purpose and meaning in your life, are you led to the cross? Is this where things have been made right for you? Is the cross where you and God become one? Promises of the Gospel:
"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."2 The words from this famous and beautiful song lead us to an understanding of what the world should be like if the peace of God were to rain down. Peace depends on each of us allowing God's grace into our hearts. We can create harmony with each step we take. However, peace does not begin with us. It began on Calvary when Christ shouldered our shame, placed our thorns deep into his brow, and allowed our sins to pierce his flesh. Becoming a bridge, Christ has opened up access to God's righteousness. Through Christ, God's peace flows into our lives and out into the world. "Let there be peace on earth."
1A line from a song by singer/song writer Scott Phillips, from the album "Scott Phillips."