2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NKJV
Paul’s declaration to these Corinthian believers and to us of being “new creations” leads him now to instruct these Corinthian believers and us that since we are reconciled or katallasso meaning we are changed and brought into favor with God the Father by what Christ Jesus our Lord did by dying and taking our sins into Himself (1 Peter 2:24), then we are now given, committed with, appointed to the office of, and commissioned to the ministry or service of reconciliation or katallage meaning we serve as instruments used by God the Father through God the Holy Spirit as He restores sinners who repent and put their trust in the atoning or compensatory and making amends for wrongdoing/sins of man by virtue of the death of God the Son on the Cross. Paul spoke of this transaction done for sinners in this manner in his letter to the Romans when he said, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled (katallasso) to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled (katallasso), we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (katallage)” (Romans 5:10-11).
Paul wanted the Corinthian believers and us to be made aware of how great this sacrifice of God the Father was for us and how un-describable or unexplainable His Love to us (sinful rebellious enemies of His) was in sending the Lord Jesus and is by receiving us (the unholy, unclean, and impure) to Himself (the Holy, Clean, and Pure) as adopted sons and daughters. Here is what the American Bible Scholar Archibald Thomas Robertson (1863-1934) said about this ministry or service of reconciliation that every born again Christian has been given, “It is a ministry marked by reconciliation, that consists in reconciliation. God has made possible through Christ our reconciliation to Him, but in each case it has to be made effective by the attitude of each individual. The task of winning the unreconciled to God is committed to us. It is a high and holy one, but supremely difficult, because the offending party (the guilty) is the hardest to win over. We must be loyal to God and yet win sinful men to Him.” Indeed it is a very lofty undertaking every son and daughter of the King of Kings has been employed with, but when we constantly remind ourselves of the eternal consequences of some soul being un-reconciled to God as the Apostle John makes perfectly and abundantly clear with the penning of these words, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15), then the job does not seem as un-daunting in the clear view of eternity without Jesus Christ.
Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:19 leave no doubt as to whom Jesus Christ is or what His purpose for coming to the earth as the God-Man was. Paul with no reservation or hesitation in his writing declares “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” and this is another one of the many verses in Scripture that testify to the Deity of Jesus Christ. It was God in Christ and this is why sinful man can be forgiven because the Blood Shed by Christ was not human blood only (though it was real human blood), but it was Holy, Clean, Sinless, Pure, and Supernatural Blood (Acts 20:28) that is the only means by which sins can be atoned for and reconciliation made possible. We recall from the very beginning when sin entered the world through the one man Adam, God killed an animal (shedding blood) and covered Adam and Eve with the animal skins (Genesis 3:21) removing the sown fig leaves they made trying to cover up their nakedness (this is equivalent to what people do today with doing good deeds trying to cover up the guilt and shame of their sin). However, the writer of Hebrews declared and confirmed what God the Father did in the beginning when he wrote, “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). In Christ Jesus’ first coming to die and shed His Blood for sin, He is now not taking an inventory or making an account of or keeping a record of the sins of those who repent and turn to Him in complete faith and trust becoming sons and daughters (Hebrews 10:15-18), but instead now as sons and daughters we are treated as any good earthly father would treat his sons and daughters, loving them unconditionally but at the same time raising them to be obedient to him and disciplining them when they are disobedient, as our Lord Jesus declared in the same manner when He said, “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever” (John 8:35), meaning that only the sinner who has been reconciled and made a son has the privileges of the family and being in God’s Family carries with it all that God is (His Nature and Essence) and all He has in heaven and all of His Universes.
With all of this being said, then we are God’s ambassadors or His representatives throughout this world imploring, invoking, and inviting other sinful men and women to be reconciled to Him. Paul has already not too long ago in this very same letter and this very same chapter given the most important reason why we should take our role and responsibility as ambassadors so serious when he wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear or terror of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11). Finally, there are no appropriate words that I can use to expound or attempt to explain this last statement Paul makes in this chapter of his second letter, but simply I stand in awe and wonder and utter amazement of how deep and rich these words are as Paul writes, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God the Father would send God the Son who was with Him from the beginning (John 1:2) fashion a human body for Him to put on (Hebrews 10:5-7) Perfect, Sinless, and Holy and suffer the death and punishment due to our sins and give us His Righteousness which we do not deserve.
“When Paul preached ‘the cross he preached a message which explained that this instrument of rejection had been used by God as His instrument of reconciliation. Man’s means of bringing death to Jesus was God’s means to bring life to the world. Man’s symbol of rejecting Christ was God’s symbol of forgiveness for man. This is why Paul boasted about the cross!” Sinclair B. Ferguson
“Christ took our sins and the sins of the whole world as well as the Father’s wrath on His shoulders, and He has drowned them both in Himself so that we are thereby reconciled to God and become completely righteous.” Martin Luther
“Gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ should be more precious to each one of us (His reconciled children) than the very oxygen that our lungs require to sustain our earthly life every time we read, ponder, or meditate on 2 Corinthians 5:21.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…