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My devotions took me to 2 Corinthians 5. It’s a favorite chapter of mine. When we planted our church years ago we named it New Creation Fellowship after 2 Corinthians 5:17. This morning for some reason, though a whole bunch of things hit me all at once and I decided to share them with you. You see part of our goal here is to help believers tell a better story and to share the ultimate story, the story of Jesus and how that story resounds in our lives. Paul hits so many wonderful points in this passage that it bears repeating. So get out your Bibles and turn to 2 Corinthians 5.
Verses 1-6 Paul comes right out of the gate talking about our hope in heaven. How, through Christ, we can know that when this body has breathed it’s last, we will still live and eventually we will receive a new, incorruptible heavenly body. He’s not saying we desire to die to receive this, no death wishes here, but merely a blessed hope that something better lies beyond, when this life is through. He then reminds us that God has given us proof that this WILL happen when He gave us His Holy Spirit. Because of this we can be confident in our eternal destiny.
Verse 7 is huge. We live by faith not by sight. Seven words that mean so much. There is more to this world than we can see, so when we struggle and hurt and things look hopeless we can look to the evidences we have received in verses 1-6 and remain hopeful.
Verses 8-10 remind us that heaven will be better than what we have in this life, but that this life has purpose and a bearing on our eternal life. Because we have received this great gift, while we live, we live to please God because one day we will all stand before the Lord and our lives will be judged. There is a reward at the end of this life for the believer so those of us who believe should make every effort to live a life worthy of the gift we have received.
Verses 11-15. Because we live by faith, and we trust and fear God, and because we know the blessed hope we will receive, we try to persuade people. We tell the story and we live the story to bring Him glory. This is what God commanded and Christ’s love compels us. After all if Christ is the way to an eternity in heaven and the only way out of hell, then if we love people with the love of Christ, we must tell them the truth that will set them free. He died for us, we must live for Him!
Verse 16. This knowledge should change how we see people. When we see everyone as someone Jesus Christ died to save, it should change our opinions of them and Christ’s love compels us to teach them the truth.
Verse 17. It is Christ who changes us and in His power, all can change. When He is in us, then and only then can we truly change and become new.
Verses 18-20. After we come to Christ, from the moment we come to Christ, we are on mission to tell this story. Jesus reconciled us to God with His death on the cross for our sins. He paid the price for our mess. He didn’t do this because we are good, “While we were yet sinners…” remember? He did it because He is good and because it was the will of the Father. He came so we could be saved and once we are saved, we are entrusted with the message of telling others how to be saved through Him. We are His ambassadors begging people to come to Jesus and believe the truth that will set them free. And finally…
In verse 21, Paul reminds us one last time of the gift. The true essence of the story. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” On our own we have no righteousness, only sin. He is our righteousness, and we need to represent Him well.
That is the essence of our story, all wrapped up in one little chapter.
Now go tell it!