God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
– 2 Corinthians 5:21
Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth was written in Philippi around 54 AD, after Paul and Timothy had received the good news from Titus that the Corinthians had been obeying the rather blunt instructions that Paul had laid out in his first letter to them three years earlier. Knowing that, Paul’s second letter was somewhat softer, affirming the comfort of God through ministry (mainly good Christian living and giving). The letter ends with a not- so-subtle reminder of the authority of his apostleship directed to a minority in the church. One of the key ministries he addresses is the “ministry of reconciliation” (see 2 Corinthians 5:11-21) which is the heart of the gospel and begins to reveal the mystery of our redemption.
I say “mystery” because what logic is there in a Man Who has lived a perfect life without sin, Who willingly goes to a cross to become sin, so that you and I, who are bathed in sin, have available to us a garment of righteousness to make us spotless in the eyes of God? Absent love (John 3:16), there is no logic to that act which represents the greatest transaction ever offered. Our memory verse tells us the “how” of the transaction, but the language leading up to it challenges us to live out this “ministry of reconciliation.”
When we adopt contrarian actions—ones seemingly containing no logic and clearly outside our world’s paradigm—it attracts attention. Some might even say “we are out of our minds” (2 Corinthians 5:13). What motivates these actions? First, we must enter a different state, that of being in Christ. If we are “in Christ,” the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). God’s plan is to reconcile the world to Himself—“in Christ.” All of this is freely given to us by God, and He wants to make His appeal through us as His ambassadors. In fact, we are implored to offer this ministry of reconciliation to others
(2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
At the heart of those seemingly illogical actions is love, agape love—the type of love demonstrated on the cross. We can be ambassadors of this love only because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Reconciliation—the grandest of gifts from God. Pass it on!
by Elder Chuck Wolfe