2 Corinthians 5:18-21
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.
Reconciliation means to reestablish a close relationship; a person’s behavior becoming acceptable to another after a time of separation. In this passage we see that we have been reconciled to God through the death of Jesus Christ. We already know and have discussed that we were sinners and that through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can be forgiven of our sins. And we know from verse 17 that when this happens we are new creatures, born-again children of God, filled with His Spirit.But here we see it described as a reconciliation, reestablishing that relationship between God and Man that we lost when Adam sinned.
Now, this reconciliation is in two parts, the ministry of reconciliation and the word of reconciliation. First, it is the ministry, or the administering of, reconciliation. Notice verse 18 …who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; this refers to the gift of salvation, Notice that it was given, it cannot be earned. Romans 6:23 says,For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We were sinners, guilty in the sight of God, worthy of death. But God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, reconciled us to Himself. He did this by putting our sins onto Christ, and the righteousness of Christ, onto us. Some would call this the bait and switch, but it is not a con game, because that would imply that God or we benefited illegally. But God is a God of justice and sin requires the penalty of death, as Romans 6:23 says,Forthe wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God, knowing His law, paid the penalty Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and because Jesus Christ did not deserve to pay that penalty, He could then apply it to the sins of the world. Read verse 19 again,To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and verse 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.Since Jesus had no sins of His own to pay for then He could pay for our sins. Like a spotless lamb, as a picture of faith in the coming Messiah, was slaughtered for the sins of Israel, so Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, was slaughtered to pay for the sins of the whole world. The wages of sin is death…
The only requirement, faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 says,Forby grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.Why is faith required? Because for a person to be saved they must believe they are lost. And if a person does not admit they are lost, then they cannot be saved. John 3:16-18 says,For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Look in the Bible, from Cain to the Pharisees, we see Man trying to work, to earn his way to Heaven. But it is impossible, because the penalty of sin is death. So if you try to be good enough to go to Heaven, you will fall short as Romans 3:23 says, For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The only Man that has ever been justified in the sight of God was Jesus Christ. For only He lived a sinless life, because only He could, because He was also God. And because of His sinless life he became the perfect sacrifice for sin. And what does the Bible say of us, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. When we come to God,admitting that we cannot save ourselves, that we do not deserve it but we ask His forgiveness, realizing that because Christ already paid for our sins on the Cross, we can have that forgiveness, only then are we truly saved. God says that salvation cannot be earned, it must be given, and it can only be given when we admit that it cannot be earned.Only then will we be truly reconciled to God.
The second part of reconciliation is the word of reconciliation. Read the last half of verse 19 through verse 21 …and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.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.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. Believer, you and I have been given an amazing gift, the gift of reconciliation. But this is not just Jesus reconciling us to God, although that is an unspeakable blessing. No, this is us, as Christ’s ambassadors, preaching the word of reconciliation to the lost. Paul was telling the Corinthian church that if we have been saved, if we have been reconciled to God, then God has a job, a ministry for us. The ministry and the word of reconciliation. That is why Jesus’ last command is called the Great Commission. Jesus told the disciples to go out and preach the gospel to the whole world, that Jesus Christ has made a way to Heaven, to make disciples that can also go out and preach the gospel of reconciliation and make more disciples and so on through the ages until He returns. We have a command from Jesus, a ministry that He has given to us, to preach the gospel of reconciliation to a lost and dying world.
That is what I leave you with believer, if you have trusted Christ as your Savior, rejoice in your reconciliation to God, that he has not imputed your trespasses to you but instead has imputed the righteousness of Christ to you. And go out as Christ’s ambassador, and preach the same word of reconciliation that you received, to a lost and dying world. Not only preaching, but praying for them, as well, that they too may be reconciled to God! 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.