Digging Deeper posts are intended to help us go farther into God’s word than a simple surface reading
and are designed to help us discover new tools in the process.
Curious as to why we Dig Deeper? Here’s Why!
2 Corinthians 5:16-21, English Standard Version (ESV)
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1) What is Paul referring to with “therefore”?
2) What does Paul mean when he says “old” and “new”?
3) What is the “ministry of reconciliation”?
4) What does it mean to be an ambassador of Christ?
A trip to www.studylight.org is in order here.
We will get super cozy with this site as we study Scripture together!
Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom!
It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.
Want to know more about a specific word in a verse?
Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!
Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage?
Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))
The Findings for Original Intent
1) When you see a “therefore” in Scripture, ask yourself, “What is it there for?” In chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians, Paul is making the argument that all is for the glory of God. No one should boast in his own works, but rather in God’s righteousness alone. As followers of Christ, we long for the day that all will be made right. When we encounter God, our desperation is revealed and the desire for change consumes us. Paul makes the argument that God uses us as believers to be His glory on display in the world around us.
2) We all know what the words mean but here is an analogy used by Paul to make a separation between what was and what is now; what life is before Christ and what life is after Christ. The transformation in our hearts is so great that we go from old, dead, fleshly driven humanity to new, alive, spiritually focused ambassadors.
3) Looking at verses 18 and 19, Paul tells us the definition of the “ministry of reconciliation”. God reconciled us to himself through the death and resurrection of His Son Christ Jesus, because of that we have a job assignment from now until eternity…tell others! God entrust believers with the task of telling others of the change that has taken place in our lives, the dramatic transformation from death to life. God made a way for us, therefore, we must be the eternal town crier letting the world know the reconciliation that comes from knowing God.
4) The word ambassador in the original language literally means ambassador in English as well. The dictionary defines ambassador as “an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country or a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.” Christ-followers are aliens and foreigners in this world (John 18:36) and we are accredited by the power of the Holy Spirit to be in this world, but not from it. We are God’s representative and promoters of His loving righteousness in a crooked and twisted generation. (Philippians 2:15)
Some Applications for Our Everyday Lives
1) Paul’s argument is life-giving truth for a desperate soul. We are made new creations in the power of Christ’s resurrection. “O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57)
2) Old and new gives a visual representation that we can relate to. Think about when you buy a new pair of shoes. They are pristine, without blemish. Now wear them every day for a year. What do they look like? They are worn, scrapped or tarnished in some way. This is the difference, praise be to God He never leaves us in a worn out, blemished, separated state! Rather He pursues us, transforms us, and reconciles us to Himself!
3) “God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) Through Christ’s death, God bought us into favor with Himself. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10) We have received mercy and our change should prompt a desire to see other’s change.
4) Never forget your desperate state before you met Christ, never forget your story and God’s hand in bringing you into a reconciled relationship with Himself. Your story, His glory! We are accredited representatives for the Kingdom of God. Have you shared your faith story on our Faces of Grace? Now would be a great time to take that step of obedience by proclaiming Christ with your story!
What have you discovered on today’s journey? Share it with the GT Community!
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