God Made Jesus Become Sin for You (& Me)

For the past few articles I have been writing about one of my favorite passages of scripture, 2 Cor 5:17-21. So far, we have looked at five characteristics of ambassadorship, and the process God uses to reconcile ourselves back to Him. This week we will look at the how God makes His appeal through us. What a sentence! “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us”. Take a moment to slow down enough to re-read that sentence and think about what it really says and means.

Almighty God, who spoke all that is into existence, who knows the number of grains of sand, and the hairs on your head, who controls your next breath, who holds the world in His hands; He who is matchless, magnificent beyond our imagination, full of power, grace, mercy, and always faithful; God has chosen to make His appeal to the world through everyday people like us.

The biblical facts are that if you know Christ as your personal Savior then God has given you the message and ministry of reconciliation. God has entrusted His message of reconciliation, hope, and restoration to us. His message goes like this according to 2 Cor 5:19; “God is reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them”.

God is “appealing” to mankind to turn their hearts back to Him; that His has forgiven them through the sacrifice of His own Son, and is no longer holding their sin against them, but instead has created a way for them to have direct access to Him and a personal relationship with His through Christ. But He has chosen to make His appeal through us. You and I are how God intends to communicate His love and offer of forgiveness, grace and mercy to our friends, family, and neighbors. Sobering thought, isn’t it?

The last concept from 2 Cor 5:17-21; “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.” All of the sin of all mankind (past, present, and future) was nailed to the cross with Jesus. We will never truly understand the true cost of salvation and forgiveness. God “made” the sinless and blameless Jesus to become my and your personal sin so that He could forgive us and reconcile us back to Himself.

Paul was pleading with the people in Corinth, “I implore you”, to be reconciled back to God. Paul understood his personal sinfulness, as well as the grace and mercy God had shown him. Paul wanted all people to experience the same kind of reconciliation back to God that he had experienced.

God made Jesus become our sin so He could redeem us, reconcile us, and give us His righteousness. As you walk through today dealing with that today brings with it; victories and losses, easy things and frustrating things, sorrow and joy, and so on. You have been redeemed; purchased by God. God has forgiven you, reconciled you, and has a purpose for you. So regardless what today holds, remember you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Understanding Your Ambassadorship (Part 2)

Dear Christ-Follower, according to scripture, God has “entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Cor 5:17-21)

Therefore., according to scripture, each of us, individually, are the ambassadors of Christ. In last week’s article, I listed three characteristics of ambassadorship to help us gain a fuller understanding of what it means to be “an ambassador of Christ”. First, an ambassador represents a ruler. Secondly, an ambassador is credentialed. Thirdly, an ambassador is protected. I’ll pick up with the fourth characteristic in this article.

Fourthly, an ambassador is a citizen of the country he represents. Phil 3:20 says “For our citizenship is in heaven.” As citizens of heaven we should reflect it. When you meet a some one from a different country or even from a different area of our country how they talk and act normally reflects where they are from. As followers of Christ, our citizenship is in heaven.

George Shultz, when Secretary of State during the Reagan administration, kept a large globe in his office. When newly appointed ambassadors had an interview with him and when ambassadors returning from their posts for their first visit with him were leaving his office, Shultz would test them. He would say, “You have to go over to the globe and prove to me that you can identify your country.” They would go over, spin the globe, and put their finger on the country to which sent–unerringly.

When Shultz’s old friend and former Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield was appointed ambassador to Japan, even he was put to the test. This time, however, Ambassador Mansfield spun the globe and put his hand on the United States. He said: “That’s my country.” Secretary Shultz later said about that event, “I’ve told that story, subsequently, to all the ambassadors going out. ‘Never forget you’re over there in that country, but your country is the United States. You’re there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you’re representing the best country in the world.’ “

Fifth, ambassadors keep in contact with the leader of his home country. Communication is important in life. Communications important in battle. Prayer is simply communication with God. Jesus warns us “Watch and pray, so we don’t fall into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The message we have been given as Christ’s ambassadors is one of reconciliation. It’s a message of hope, forgiveness, and restoration. God “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” because He is “reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and is not counting men’s sins against them.” And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

Let’s do a great job representing Christ this week. After all He has done for us, He really does deserve our very best.

Understanding Your Ambassadorship (Part 1)

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 which states, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

As a follower of Christ, we are also an ambassador of Christ. In this article, I will list three characteristics of ambassadorship to help us gain a fuller understanding of what it means to be “an ambassador of Christ”.

First, an ambassador represents a ruler. What he says represents the ruler. What he does represents the ruler. How he behaves himself represents the ruler. What his attitude is like represents the ruler. Therefore, we as Christ-followers represent Christ; His throne, His power, His kingdom, His heart, His love, His grace, His forgiveness, His purposes and plans, and so on. We are His hands, feet, and spokespeople.

Secondly, an ambassador is credentialed. In other words, credentials would be like a letter or certificate given to a person to show that he has a right to confidence or to the exersize of a certain position or authority. Just as an ambassador has been given a specific level of authority, Christ has given us authority (Matt 28:18-20). Our “credentialing” is when the Holy Spirit begins living in and through is at the moment of true salvation (Acts 1:8). Another of the foremost “credentials” of a Christ-follower is the clear evidence of Christ’s love in and through them; “By this shall men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.”

Thirdly, an ambassador is protected. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear thou not for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy God, I will strengthen thee, I will help thee, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” God provides and protects!

In the year 1653 Whitelock the Ambassador of Sweden was embarking on a special mission. He came to Harwich to rest the night, a stormy night in which he could not sleep. His servant asked him, “Pray sir, don’t you think that God governed the world very well before you came into it?” Certainly! “Don’t you think He will govern it quite as well when you are gone out of it?” Certainly! “Then, sir, don’t you think you may trust Him to govern it properly as long as you live?” With that Whitelock turned over in bed and went to sleep.

You can sleep well knowing that “He will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Him.” (Isa 26:3)

I’ll pick up here tomorrow.