For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV)
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Consider: Today’s reading opens with: Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others (2 Corinthians 5:11a). Paul is not saying that he is afraid of God and this motivates him to tell others the good news. When Paul says that he knows ‘… what it is to fear the Lord …’ he is speaking of the awe, reverence and honour we give to God as we are aware of his holiness, power, justice and providence. Of course, if we were to witness God’s mighty power we would rightly be afraid (see an example of this in Exodus 19:16). Paul recognises that the more we know of God’s character and what he has done for us, the more we want to share that good news with others.
Paul adds another dimension to what motivates us when he says: For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died (5:14). Notice that Paul uses the word ‘compel’ in this verse. The world’s understanding of ‘compel’ is that it involves the use of force to bring about a certain action. What Paul is saying is that Christ’s love for us (and our love for him) motivates us to willingly share the good news of the gospel. Therefore, our motivation is not just that we fear God, but also because we have the knowledge of sins forgiven and the promise of eternal life. It is the combination of these things that should motivate us to share our faith with others.
Paul gives a third reason why we should share our faith. He says: 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 people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation (5:18-19). Paul speaks of the ‘ministry of reconciliation’, the ‘message of reconciliation’ and us being ‘reconciled’ to God, through Christ. When we share our faith with others we necessarily speak of salvation and forgiveness, but we should also speak of reconciliation and being brought into a new relationship with God.
Let me ask you some questions. Do you believe that the gospel message we share is really ‘good news’ for a world in need of forgiveness and reconciliation? Do you truly believe that there is no more important issue facing us all than where we will spend eternity? Does the plight of those who die without Christ move you to action?
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
(2 Corinthians 5:20).
Pray: Father, create a new impetus in us to share the good news that Jesus died to pay the price for sin and his resurrection gives us the sure and certain hope of eternal life. We acknowledge that all of mankind needs your forgiveness and to be reconciled to you in a new and living relationship; may this motivate us to speak openly and boldly about our faith . Amen
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