Ambassadors for Christ – 1 Corinthians 5:16-21

You Have Never Met A Mere Mortal…

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 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. 20 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. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Powerful Perception

As humans, we have a tendency to look at people as just physical beings.  We don’t actually “see” the spirit, so we look outwardly.  Before we knew Christ, we did the same.  But God has awakened within us our spirit, and made us alive in Christ.  And we now need to look at everyone in this same way – alive or dead.

Zombies are a fictitious creature that are physically dead, but somehow animated (usually through some type of viral contagion) that makes the body appear alive, but without the ability to consciously be aware or responsible for its actions.  In a way, before we knew Christ, we were spiritual zombies.  Our spirit was dead, but our physical bodies were still going about doing things.  Once we become alive in Christ, we see the spiritually dead for what they are – and they aren’t even aware of their condition.

Each and every human ever created – whether from the dust or rib like Adam and Eve, or through conception by the Holy Spirit or physical relations – has a soul.  And each of us have an eternal end – either spiritually alive in Christ, or spiritually dead in the Lake of Fire.  Since we have been awakened, let us make every effort to see people in this way, and to tell them of the good news of Christ, that more may awaken from their slumber before it becomes permanent death – eternal separation from the Lord God Almighty.

Creation Changed

The translation in verse seventeen is not quite right.  It should read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation…”  Every time someone is awakened from their spiritual slumber from death to life, a new body part is added to the body.  And when that happens, the body changes – the church (the entire body of Christ) becomes an entirely new creation, having a new part attached to it!  As new parts are attached, the body is able to perform its job better, because it now have more opportunity with its fuller capability to serve the Lord.

And just as Paul said, “The old is gone, the new is here!”, the body is now different and new, and something that it wasn’t before.  The old body now looks different and can act different – it is something new that the world has never seen!  Every time someone accepts Christ, the body of Christ grows and needs to be viewed differently.  We ignore the change to the body to our very peril.  Each piece needs to grow into maturity; otherwise, it will drain the body of resources, and perhaps even make the body look sickly, weak, ineffective, or outright distasteful.  The body must be nurtured, fed well, and exercised in order for it to work effectively.  We cannot ignore new body as it morphs into its new shape and function without severely impacting its health.

Reconciliation Retold

We have been given the message of reconciliation.  Like a messenger who has been given a time-sensitive and urgent message to deliver to key allies in a war, we have been given the message of reconciliation of God and Man through the God-man Jesus Christ.  The message that God is now reconciling us through the shed, perfect blood of His one and only Son Jesus Christ is of paramount importance to get to our allies – those who will listen, receive, and obey the message.

Deliver the Declaration

We have been tasked with getting the message out to all the world.  All people need to hear the message, so that the body can remain healthy and growing, and ensure that all who would be reconciled to God would do so.  You have heard the message.  Be reconciled!

At this time, even in the Middle East, where night has fallen and no one can work, Jesus is sending them dreams and visions, revealing Himself to all who would listen to Him, and imploring them to be reconciled to God.  But even those who have not heard the message will be held to account:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Don’t fall down on the job; be the messenger that God intended for you to be.  Deliver the message to everyone, and let God work on their hearts and the growth of the seed that you have sown.  Remember – You have never seen a mere mortal.  Everyone has an eternal destiny.  Help others find theirs, as you have found yours.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When I look at people, what do I see?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have been gracious to me, and opened my eyes that I would see, and opened my ears that they would hear.  You have redeemed me out of the miry muck of sin, and have given me the robe of righteousness that covered Your Son.  Father, give me a heart that reaches out to those who do not know You.  Help me to model Your character to them, and to treat them as You have treated me, with love, compassion, mercy, and grace.  Help me to reveal You to them, and to speak up regardless of the circumstances.  But in all things, give me a heart of obedience to the Holy Spirit, so that in Your timing, Your way, and with Your words, the message of reconciliation will be properly delivered to all.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

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