Updated: Jul 30, 2021
The apostle Paul said, "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. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 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. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (II Corinthians 5:16-21 - ESV)
Recently I was reading the preceding text and some thoughts hit me hard. First, we cannot ever forget that we are ambassadors for Christ. Second, we are called to reconcile people to Christ. And, finally, the most important thing Christians need to remember is that Christ is the hope of the world! I love the word "Hope" and it has become one of my favorite biblical themes. In fact, Misty and I use this phrase often on social media and in our ministry. We believe in finding hope and reclaiming that hope. When I read these words above from Paul I see my hope, but I also see the consequences of those living without the hope that God offers humanity.
Christ never promised that we would have everything we want, yet He provides everything we need. Isn't that amazing!?! Romans 5:6 tells us that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." We might die for our momma, a friend, maybe even a stranger, but definitely not a criminal that did not care for our sacrifice. However, this is exactly what Christ did for us! Whether you asked for it or not. Whether you wanted it or not. That is how much He loves you!
There is a story of some young poor boys trying to sneak into baseball games. Each day there was a game after school they would walk to the stadium and find an open gate. As the story goes, a man saw this on a few occasions and decided to buy them tickets so that they would not be caught or punished. They didn’t deserve the tickets or the privilege. They deserved to be punished for sneaking into the games. However, they were given the opportunity to accept his free gift or risk punishment in the future. The cost of a a ticket was only $7 each, but it was given to individuals who could not repay it. This is the way it is with Christ. We could not pay the debt, so he paid the debt for us to keep us from punishment. We deserve punishment, but by God's grace we have another option. A better one!
The apostle Paul speaks of how Christ gave Himself for His church in Ephesians 5. Husbands are called to do the same thing for their own wives. This brings reconciliation. I Corinthians 12:13 says that we are all united because we are all saved by the same grace. Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 1:3, etc. tell us that spiritual blessings are in Christ. When we accept the hope that He offers, we are saved! These thoughts should motivate us to reconcile with our families, friends, and neighbors. Also it should encourage us to share this hope with those who are without hope.
The hope and assurance Christ has promised us is guaranteed. We need to stay in the light to have the confidence of hope in a hopeless world. We need to remember our purpose, our plight, and God’s provision. God is so good!
Find hope. You need it. Share that hope. Lost souls depend on it. There is always hope.
Ray & Misty