In these verses, the apostle Paul is explaining the ministry of reconciliation and the role of believers as ambassadors for Christ. Let's unpack the meaning:
- Reconciliation through Christ:
Paul begins by stating that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. This refers to the work of salvation accomplished through Jesus Christ. Through His death and resurrection, Christ made it possible for humanity to be reconciled with God. God took the initiative to restore the broken relationship between Himself and mankind.
- Trespasses Not Counted:
Paul emphasizes that God does not count our trespasses against us. In other words, through Christ's sacrifice, our sins are forgiven, and we are no longer held accountable for them. This demonstrates God's incredible love and grace towards humanity. The barrier of sin that separated us from God has been removed, and we can now approach Him freely.
- Commissioned to Share the Word of Reconciliation:
Paul then states that God has entrusted us with the word of reconciliation. As believers, we have received the message of salvation and are called to share it with others. We have the privilege and responsibility to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, declaring that through Him, reconciliation with God is possible.
- Ambassadors for Christ:
Paul describes believers as ambassadors on behalf of Christ. An ambassador represents a higher authority and carries the message and interests of their sending country. Similarly, as followers of Christ, we represent Him and His kingdom in the world. Our lives and words should reflect His love, truth, and mercy. We are called to be His representatives, sharing the message of reconciliation and inviting others to be reconciled to God.
- Entreaty and Begging:
Paul highlights the urgency and importance of this message by stating that God is entreating through us and begging on behalf of Christ. This shows God's earnest desire for humanity to be reconciled to Him. He pleads with us to respond to His love and embrace the salvation offered through Christ. As ambassadors, we join in this plea, imploring others to be reconciled to God.
The significance of 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 for us today can be understood in several ways:
- The Ministry of Reconciliation:
These verses remind us of the central message of the Gospel—reconciliation with God through Christ. As believers, we are called to participate in this ministry by sharing the message of salvation and extending God's invitation to others. We have the privilege of being instruments through which others can experience reconciliation with God.
- The Grace of Forgiveness:
The fact that God does not count our trespasses against us highlights His abundant grace and mercy. We are called to extend this same grace to others, forgiving those who have wronged us and seeking reconciliation in our relationships. As recipients of God's forgiveness, we are to be agents of forgiveness in the world.
- The Responsibility of Ambassadors:
Being ambassadors for Christ is a high calling and responsibility. We are called to represent Him well, reflecting His character and sharing His message of reconciliation. Our lives should be a testimony to the transforming power of the Gospel, drawing others to Christ through our words and actions.
- The Urgency of the Message:
The urgency in Paul's words reminds us that time is of the essence. We are living in a world in need of reconciliation with God. We are called to proclaim the Gospel boldly, realizing that every person's response to the message of reconciliation has eternal implications. The plea to be reconciled to God should stir a sense of urgency and compassion within us.
In conclusion, 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 emphasizes the ministry of reconciliation, the role of believers as ambassadors for Christ, and the urgency of sharing the message of reconciliation with others. As recipients of God's grace, we are called to extend His love and forgiveness, representing Christ and imploring others to be reconciled to God. May we embrace this calling, faithfully sharing the Good News and inviting others into a restored relationship with their Creator.
See also: vs 17-18
2 Corinthians 5:19-20. Having committed to us the word of reconciliation, we are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.