2 Corinthians 5:13-21
For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Mmmmm....much to ponder in this passage, isn't there?
Are you "beside yourself" for God? Are you amazed by Him...astonished by Him, astounded, thrown into wonderment by Him? (Greek definitions.)
Have you ever known a believer who was? What did their life look like?
I'll venture a guess...if they were truly "thrown into wonderment" by Jesus, I doubt they were still walking around in the stinky putrid flesh, living for themself and seeking to justify sin in their life.
When someone is beside themself for God, aren't they about His business? I love that Paul says that it was for those he was ministering to that he was of sound mind. Don't you love that?!
It's as if he's saying, "Listen. I am CRAZY in love with my Lord Jesus Christ, and My Father, so much so that I'm overwhelmed by them...but for your sake, I'm going to keep my head on, so that I can share them with you!"
(No, that's not from the Greek...just from my heart.) :)
Do you ever think about your job as a Christian as being one wherein you're "begging people on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God" ?
I wish I had done this with my friend Paul.
Paul was like a brother to me. I loved him so much. We were friends when I was at my most lost, professing to be a Christian, but living a life of total depravity before God.
I was lost, and so was Paul. He was a determined Athiest.
I'm guessing that he saw people like me, who claimed to be Christians, but weren't truly saved...and watched our lives of depravity, and though..."Hey, seems to me we're no different..why would I want their Jesus?"
Can't say that I blame him, if he was using my life as the standard...I had no standard other than my living by fleshly desires. If it felt good, I did it.
If only he had allowed God's glory to be his standard.
Some time later, I was radically saved by God.
(Every believer in Jesus Christ has been RADICALLY saved by God, by the way! How can the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, along with God imputing the righteousness of Christ to mere man, be considered anything less than RADICAL?!)
For the first few months of my new life, the Holy Spirit was tugging at my heart to call Paul and tell him what was different in my life..WHO was different in my life...or better said..tell him that I had a WHOLE NEW LIFE!
But, I was a new bride, and thought calling an old guy friend would dishonor my husband..so I didn't. I didn't even think to ask Shane if he'd be on the line with me, and the two of us call Paul. I didn't even think to stop and pray for clarity!
Here, I KNEW that my friend was lost..on his way to hell, needed what I had been given...but I didn't act.
Shortly thereafter, I was told by our dear mutual friend that Paul had driven to California to see his brother, and after he left he drove onto an Indian reservation somewhere between California and Missouri, and blew his brains out.
A man who lived on the reservation found his truck a week later, and then found him.
My friend, whom I loved like a brother, yet wasn't willing to beg of him.
Unfortunately, Paul is one of four lost friends of mine who have committed suicide.
I can't help but wonder how their eternal destinies might be different if those in their lives who were true followers of Christ, had chosen to BEG OF THEM on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.
Maybe some did, and they chose not to repent and accept that reconciliation through Christ. Maybe they didn't believe God. Maybe they didn't see their need for a Savior. Maybe they refused to humble themselves before the Lord.
Maybe no one begged them. Maybe no one ministered reconciliation to them. Maybe Christ's ambassadors took the day off, like I did with Paul.
I gotta tell you, God has used that experience to frame my life. I don't ever again want to fail to tell my lost friends about God's love for them, through Jesus Christ...about His plan of reconciliation that has already been completed for them.
I don't ever again want to fail to beg them on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.
I want my life to beg. I want my words to beg. I want my marriage to beg.
I want my childrens' lives to beg.
I even want my funeral to beg!
Yes, I want always to be a beggar for Christ to a lost and dying world.
If the love of Christ controls us, and if agape love always seeks the others' best...then don't we HAVE to share the awesome truth of Christ crucified and risen again?
Don't you want the best for your lost friends? If the love of Christ controls us, this won't even be a question we have to reason through.
Who in your life needs to meet an ambassador for Christ today?
Who needs you to minister the word of reconciliation to them?
Who needs you to beg them today?
Go in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. He will give you the words.