Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,[a] not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Paul says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” While most of the time Paul’s word “us” refers to himself and perhaps his coworkers in spreading the gospel, Paul clearly includes the Corinthians in inviting them to consider themselves included, as well. Can we consider ourselves included in the “us?” Can we consider ourselves included among those to whom God has entrusted the message of reconciliation?
Paul says, “So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us.” The office of ambassador in Paul’s day referred to an officer who had a direct commission from the Emperor. To be an ambassador of Christ is to have a direct commission from Jesus Christ. Beyond that, the ambassadors of the Emperor were those who were responsible for bringing areas into the Roman Empire and making the people in those areas Roman citizens. To be an ambassador of Christ, then is to bring others into the kingdom of God.
Paul made it clear that “we” referred to Paul and his colleagues as ambassadors and the appeal they were making on behalf of Christ, as ambassadors of Christ, was the appeal to be reconciled to God. But, does that “we” now include us? Based on what both Jesus and Paul say, it clearly does. We also are to be ambassadors of Christ. God calls us both to be reconciled and to be reconcilers. God calls us to be Christ’s representatives in the world. God calls us to see with the eyes of Jesus. God calls us to tell the story of Christ’s transforming love and even to be agents of transformation.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster