Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 7.24.21

By July 24, 2021Daily Bread

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

Today’s Scripture:

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 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. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

The Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones, in his autobiography A Song of Ascents (Nashville: Abingdon, 1968), tells of a man he knew from Africa who changed his name to “After” immediately following his conversion. He reasoned that all things were new and different and important after he met Christ, so he was going to reflect that new reality in his name as well as in his thinking.

That man was living out in a remarkable way what Paul said in the scripture reading for today: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  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 be commissioned by Christ to love and serve.

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 others with the eyes of Jesus.  God calls us to tell the story of Christ’s transforming love and even to be agents of transformation.

When Jesus captures our hearts, our minds, and our imaginations, he changes our vision.  Notice Paul’s words in verse 16: “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer.”

When Jesus Christ reconciles us to God, he gives us new eyes with which to see others.  We see all—all—others as made in the image of God and as brothers and sisters.

There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”.

Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art.
Visit us with thy salvation;
enter ev’ry trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into ev’ry troubled breast.
Let us all in thee inherit,
let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be.
End of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty, to deliver,
let us all thy life receive.
Suddenly return, and never,
nevermore they temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

Finish, then, thy new creation;
true and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee.
Changed from glory into glory,
till in heav’n we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love and praise.

I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. 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
Senior Pastor

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