God’s Life-Giving Word of Faith
2 Corinthians 5:11-21: Paul reminds the Corinthians that God has made all human beings his friends through Christ and that all who follow Christ have died to sin and have been given new life.
Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.
Friendship with God through Christ
11We know what it means to fear the Lord, and so we try to persuade others. God knows us completely, and I hope that in your hearts you know me as well. 12We are not trying again to recommend ourselves to you; rather, we are trying to give you a good reason to be proud of us, so that you will be able to answer those who boast about people's appearance and not about their character. 13Are we really insane? It is for God's sake. Or are we sane? Then it is for your sake. 14We are ruled by the love of Christ, now that we recognize that one man died for everyone, which means that they all share in his death. 15He died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but only for him who died and was raised to life for their sake.
16No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so. 17Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. 18All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. 19Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends.
20Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ's behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends! 21Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.
What does it mean to you to be joined to Christ as a new being? Reread verse 18. What has God done? What task has God given to us? With whom will you share the friendship of Christ today?
Gracious God, fill me with your courage, that I may know your presence with me now and forever. Through Christ, you have made me your friend so that I may live in union with you. Amen.
2 Corinthians 6:1—7:1: Paul defends what he has been teaching.