Christian Basics Bible Sampler - Page 38

2 Corinthians 6 • page 1328
sincere heart. 13If it seems we are crazy, it is to
bring glory to God. And if we are in our right
minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way,
Christ’s love controls us.* Since we believe
that Christ died for all, we also believe that
we have all died to our old life.* 15 He died
for every­one so that those who receive his
new life will no longer live for themselves.
Instead, they will live for Christ, who died
and was raised for them.
So we have stopped evaluating others
from a human point of view. At one time
we thought of Christ merely from a human
point of view. How differently we know him
now! 17This means that anyone who belongs
to Christ has become a new person. The old
life is gone; a new life has begun!
And all of this is a gift from God, who
brought us back to himself through Christ.
And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ,
reconciling the world to himself, no longer
counting people’s sins against them. And
he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.
We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come
back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who
never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,*
so that we could be made right with God
through Christ.
As God’s partners,* we beg you not to
accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. 2 For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”*
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the
day of salvation.
Paul’s Hardships
We live in such a way that no one will
stumble because of us, and no one will
find fault with our ministry. 4 In every­thing
we do, we show that we are true ministers
of God. We patiently endure troubles and
hardships and calamities of every kind.
We have been beaten, been put in prison,
faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion,
endured sleepless nights, and gone without
food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our
understanding, our patience, our kindness,
by the Holy Spirit within us,* and by our
sincere love. 7We faithfully preach the truth.
God’s power is working in us. We use the
weapons of righteousness in the right hand
for attack and the left hand for defense.
We serve God whether people honor us
or despise us, whether they slander us or
praise us. We are honest, but they call us
impostors. 9We are ignored, even though we
are well known. We live close to death, but
Reconciliation—the restoration of broken relationship—was a deep need at
Corinth. Paul’s first letter revealed that factions had developed in the church
(1 Corinthians 1:11-12), and now there was even a rift between the church and
its founding apostle. But Paul’s appeal for them to be reconciled is not rooted in
emotion or practical needs, but in the very heart of the gospel, the cross. For the
cross is all about reconciliation.
Because of sin, our relationship with God was broken, and a great gulf
appeared between us and him. But at the cross, Christ took our sin upon
himself, paying the price for it and washing us clean, thus removing all barriers
to our friendship with God (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-21). So as Christ hung on the
cross, he reached out to God with one hand, as it were, and to us with the other
and drew us back together in his own body.
But reconciliation cannot stop there. Once we have been reconciled to God,
we find ourselves alongside others who are reconciled to him too, including
many with whom we wouldn’t normally associate, or maybe whom we avoided
or even hated in the past. But to come to Christ is to come to one another. We
cannot say we have been reconciled to God if we are unwilling to be reconciled
to one another.

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