Bringing People to God
11We know what it means to respect the Lord, and we encourage everyone to turn to him. God himself knows what we are like, and I hope you also know what kind of people we are. 12We are not trying once more to brag about ourselves. But we want you to be proud of us, when you are with those who are not sincere and brag about what others think of them.
13If we seem out of our minds, it is between God and us. But if we are in our right minds, it is for your good. 14We are ruled by Christ's love for us. We are certain that if one person died for everyone else, then all of us have died. 15And Christ did die for all of us. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised to life for us.
16We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in this way. 17Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.
19What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. 20We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God. 21Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so Christ could make us acceptable to God.
1We work together with God, and we beg you to make good use of God's gift of undeserved grace. 2 In the Scriptures God says,
“When the time came,
I listened to you,
and when you needed help,
I came to save you.”
That time has come. This is the day for you to be saved.
The average response time after an emergency call is eight minutes or less. We are hardwired to respond quickly when danger is imminent. The same attention to urgency ought to be heeded in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical.
‘Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation’ (2:6a NLT).
Yet it’s easy to fall into complacency, despite waking up every morning to the fact that millions have never heard the Gospel and live in spiritually dangerous conditions.
For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” (6:2b NLT)
Paul didn’t expect believers to sit around waiting for people to ask what makes them different. He urged them to have a strong faith deeply rooted in God’s Word, ready to share at any moment what made them tick and the reason for their faith. Indeed, as it was with Paul, the “love of Christ” displayed in his death ought to compel us to participate in the same ministry of reconciliation.
Coupled with that is the fact that our faith is a gift and a celebration indeed! Our old life is gone– we have a new one! What an incentive to increase in urgency and seek to reconcile others to Christ as we have been! Paul’s charge is as clear then as it is now – we are to be intentional about seizing EVERY opportunity to instill deep faith into the next generation.
Father God, instill in us the joy of your salvation. Empower us with your Holy Spirit, knowing that your timing is perfect, that you have gone before us and prepared hearts and minds. We believe that you will cause mighty things to happen and that we will see revival and salvation. Amen.