2 Corinthians 5.17-21 / What Wondrous Love Is This?
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore 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. (2 Corinthians 5.17-21 ESV)
In Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice we see the deep love of God for us. God made Jesus, His beloved Son to be sin for us. It is the Father’s own Son that suffers and dies for our sin. This is the love of God! Some think that this is not love but a horrible act of “cosmic child abuse”. They say that God could have forgiven our sins without Christ’s atonement. The answer is that He could not have forgiven us by ignoring His justice! Substitutionary atonement is the only way God could be just and love sinners like you and me at the same time. And remember – God provided the sacrifice. You paid nothing. God paid everything …
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul. *
Paul issues an invitation to those who are as yet unreconciled to God the Father through Christ the Son: “Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God“ (v. 20, ESV).
This message of the substitution that brought peace needs to be proclaimed; it must be believed. Often, we hear the cry of protesters when some injustice has been done, “No justice; no peace!” And there is quite a ruckus until justice is satisfied. It is that way in the eternal scheme of things as well. Until we have peace with God we have no basis to stand before God except as those who are ruined and condemned and deserving of hell. We have no peace with God in every sense of the word. Until the righteous demands of God’s justice is met, there is and can be no peace. We are, as Paul puts it in Romans 5:10 “enemies” of God until reconciled to Him in Christ. Here, then, is God calling you through His Gospel message by His ambassadors to be reconciled!
Notice how the text puts it: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” This is what God is doing through His Word preached. I am His ambassador and on His behalf, I urge you to be reconciled to God. He is summoning you to be reconciled to Him. Come to Him as you are. Don’t delay! Yield your heart to Him, NOW! He is calling you NOW! He says: “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden not your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:7-8) (ESV)
There was once a time when I did not know Christ, and I did not care. That was almost 44 years ago. But He revealed His love to me, and ever since I have loved Him and proclaimed him. Now my life’s calling is to tell every man and every woman and every boy and girl to be reconciled with God, Who so very graciously extends His mercy and His invitation to you right now. And if you are in Christ, this is your message to the world around us as well.
Flee to Christ. Trust Him. Receive His work for you. God has laid your guilt on Him and He invites you to receive His righteousness. Escape from the sure wrath of God which is to come. Believe and live!
If you have believed upon Him savingly, you can join in the chorus of praise and adoration:
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.*
— John Butler
*From an American Folk Hymn, “What Wondrous Love Is This?”