Sunday, April 29, 2012

Reconciled Representatives

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 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.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.  We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

[Paul] indicated God's unspeakable lovingkindness, saying he was not reconciled to us, although he it was who was insulted by the Fall.  Rather, he reconciled us to himself, not employing a human being as mediator, but making the only-begotten Son a mediator of peace.… The God of all it was who by means of Christ achieved reconciliation with men.  Now what is the manner of this reconciliation?  He granted the forgiveness of sins and commissioned us as ministers of peace.

Since he claimed to have been appointed minister of reconciliation, he was obliged to set out the ambassadorship….  Now, what is the message he brings as ambassador?  We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  The words are sufficient to make even the most unfeeling be ashamed.  He said first that with the execution of Christ he not only did not bear resentment but sent us as ambassadors to win all people over, respect his long-suffering, be ashamed at the murder of Christ, and be reconciled to the Creator, God, and Lord.

He goes on to add to the above the dishonor of the passion.  Though free of sin, he underwent the death of sinners in order to undo man's sin; and bearing the name that we have, he gave us the name of what he himself is—that is, he lavished us with the riches of righteousness.

Theodoret of Cyrus, "The Second Letter to the Corinthians" on 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

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