Prayer Series XI
CONTEXT: The following is from the ESV Study Bible:
The central theme of 2 Corinthians is the relationship between suffering and the power of the Spirit in Paul’s apostolic life, ministry, and message. Paul’s opponents had questioned his motives and his personal courage. They argued that he had suffered too much to be a Spirit-filled apostle of the risen Christ. But Paul argues that his suffering is the means God uses to reveal his glory (1:3–4, 11, 20).
For a more in-depth overview of 2nd Corinthians and its themes see summary here.
Matthew Henry breaks down chapter 5 as follows:
The apostle proceeds in showing the reasons why they did not faint under their afflictions, namely, their expectation, desire, and assurance of happiness after death (v. 1-5), and deduces an inference for the comfort of believers in their present state (v. 6-8), and another to quicken them in their duty (v. 9-11). Then he makes an apology for seeming to commend himself, and gives a good reason for his zeal and diligence (v. 12-15), and mentions two things that are necessary in order to our living to Christ, regeneration and reconciliation (v. 16 to the end).
Our text for today is in the final section of the chapter that begins with v.16. that basically says from this point onward those (God’s chosen, His elect, True Believers) will no longer consider the ways of the World. Then in v.17 we find one of the most often quoted verses from all of 2nd Corinthians:
v.17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This is significant to our text in that Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit makes it clear that, if we are truly in Christ, the old self, the crude, rude and prideful self is gone. In v.18-19, Paul describes how God was busy reconciling the world to Himself through Christ giving us, His elect, the ministry of reconciliation.
Our main text is v.20 in the AMP it reads: So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.
Not only is it the job and responsibility of every true believer to earnestly pray for others to be reconciled to Christ, we should be willing to plead with God for this to happen. Note that Paul writes we are speaking (pleading) with you just as if Christ Himself was making the appeal. Paul is not saying as Ambassadors we are to tell folks to accept Christ, or seek God but to preach, teach and share the Gospel. Pleading with them to listen and with God to soften the hearts.
Is that how we talk to our loved ones, our friends, our co-workers, our enemies about Christ? Is that how we pray for them? Are we using the example set forth by Christ in John 17, also known as His High Priestly Prayer.
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on v.20 states:
...for Christ … in Christ’s stead—The Greek of both is the same: translate in both cases “on Christ’s behalf.”
beseech … pray—rather, “entreat [plead with you] … beseech.” Such “beseeching” is uncommon in the case of “ambassadors,” who generally stand on their dignity (compare 2 Cor 10:2; 1Thess 2:6-7).
be ye reconciled to God—English Version here inserts “ye,” which is not in the original, and which gives the wrong impression, as if it were emphatic thus: God is reconciled to you, be ye reconciled to God. The Greek expresses rather, God was the RECONCILER in Christ … let this reconciliation then have its designed effect. Be reconciled to God, that is, let God reconcile you to Himself (2Cor 5:18-19).
Then in v.21 Paul declares:
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
That the only way we can accomplish this new self, is by God imputing His righteousness unto us. Man apart from the indwelling Holy Spirit, is a sin ridden creature.
God is the only one who can save anyone. No matter what anyone preaches, teaches or evangelizes only God can move upon and save a person’s soul. I have been in churches where a common question was “how many souls did you “win” for Christ this month or year? Like it was a TV game show contest or something. Seriously, eternal damnation is no a game, and true believers need to be about praying righteously, as ambassadors of Christ.