December 5 (Daily reading: 2 Corinthians 5-9) Looking back again to my seminary days (I’m feeling nostalgic), I heard a chapel sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. I do not know who to credit for the sermon, or if it had a Christmas theme, but these verses give “the gospel of Christmas.” One of the thrilling characteristics of the gospel is its emphasis on “new.” We can begin a brand-new life with Jesus every day! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (v. 17). How do we become a new person?
First, in Christ, we have a new revelation. Paul said he no longer regarded Christ “from a worldly point of view” (v. 16, NIV). He had discovered that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (v. 19). The angel said to Joseph: “They shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means ‘God with us’” (Mt. 1:23). Christ reveals God to us so that we can know Him personally!
Second, therefore, in Christ, we have a new relationship. The angel also said, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21). We know Him as Savior: “There has been born for you a Savior” (Lk. 2:11). As our Savior, “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him” (v. 15). We have this new relationship because Jesus, “who knew no sin,” became “sin on our behalf.” In exchange, we have become “the righteousness of God in Him” (v. 21)!
Third, in view of these glorious facts, in Christ, we now have a new responsibility. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ.” We are God’s representatives to the world, with a message: “Be reconciled to God” (v. 20). Go tell it on the mountain!
– Al Gary