2nd Corinthians 5:12-21
The people of the church at Corinth were divided in their opinion concerning Paul. Some remembered the time spent in their midst at the church’s founding. These knew Paul to be a man of great intellect and full of energy for spreading the Gospel. Others lacked the benefit of having met Paul and could only rely upon the rumors and odd stories they had heard of him. These considered Paul to be something of a nut. What sane man would willingly return to a city where he had been stoned and left for dead? The apostle wanted them to understand that he sometimes acted contrary to common sense because the message he bore was of such keen importance that it had to be told regardless of circumstances.
The message of Paul is the Gospel. In the beginning, mankind declared itself free from the will of God. The breaking of the relationship was altogether man’s doing - God never offering offence nor breaking the peace. He is the injured party; nevertheless, it was God that made the first overtures for peace.
The means of reconciliation is the shed blood of God’s sacrifice – Jesus of Nazareth. From the first understanding of guilt, to the outpouring of grace, salvation is the work of the Spirit. The messengers of reconciliation are men who have themselves already experienced grace and salvation. God might have chosen another means for reconciling men to Himself but He did not.
I. The Agents Of Reconciliation Are Men
A. Men that were once lost themselves
1. Nothing special
2. Men that were sinful, blind, foolish, and lost
3. We witness to sinners as fellow sinners and ought then to better understand their stubbornness
B. Angels would not be nearly so effective
1. They have never experienced the terror of being lost
2. Angels would be more likely to feel disdain for unrepentant men
C. Our selection offends Satan’s pride
1. He is not contending with beings of equal power and intellect
2. To defeat man is no great feat, but how humiliating when men defeat him?
3. He thought to hurt God through men and now God uses these weaklings to stalk him
4. It will be lowly man that conquers Satan
D. This brings more glory to God
1. The weaker the instrument, the greater honor to the wielder
2. The apostles astounded the learned men of Israel, Rome, and Greece
3. Our faith is proven by the fact that the work survives our pitiful efforts
II. The Recipients and Method Of the Message
A. All the people
1. Rich, poor, ignorant, and educated
2. Everyone needs to hear this message – Kings, presidents, prisoners, etc.
B. Salvation is more than doctrine, it is life
We are become the righteousness of God in Christ (vs. 21).