by Dawn Rutan
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV).
I don’t know where the idea came from that our faith is solely a personal and private thing. Perhaps that is part of the Western independence that insists no one else can tell me what to do. But it is clear in Scripture that Christians are to live for God, and therefore we must be united and working together as the body of Christ. The cross of Christ means that we are not our own kings, but we belong to the One who died for us. We were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20).
It’s interesting how often we take 2 Corinthians 5:17 out of context, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” Faith in Christ isn’t just for personal transformation, but for a whole new way of relating to the world as a new entity called the body of Christ.
The result is that we are therefore ministers of reconciliation. It’s not that we “ought to be,” but we are ambassadors whether we act that way or not. We don’t receive the gift of faith just so we can be sure of our eternal destiny, although that is one benefit. We receive it so it can be worked out in daily life through our actions and words, and so that others might come to know Christ as Savior.
We can quickly think of public figures who claim to be Christians but whose lives belie that claim. We may even think of many within our own church or family. However, none of us are perfect representatives of Christ. We try with varying degrees of effort and success to say and do what is best. Thankfully, it is not our effort that brings results, but it is “God making His appeal through us” (v. 20). His purposes will prevail, as the cross of Christ has already proven.