Wednesday, November 18th 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat 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.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Back in my Bible camp counselor days, the director had a saying that he would pull out just before the weekend as we made our plans to go “out on the town” (understand: we’re talking about rural North Dakota here). He would remind us, “Remember who you are and what you represent.”

Those are good words for us. “Remember who you are and what you represent.”

The question then is, “How far back is our memory supposed to stretch if we are to ‘remember who we are’?” Based on this text, we are to remember as far back as God chooses to remember – to that moment when we became a new creation in Christ, when the old passed away. We are to remember every fresh start God has given us and continues to give us.

There’s a wonderful section in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that comes to mind as I allow myself to get caught up in this wonderful vision of our life in Christ that Paul paints for the Corinthians. Beginning on page 83, it says:

“If we are painstaking about this stage of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

The vision in that passage is the life transformation of a recovering addict. Paul paints the same vision of a redeemed sinner for the Corinthians. In Christ, they (we) ARE new creations. This identity is a gift to be lived, not a credential to be earned.

Why?

To be useful to others. To be ambassadors for Christ. To be living signs, living embodiments of God’s grace which has the power to transform human lives and bring the world into line with God’s will for all. To make the world a better place to live. This is big stuff and it is who we are, Whose we are, and what we are called to be about. New creations in Christ.

Remember who you are and what you represent.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, in our lives we often do battle between who we are called to be and who we end up being. Between what we are called to do and what we find ourselves doing. We sense the power of your love in us and the power of sin which holds us back. Fill us today with your truth – that we ARE your ambassadors, we ARE new creations, and we ARE useful tools in your hands as you touch the world with your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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