Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation …. We are ambassadors for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5: 17-18, 20a NAS)
By Mark Kelly
The radical change Jesus brings to our lives transforms more than our relationship with God. Jesus invites us into God’s everything-is-new kingdom, where nothing is as it was before — especially our relationships and responsibilities.
We were God’s enemies, but his overwhelming love for us allowed his sinless only Son to die in our place so we could be adopted into God’s family. (Romans 5:8-10) When we allow Christ to make new creatures of us, all the “old things” disappear and “new things” take their place. The most fundamental change is our mission in life. Instead of being in it for ourselves, looking out for No. 1, we become ambassadors for a kingdom of justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
Now justice, peace, and joy are not merely the benefits we individually enjoy for entering the Kingdom; they also describe the newly created relationships between citizens of the Kingdom. They describe the vision of new life we offer lost, broken souls enslaved by the powers of this present darkness.
How radically different is a world in which we are told to love our enemies? How different is a world in which we are told to love our neighbor — and as an example we are told a story about ethnic groups who despise each other? How radically different from our churches today would a community be, in which there was no poverty because members sold their property to help other members in need?
In this radically different “new things” world, we also have “new things” responsibilities.
God set a radical example of loving our enemies by allowing his sinless only Son to die in our place. As ambassadors of God’s kingdom, don’t we have a responsibility to represent our Lord to even the worst of his enemies, including sex traffickers, child molesters, and slave owners? How much greater is our responsibility before God to reach out to their victims and help them find a path into the Kingdom of Justice, Peace, and Joy?
Declaring that old things have passed away means much more than turning away from our old sinful indulgences. It also requires us to turn away from our old (and sinful) apathy about oppression and injustice.
Our old complacency and self-interest allowed injustice to multiply without restraint. Our mission as ambassadors of reconciliation is to multiply God’s justice.
Mark Kelly is editor of Multiply Justice. Copyright © 2012 Kainos Press