2 Corinthians 5:19 …God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…
God made Man upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29), and very good (Genesis 1:31), but Man chose to sin against the Lord in heart, mind and in action. The first instruction of love – that man was not allowed to eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil – given in the Garden of Eden was rejected with consequences.
Our decisions affect those around us. God, being consistent with His nature, has to punish sin. Even as He had to protect the purity of the garden and future generations, He had cast Adam and Eve out of the garden out of necessity for purity but unwillingly. God does not cast people out unless they have violated His commandments; such exile results in men condemned to live without Godʼs help and friendship in this world and without God in the world to come. Paul relates the eternal purpose of God to the Corinthian church and admonishes them towards a relationship with God. There are three lessons we may learn from this verse:
There is enmity between God and this world
Godʼs will is to reconcile the people of this world to Himself. This implies and is demonstrated clearly from Scripture that there is a separation from God, not of Godʼs doing, but of Manʼs. God remains ever hopeful for a restoration with Man, but there is an enmity: Man hates God because the sinful nature will not submit to God. However, God hates the sin in Man but loves him still. Certain Calvinists would oppose this statement; is it not true that while parents detest the sin in their children and the effects of that sin, they still love their children?
There is a hope that God has given us
God has not left us without hope, a bridge, or a way of escape. Consistent with His holiness, God has to punish our sin; consistent with His compassion, He has to provide a way to escape. This verse tells us that God has given us hope of having our sins forgiven, our way of filthiness cleansed and our entry to heaven assured. We have hope because God has given us hope, despite our sinfulness and departure from God.
This hope is in Christ
There is no hope outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many claim to know the way of salvation through multiple works or man-given principles and hope to achieve future, immortal happiness. However, the Lord Jesus dealt with the crucial issues of life, death, resurrection from the dead and the hope of eternity. His life was innocent and sinless; His death on the cross was not the result of evil political ambitions and jealousy but of Godʼs will to pay for sin. His resurrection proves His power over death and sin and His victory to give us eternal life.
Are you in this world, and without Christ? You have no hope in this world. We have been estranged from God but in God we can have hope. In this hope, Christ promised to save us when we trust in Him and believe His word and on His name. Yes Lord, I believe. Help me to live my life for you from now on.
Evangelist-Pastor Johnny Tan
Ambassador Baptist Church