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We tend to live in a way that exposes what we truly believe about ourselves. That woman whose personal worth was shattered through years of physical and verbal abuse will find it hard to believe she deserves anything better. That man who believes he is beyond redemption will harbour that dark conviction until a fundamental change takes place in his thinking. There is hope however.
The Apostle Paul wrote “From now on we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective…” (2 Corinthians 5:16 CSB). In other words, Paul didn’t see people in the same way they viewed themselves, and we shouldn’t either. He viewed people from the perspective of what they could be and what they were meant to be by the grace of God. So instead of being focused on what the old flesh declared them to be, he used his knowledge of the gospel to help them fly to Jesus and gain hope and redemption.
Every believer in Jesus knows that without the Lord’s intervention we’d be as fit for the Kingdom of God as a filthy rag, “for all our righteousness is as filthy rags,” (Isaiah 64:6). There are no illusions. We know we’d miserably fail the ‘Do you believe you are a good person’ test. But it’s entirely possible at the same time to know and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to revel in a right standing with God acquired through faith in Him. This is the wonderful message we have to share.
Because of the gospel of Jesus, we can help change ‘stinking thinking’ when we encounter it. We can choose to see people, not as who they are in the flesh at any given moment, but see them through the lens of what they could become by the grace of God through faith. Thus, we can choose to exhibit the love of God in our actions and in our words. The Bible says love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)
When we learn to love like Jesus we can look past “worldly perspectives” and recognize the biggest obstacle to spiritual transformation is often what people believe about themselves. With that knowledge we can help despairing souls in this world see the worth they have in God’s eyes and show folks they are not beyond redemption. When the chains fall off, they’ll find the strength to be reconciled to the idea of what real forgiveness is all about.
Here is the Apostle Paul’s message of reconciliation:
“For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised. From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has 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 he has committed the message of reconciliation to us.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God. He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,” (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
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