17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!18 All this is from God,
who reconciled us to himself through Christ
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them.
And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,
as though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20
Have you ever read a book, reached the end and were surprised to discover it was book one of a series? Or perhaps it was a movie or a TV show. The cliffhanger kept you in suspense until the next release. You knew there was more, probably something even better than you’d seen or read in the first installment, and you were chomping at the bit waiting for the rest of the story.
Paul Harvey used to have a radio broadcast called “The Rest of the Story.” He shared a true story about an ordinary person or incident, and then he’d tell us he’d be right back with “the rest of the story.” After a commercial or three, we’d hear a heartwarming or inspiring ending to give a nation hope and restore our faith in humanity.
I think Second Corinthians 5 is like that. It’s “the rest of the story.”
As a Christian, I can never be too appreciative of the fact Jesus left the beauty and perfection of heaven to walk on this earth and experience life as a human so we can be sure He understands us. His death and suffering on my behalf leaves me speechless, and the resurrection is too marvelous for words. When we share the gospel, we generally tell our friends these extraordinary truths along with the message of Christ’s astonishing gifts of love and forgiveness. But too often, we leave it there, and we don’t even end the conversation with a hint that there’s more.
And while that’s enough, it’s not the end. For a long time I lived in the incomplete truth of the gospel of forgiveness. And I never want to take away from the importance of that truth; however, there’s more. When we never move past forgiveness, we tend to think of it from a more human perspective. I understand that just because I forgive someone it doesn’t mean they will receive my forgiveness or want to ever be my friend again. In our world forgiveness doesn’t always equal reconciliation. So it’s imperative we share the ministry of reconciliation when we share the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You see, I’m not just forgiven. I’m more than made new. My relationship with the One who created me is restored. Christ calls me friend (John 15:15). The Sovereign Ruler of the Universe walks me with in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). His Spirit speaks to my heart. My tears of regret become laughter, my sorrow becomes joy, and Jesus invites me to dance with Him. (Jeremiah 31:13) My Savior and Redeemer, the One who paid the price for my ransom, the Father I hurt beyond measure when I wasted the treasures He gave me anxiously waited for my return, and not only did He forgive me, He ran out to meet me, brought me back into the Garden of His Estate and gave me a huge share of the inheritance just as if I’d never left.