“For Christ, then, are we ambassadors, as of God entreating through us. We are beseeching for Christ's sake, 'Be conciliated to God!'” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
“IS GOD entreating me to be at peace with Him? I thought He was angry with me because of my sins.”
Not so! God, in His fathomless grace, condescends to do all the entreating now! Don't drown out His entreaties with your pleadings for forgiveness, for He gives you His word that your sins have been already taken care of, once and for all, by the Savior, Christ Jesus, Who died for you on the cross.
“But how can I be sure ...?”
Your salvation is guaranteed by the fact that God raised Him from the dead. God's Word assures us that Christ “was given up because of our offenses, and was roused because of our justifying” (Rom. 4:25, Concordant Version).
Your faith in these facts is all that really matters. There is nothing left for you to do, except believe God. “Yet to him who is not working, yet is believing on Him Who is justifying the irreverent, his faith is reckoned for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:5). “For in grace are you saved, and this is not out of you”; it is an outright gift, not based on anything which you may do, but based on His love for you. These things are so, “lest anyone should be boasting. For His achievement are we” (Eph. 2:6-10). If your faith is genuine, this is only because you have been “graciously granted, for Christ's sake, ... to be believing on Him” (Phil. 1:29).
The Lord Jesus did not merely offer you a “chance” to believe. No, He cares so much for God's chosen ones that He provides for them ever so much better than that. Besides, before you had the spirit, you were “not able to know” concerning spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). And when God called you, He was quite as able to unveil His Son in you as He was in Paul (Gal. 1:15,16). The reason why anyone believes is not because of something he has done, but because of something He, the Lord Jesus, has done! “The grace of our Lord overwhelms” our unbelief “with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:14). God already chose those “in Christ” long ago; so there is no risk involved at all (Eph. 1:4-6).
“God is commending this love of His to us, seeing that, while we are still sinners, Christ died for our sakes” (Rom. 5:8). God has done it all. Salvation is “of the Lord.” It is by God in man, not God and man!
He gave His Son to die for you; He made Him to be a sin offering for your sake; He gives you His own righteousness through Christ. He has provided everything because He knows that you cannot provide it yourself. Rather you should recognize that God has already done it by Himself for Himself, so He needs no conciliation. But you do! All the estrangement is on your side. The quickest way to rid yourself of it is to listen to His entreaties, and heed them.
Sit down and think it over. The moment your thoughts stray back to yourself, you are off the track. Let me tell you a secret. The greatest thing, after all, is not your salvation, but God's glory. That is really His main reason for saving you. He loves you and He never would have allowed sin to come between you and Himself in the first place, if it would not eventually be to His glory and for your greatest good.
Ponder this: God is actually entreating you to be conciliated, or at peace, with Him. He has done everything necessary to justify you, so that you may walk boldly into His presence (Rom. 5:1,2). Right now you may not be able to realize all of this fully, but respond to His entreaty
– Be conciliated to God! And thank Him for His unspeakable gift!
“For Christ, while we are still infirm, still in accord with the era, for the sake of the irreverent, died” (Rom. 5:6).
“God is commending this love of His to us, seeing that, while we are still sinners, Christ died for our sakes. Much rather, then, being now justified in His blood, we shall be saved from indignation, through Him. For if, being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the death of His Son, much rather, being conciliated, we shall be saved in His life. Yet not only so, but we are glorying also in God, through our Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom we now obtained the conciliation” (Rom 5:6, 8-11).
A. E. Knoch
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