Paying it Forward (2 Cor 5:18-19)

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18–19, KJV)

When I was in the pastorate, I would often have to do a special service for someone or a family. Most often it would be a wedding or a funeral. Normally the person or family would present me with a monetary gift for providing such a ministry to them. I would take that money and usually use a portion to add something for my library or ministry. I also kept a portion hidden in a commentary in my office for special needs that might come about. Often people would come into the church with benevolent needs, a bill they could not pay, or an inability to purchase food, etc. I would use the money tucked inside the commentary to help that person meet the need. In this way, as I received, in some small way I was able to pay it forward.

Here, Paul wrote of the blessing by which believers were made new creations. He explained that God “reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. The verb “reconciled,” katallasso, is an interesting word that has the idea of making an exchange (Thayer 95). It is a term that could be used to describe the work of money changers. In the context of this passage, it has the idea that our alienation towards God has been exchanged for a blessed union with Him. All of this happened because of the work of our Savior Jesus Christ on the cross. On the cross, an exchange was made. Christ died in our place. He died to pay the penalty of our sin and in exchange offered us peace in a new relationship with God. He, by paying the penalty of our sin, removed the blemish that caused our alienation towards Him. Through this, God reconciled us to Himself in Christ.

Yet He has also granted us a great privilege of paying it forward. We who have been reconciled to God have been given a ministry of reconciliation. As God has reconciled us to Himself, He has entrusted or “committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” We have the word of hope and we have everything needed to execute our ministry of reconciliation. We just need to share the truth of the message of Christ with others who are alienated towards God. Our responsibility is merely to spread the good news. To sow the seeds of hope into the hearts and minds of people. The seeds that land on good soil will sprout and produce a harvest of salvation and peace with God.

In this age, it does seem increasingly difficult to get people to respond to the gospel. Yet getting people to respond is not our responsibility. God is the one who will touch the heart and make it fertile for the seed. Ours is just to sow the word. Thus, we should pray for those who are in darkness that their hearts would be prepared for the word and that they would be open to hear the word of reconciliation. Then, after sharing, we should continue to pray that the seed sown would sprout in the heart of those who heard and trust the Lord for the results. As you have received the word of reconciliation, pay the same forward to bless others.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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