Paul’s life revolves around the knowledge that this is merely his first, his earthly life, “for we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2Corinthians 5:1). We are not long for this life is Paul’s point, so don’t settle in. At 57 years old, I appreciate “for in this tent we groan” better than I did when I was 17, and there is nothing wrong with “longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2Corinthians 5:2). But not so fast; there is work to be done.
An ambassador is a citizen of one kingdom living in another, representing his government to a foreign land. We are ambassadors, says Paul, “God making his appeal through us on behalf of Christ” (2Corinthians 5:20). If Jesus is King, eternity is home, and we are merely passing through time. Between time and eternity stands judgment–”we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2Corinthians 5:10). There is better yet to come, and so, we, as ambassadors of eternity, cry out to any and all who remain at home in this world, “On behalf of the King of kings, Jesus Christ, be reconciled to God” (2Corinthians 5:20).
Time, however, cannot comprehend eternity, so we do not know how to be reconciled; we must be shown, and this Christ did: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Corinthians 5:21). It is the great exchange, and it is profoundly unfair. Jesus becomes our sin and offers us his righteousness. Take the deal!
Heavenly Father, You are holy and good. Your Son has taken the penalty of my sin and given me his righteousness. Thank You so much!
May I rid myself of the desires, the thoughts, the habits of old. May I put them to death. Help me kill them. I don’t want to think and act the way I used to, but rather, to live the life You created me to live. A life of service and love, of goodness and peace, that gives You glory and pleasure.