“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconcilingthe world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favourable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
These words of apostle Paul, which we just heard are not chosen accidentally. Their message was very important for Irma at the very end of her journey. Sometimes our life journeys are very long before we come to the point when we appreciate the gravity of these words.
We live in this world of so many opportunities, of hurry and busyness. We often don’t have a time to think about the most important questions even if our consciences keep reminding us about them from time to time.
Who are we, really? Where are we heading? We can’t erase from our hearts the feeling that this life isn’t all that is. We have eternity engraved on our hearts, we long for it. Now we often don’t have a time to think about these questions, but a day comes, when we simply won’t have a time at all. When we won’t have any time left. No one can get around that day.
Apostle Paul in this letter to Christians in Corinth writes about this the most important task that God has entrusted to the Church. That is – reconciliation. Reconciliation, making peace with God to whom we all are accountable.
We all know about this ultimate accountability. We don’t know exactly how is this going to happen, but we all have this voice inside us speaking to us, sometimes accusing us, sometimes excusing. Our conscience. It reminds that we are never alone, our deeds, words and thoughts are not hidden from this One who speaks in our consciences.
Apostle Paul wrote that ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.’ In our Baptism we are made a new creation. It is a mystery, mystery of God. That’s a way He has chosen to deal with us. Obviously, we are not changed outwardly, but we receive new identity. Our new identity is – children of God the Father. That’s who we are made.
Of course, you know how it happens with children in this world. They may rebel against their parents. They may forget about them. They may even leave parents’ house. They may live like they don’t have parents at all. But they will always be children of their parent, that’s their identity.
In Baptism we receive this new identity, a child of God, and nothing is going to change it. Nothing. We may do all these things. It often happens. Wandering away from the Father’s house, living like we don’t have our Father in heaven at all.
But, you see, and this is so important. It doesn’t change His promises. It doesn’t change His attitude towards you. It doesn’t make Him wait for you less. That’s us who have turn our backs to Him. He is always waiting for you, always faithful.
As our lives go on, we have more and more things we would like to have avoided. There are more and more dark moments, strives and arguments, by our fault or by fault of others, we sin against others, in deeds, words and thoughts, and others sin against us, and it can be so painful.
Often these kinds of live experiences tend to stand between us and our Father in heaven, our guilt and anger. They may drive us away from our Father’s house, but the day comes when we all will face Him again.
Reunion with someone whom you haven’t seen for a long time. How will it be? A day of joy and celebration, or a day of fear and shame? It depends on what kind of relationships you have. Good or bad. Broken or restored. It can be reunion with the loving Father, or the One who is going to evaluate your entire life?
This is why apostle Paul wrote about reconciliation. This is what we all need in these relationships with the Father. Reconciliation. If you are guilty before someone, only this person can forgive you. Everyone knows it. If you are exhausted by your guilt, how wonderful is to hear these words: “I forgive you.”
If you are guilty before God, only He can forgive you. And this is what Paul wrote about. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Be reconciled to God. He desires it, He offers it to you. To every one of us. To you.
God offered his reconciliation to Irma. And she accepted it. How wonderful are these words when thirsty heart hears them: “I forgive you, I accept you, I wait for you.” They restore us into relationships with our Father in heaven.
When we hear these words, we can be at peace, we can have a good conscience, we can wait with joy for a day of our reunion with God the Father. We never know when our time comes.
That’s why it is so important to listen to these words of apostle Paul: ‘In a favourable time God listens to you, and in a day of salvation He helps you. Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’
I pray that we all amid of this life’s busyness, would have a time to accept this invitation, and to live in peace.