Resurrection Power- 2Corinthians 5:14-21

In this passage, Paul tells us that Christ has been raised from the dead, and so have we in Him, and we are to live our lives in the power of that resurrection. We will look a little more closely at this passage to determine exactly what this means. In verse 14, we are told that Christ’s love “compels” us. This is the Greek synecho- literally to “hold with or hold fast”, His love has such a hold on us it compels us to act in certain ways. This happens as we become more and more “convinced” that we died with Him and have also been raised with Him. He died so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us (verse 15), He raised us up with Him to give us the capability to live like Him, compelled by the love of God. This new capability includes a new way of seeing things, for we “no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view”, we now have a new “worldview”, a new way of seeing things, a new way of interpreting reality. Like Paul on the Damascus road, we have seen Jesus for who He truly is, and we see nothing else in the same way any longer. In Christ we are new creations! As new creations, we will “live a new life”, living out our new identity and new worldview. Having told us what this resurrection power is and where it comes from, Paul now tells us what it is for. Christ’s death for us brought about a reconciliation between God and each of us, the relationship which was broken due to Adam’s sin has been reinstated through Christ’s righteousness. We have been transformed from God’s enemies into His children, and He has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation. The sin which brought separation from God has been dealt with, and all people can now be reconciled to God. We are Christ’s “ambassadors”, God works through us to make His appeal to the world, and He has given us resurrection power to do so. He has given us this power to live as one with Him (just like Jesus did), and in living out this “oneness”, we “implore” the world to be reconciled to God as we have been. Our message is given in verse 21, that God made Christ sin for us, that Christ took our sin and has given us His righteousness, and He has given us the power to live out the love which Christ demonstrated for us to draw others to Him. There is an unfortunate chapter break here, in 6:1, which is really part of the same thought and should not be separated from chapter 5, for this verse serves as the conclusion to Paul’s message. Here we learn that it is possible to “receive God’s grace in vain”. What does Paul mean by this, could God’s grace “fail”? The term vain here is used to refer to something which is useless, which has no effect, and what Paul is saying is that it is possible to accept the forgiveness of the cross without living in the power of the resurrection. It is possible to live life out of our old worldview, compelled by love of self rather than love of Christ, not as Christ’s ambassadors, not living as one with Him but still as our own lords, for this is the true power of His resurrection, the power to die to self and live for God, and it is in this power that we will draw the world to Him.

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