We have previously studied how walking uprightly according to the truth is not about performance, but it is about believing rightly the Gospel of Jesus Christ and receiving His righteousness. It is the understanding and acceptance of this truth that enables us to truly live the abundant life in Christ, free from uncertainty, worry and fear. Yet many people are not experiencing this, because for the most part, this truth is not taught in today’s culture. We are not hearing the original Gospel that Paul preached and received from the LORD Jesus, and therefore we are not experiencing the same results from the Gospel either.
That’s why in this study today, we will be examining what the true Gospel is, and how by believing and receiving the message of truth, we can live the abundant life of Christ as we are meant to.
Now I have made a bold claim in the opening, that the majority of churches today are not preaching the true message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That statement may come as a surprise – it may even be offensive; however the scripture is very clear about what the true Gospel message is, and as we examine the verses today, it will become very clear that what we are reading in the Bible, is opposite from what most churches are preaching and teaching. This has been harming people for many generations, and that is why it is so important to expose it.
So as we begin our study today, we must first ask the question, what is the true Gospel? Now in the past we did a detailed study on this exact question – however for a shorter answer today for the purposes of this study, let’s turn to 2nd Corinthians 5:17-21:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.
For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Verse 17 starts off with the essential truth of who we are in Christ. Without this truth, we have no foundation upon which to stand. It says Therefore if any man be in Christ… today if you are a believer in Christ Jesus, if you are abiding in Him, then this truth is your truth and this reality which we are about to read is also your reality, regardless of how you feel, regardless of what your eyes may see regardless of what you may think and regardless of what anyone else may tell you, you are a new creature: old things have passed away; these “old things” in the Greek is ancient things, all the things from the old man, all of the things from the first Adam, all of those things are gone – they have passed away, they are dead. Then verse 17 continues: Behold which means “look and see”, all things are become new. This verse does not say that some things are become new, but that all things are become new. In Christ you are a new nature, a new life, a new hope, a new assurance, a new and living way, new power over the enemy and evil forces, a new way of thinking about the world and about your life, a new attitude, and new perspective. It is virtually endless, and all of these things are because of Jesus Christ as we see in the next verse 18.
Now verse 18 says that all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. This is telling us what God’s desire is: to reconcile us to Himself; the word “reconcile” means to make peace – not to beat us down, not to condemn us, and not to punish us. He accomplished this reconciliation through His Son Jesus Christ, who also has not come to judge or condemn us (John 8:15, John 3:17), and then after reconciling us, after making peace with us, look at what He did then: He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. Not condemnation. God is very clear on this. Your ministry, the way that you serve should be based off of this reality of peace with God – you are not trying to get peace with God, you already have peace with God, and your ministry flows naturally from this truth.
Then, it continues in verse 19 that God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. This is an important detail because many believers don’t actually believe this truth. Most believers do not even believe that this is true in their own life, let alone the rest of the world! How about you? Do you know that today God is not imputing your trespasses to you? Many people do not know this because pastors today do not preach or teach this! The world needs to hear that God is not imputing their trespasses to them today. This does not mean that the entire world is saved – that’s not what this verse is saying. But God is leaving the doorway open for salvation, and many people are scared away from God because they have a wrong idea or belief about His character or His nature. They seem Him as being angry with them and waiting to punish them; and I don’t know about you, but I would tend to withdraw from my parents if I thought that they were angry with me… even if it wasn’t true.
So the world needs to hear that today God is not looking to punish them. Today child of God, God is not looking to punish you either! And once you have settled this fact in your own spirit, look at what He has given to you as the verse continues… and has given to us the word of reconciliation. So both our ministry service and the word that we speak, are both to be of reconciliation, not condemnation. The people out there are struggling, searching and dying every day. They need to hear us telling them that today God is not imputing their trespasses to them. Pastors need to be preaching this word… God is not angry with you, He has completely exhausted His wrath once and for all on the body of Jesus Christ. The door is open, come home! Why settle for pig pig food, when the Father’s house has bread enough and to spare? (Luke 15:17) Why settle for all of the false love out there in the world that will leave you broken and destitute in the end, when the Father is waiting to lavish you with true divine love and accept you just as you are? (Luke 15:20)
This is the truth of the Gospel, but in many places we are not hearing this because there is a lack of understanding regarding Grace. Most pastors believe that if they preach against sin, then people will see how bad sin is and they will turn away from their sin and turn towards God – but that line of thinking is not actually true! In reality, the opposite happens. The more people hear about sin, the more sin-conscious they become and one of two things will happen: Either they will develop an interest in the sin because we tend to gravitate towards things we are told to stay away from. Or if they are struggling with a particular sin already, then the more guilty and condemned they will feel… either way it drives people away from God, not towards Him, and it is opposite of what the New Covenant of Grace represents: remember that Jesus has freed you from sin-conciousness. Old Covenant prophets would be sent to remind people of their sin and warn of the judgment of God, but New Covenant prophets remind people of their righteousness and acceptance in Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:10).
So this is the word of reconciliation which God has given to us. This is the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that everyone needs to hear. Now that we know what the truth is, we can spend the rest of our time today on the second point of our topic: Living the Abundant life. Note that living the abundant life in Christ is not possible without the first part of believing the truth of the Gospel. Keep that fact in mind as we look now at verses 20 and 21 of our text:
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.
For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
An interesting fact to note about ambassadors when they traveled in foreign lands, is that they would always travel with the riches and provisions of their king with them. (Isaiah 30:6) They would do this so that all who meet with them will see that their king is not a “nobody” but someone worthy of respect and attention, and also to show that their king is not only wealthy but generous. This is also true for us as well; but many believers are not experiencing or traveling with the riches of God and it is precisely because they are not believing the truth about their position in Christ Jesus today.
Hold your place here in 2nd Corinthians 5, and turn with me for a moment to Romans 5:17:
“For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
The word “reign” used in this verse means to rule as a king over a kingdom. And this reigning in life comes as you receive not just a little bit of grace here and there, but an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. You see, this comes as you realize what your true position and standing in Christ Jesus is. In Christ, you have the same divine, perfect everlasting righteousness as Jesus does! There is no difference at all!
Now allow me to ask you a question: Do you believe that you have received the Grace of God?
Here’s a follow-up question: Do you believe that you are righteous in your daily life?
Here’s the implication… if you are righteous with the same righteousness as Christ, then the things that seem fringe and radical to most contemporary believers will suddenly become very real and normal for you. You should believe that you are heard by the Father every single time you pray. Healing and health should be the natural normal life for you. Divine healing should not be a surprise, or a fleeting wish. You should expect to see all of your needs met, whether they are financial, physical or spiritual, or any combination of them. You should wake up every day with absolute certainty that the Father approves you and loves you, and you should close your eyes in sleep at night just as strong in that assurance.
Does all of this sound too good to be true? Are you wishing that this was a reality in your life? You’re not alone! Most believers are not experiencing this because they have not accepted their position in Christ. Go back now to 2nd Corinthians 5 and read verse 21 again:
“For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
This is the key right here, and in closing today, I am going to show you how some simple Biblical meditation and reasoning together can impart faith to receive the blessings of God in Christ Jesus.
As I stated earlier, many believers have trouble receiving because they are sin-conscious instead of Jesus-conscious. They doubt their righteousness because they are looking at their own performance instead of Jesus’ performance. People wonder how they can truly be righteous when they just sinned five times before leaving the house on their way to work. However, take another look at verse 21. Jesus knew no sin. He was perfect and spotless. Yet He became sin for us on the cross. How did this happen? All of our sin was imputed to Him, even though He knew no sin. Imputed simply means to attribute a thing to someone else.
Now, even though sin was “imputed” to the perfect Jesus, was Jesus still cursed for it? Yes He surely was! Galatians 3:13 says plainly that Jesus was made cursed for us.
So then, if Jesus was imputed sin, having done no sin of His own, but was still cursed just the same because of the imputed sin, then so too are you righteous just the same, even though you have done no righteousness, and you are still blessed by the Father, because the righteousness of Jesus Christ has been imputed to you!
Remember that to be disappointed in yourself, means that along the line somewhere you are trusting in yourself. Forget trusting in yourself, trust in Jesus and you will never be disappointed. Walk according to the truth, and you will live the abundant life in Christ Jesus.