Friday, 14 August 2015
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
2 Corinthians 5:14
There is an ambiguity in the first portion of this verse so that it could read, “For the love of Christ compels us,” or “For our love for Christ compels us.” However, on numerous occasions in Paul’s writings, he speaks of God’s love for us, so the former is probably the correct rendering (e.g. see Romans 5:5; Romans 8:35; 1 Corinthians 16:24; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
As Paul notes, it is this great love which “compels us.” It is the motivating factor which impelled him and the other apostles forward. And the reason why is because of understanding the significance of what Christ’s love means, thus the words rendered as “because we judge this.” They judged the importance of what Christ did and were therefore compelled forward, knowing that their ministry was the only thing between those they encountered and salvation or condemnation. This is reflected in the words, “…that if One died for all, then all died.”
Christ died a substitutionary death. He did not die for His own sins, but for the sins of the world. However, in order for those sins to be forgiven, the message of Christ must be transmitted to people. When they hear and believe, then they are granted forgiveness through His death. The words “then all died” indicate that whoever (they are potential, not actual, until received) receives Christ “dies” with Him. This is reflected elsewhere in Paul’s writings, such as –
“For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:19, 20
In Christ, we die to sin; it no longer has mastery over us. At that time, the life we live is lived to God and we are no longer held by the power of the devil. This is the message which so compelled the apostles, urging them forward in order to bring many to a saving knowledge of what God did in Christ for the people of the world.
Life application: How important are the souls of those you encounter to you? If you are the only person they will meet who could bring them to Christ and you fail to speak, they will face a vastly different fate than they may otherwise have faced if you had simply spoken. Don’t withhold the wonderful message of reconciliation!
Lord, I may be the only person to have the right opportunity to personally speak to someone about Jesus in their whole life. If I speak, there may be a chance of him hearing and believing. If I keep silent, the promise of eternal life will fade from his possible future… all because I was too timid to simply open my mouth and share the life-giving news. What a burden to carry for all eternity. Help me to be bold and to share what Jesus has done with each person I meet. Grant me this burning desire, O God! Amen.