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By , on August 25th, 2010

God’s Peace Treaty: Its Author, Its Ambassadors, Its Appeal

In 2 Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul defends his ministry by laying out a theology of ministry in God’s ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation means that two opposing parties are brought together and relations are re-established after those relations have been broken. In His ministry of reconciliation, God has established a unilateral or one-sided peace treaty with man through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-19).  It is in this peace treaty that all ministers and all Christians ought to root their lives and ministries. This peace treaty is authored by God and accomplished by Jesus Christ. God has reconciled His people and is reconciling the entire cosmos to Himself, which is groaning under the effects of sin. You and I, though we have offended God, do not seek for this peace. God has come, unilaterally in His mercy, to establish peace between us and Himself and He freely offers this peace which He has authored!

While God has authored this peace treaty, He uses ambassadors to publish its terms (2 Cor. 5:20). Ambassadors are never sent out on their own initiative, but have a mandate from King Jesus to represent Him before sinners. The ambassador is motivated by the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:12). The love of Christ constrained or compelled Paul in his ministry. As he faced difficulty, trials and even death itself, it was the love of Christ which drove him onwards. The love of Christ ought to motivate every Christian to represent Him faithfully in speaking and living out the gospel. That is not the only motivation, but ambassadors for Christ are called to this task, to declare the unsearchable riches of Christ. Ambassadors speak with urgency, beseeching and praying with people to be reconciled with God. When ambassadors of Christ speak, it is as if God is speaking, calling out to individuals and churches to be reconciled to Him. Ambassadors are called to be earnest, to have one focus — Jesus Christ.

Ambassadors are sent with a message from King Jesus. They are sent with an appeal to sinners to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). This appeal is quite clearly a command. God has authored this peace treaty, and man’s responsibility under that revelation is clear, “Be ye reconciled to God.” This reconciliation comes through humbly accepting, by faith, what God has offered in this peace treaty. Faith is the hand that reaches up to grasp the promises of God offered in the gospel. The basis of this command is found in verse 21, which sets forth the doctrine of imputation. The certainty of reconciliation is grounded in what Christ has done. He was made to be sin for us, even though He knew no sin so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Here is the great exchange that takes place between the sinner and the Savior. Christ takes our sin and gives His right, pure and sinless standing to sinners before God. This is so that God’s holiness, justice and righteousness can be upheld in punishing sin, yet also extending mercy to hell-worthy sinners, erasing their awful records of sin and allowing them to live for God.

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