Crystals Gaines’ Essay
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
To me, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 unites Christians from all walks of life and defines the responsibilities that we have. The verse can be interpreted in many different ways and so I thought I would break it down as I have interpreted it, verse by verse.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
I have interpreted this verse as meaning once we have confessed with our mouths, that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead we have become saved and our new life as Christians has begun. The days of us wondering whether or not we will make it into heaven, or if our sins will be forgiven are over. Although we are the same person in the flesh, our hearts and spirits are a new, and from that moment of confession we are no longer the same person, because God has given us given us a new life as a Christian.
“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 reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
This new walk of life that we have embarked on as Christians is a gift from God. One that we have to share with the world, because we now know first hand that God can deliver. With that deliverance, we are given the responsibility to share with others, “if he can do it for me, he can do it for you”. God saves all and no sin is too big, too small, or done too many times that it cannot be forgiven—that is the ministry of reconciliation that we have to share.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Here, this verse is a plead to the unsaved, urging them to leave their sins of the world behind, and commit themselves to Christ. It is through us (Christians) and our testimonies, that we show non-believers an/or unsaved persons just how God can work in their lives if they let him. On behalf of Christ, we pray with and for them commit their lives to Christ.
“For our sake, he made him to be sin that knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God loves us so much that he offered Christ, who had never sinned, so that through Christ, we could reconcile with God. God’s love surmounts any type of love we thought we couldn’t live without here on earth. Because God loves us so much, it shouldn’t be a thought or question to how bad he wants all of his children to come home.
My passion has always been at-risk youth. I have devoted majority of my education, training, and volunteer work to learning more about, and assisting at-risk youth, as well as advocating for abused and neglected children within my community. As an ambassador for Christ, I am always encouraging them to pray in times of anger, uncertainty, and pain; however, given many of their circumstances they question if God loves them, and if he did why would he put them through the things they experience. When I am presented with such hard questions to answer, it breaks my heart mainly because I know what God is capable of doing, and I know that my prayers don’t fall to dead ears, but I struggled for awhile with how to explain that to a eight, twelve, or sixteen year old. In working with at-risk youth, innovation is the only way to keep them on task, I have to constantly look for ways to gain their interest, keep their attention, and deliver the message I want them to receive. With the youth choir at my church, we created lyrics over the beat of our favorite song, relating to the capabilities of God, what he can do, and how he is the only person you need when you feel alone. Also, when I began teaching summer school, I created a jeopardy game with bible verses for the teenage group. They had a great time working in teams and it was a fun, interactive game. In my last job as a case manager, I worked with a family consisting of five kids. Their grandmother wanted them to go to church with them, but she would often leave them at home because of the embarrassing behaviors they portrayed in church. As an incentive to good behavior in church, I would take them skating on Sundays, but they had to go to Sunday school and they had to tell me two things they learned from church (one thing from Sunday school & one thing from the actual service) before they could go skating. As I navigate through a career change, I will continue to serve as an Ambassador for Christ, sharing my testimony and experiences as a Christian, reconciled with God at the age of twenty-one.