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2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2 – Now Is the Day of Salvation


God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ's death and resurrection, freeing those in Christ to be reconciled to God and one another in the present time.


For Paul, the death and resurrection of Christ has signaled the beginning of a new age. In this passage, Paul offers a kind of "before and after" look at everything and everyone. In 2 Corinthians 5:16, to see "before" is to see people "after the flesh" (KJV) or "from a human point of view" (NRSV). To see "after"-that is, when one is "in Christ"-is to see a whole new world: "everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Paul goes on to describe the particulars of this newness in terms of reconciliation: "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us" (2 Corinthians 5:19). Since reconciliation is at the center of the gospel, it is especially tragic that Paul and the Corinthians are experiencing such profound distrust and brokenness in their relationship to each other. In an attempt to urge the Corinthians to recognize the gift of reconciliation to God and to embody that reconciliation in their relationship with him, Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8, and then announces, "See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

From other parts of Paul's writing, it is clear that he understands salvation to be not only a present but also a future reality. For example, in Romans Paul writes, "For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life" (Romans 5:10). Nonetheless, here Paul tries to convince the Corinthians that the reconciliation that will characterize salvation from God's wrath is presently available to them and to him.

2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view;* even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view,* we know him no longer in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,* not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6As we work together with him,* we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,
‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
   and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

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