Thursday after Ash Wednesday – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,

    “In a favorable time I listened to you,
   and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

     Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

He carefully put the numbers into the calculator and with a grimace hit the equal key for the third time. “Argh!” he groaned; it was still not right. The bank said he only had this much money. But his records showed that he had about $700 more than that. It was not a sum to make or break the national economy, but it was important to this young man who glowered at his check book register with ferocity. Who was right? He knew that if he assumed that the money was there and wrote a check which brought his balance below what the bank said he had, that would not end well. Finances were tight. His account might well run under that $700 discrepancy.

Paul urges us to be reconciled to God. I know that this is a relational word, but it is a relational word because we appropriated it from the language and world of banking and applied it to relationships. Paul is urging us to get our accounts squared away with the venerable banking firm: Yahweh and Son. It is important that this happens. After all, our very existence is a loan from Him. There is a day of reckoning and accounting.

The young man who was struggling to reconcile his checking account finally swallowed his pride and walked into the bank with his register and bank statement and admitted defeat. A young teller took his register and statements and worked through it herself. He squirmed a little as she clucked over his rather shoddy record keeping efforts. Eventually they found the problem, and things got squared away. Paul is not asking you to solve your accounting issues. You cannot. The chief banker has intervened and the debts and missed payments are reconciled. He made him who knew no sin to be sin for you so that you become the righteousness of God. Paul’s appeal for you to be reconciled is based on the reconciliation which God has worked, not something you have done. It is more an appeal to lay all the debts, all the missed payments, every error in the checkbook out on the table. So that He might reconcile the problems. It is not a time to minimize the problem, but honestly to face it in all its magnitude. The grace of God is enough. Repent already, own up to the problem. God forgives.

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