Paul is desperate to get home. Not home as comfy bed and favourite DVDs, but home as the destination of all true Christians, heaven. Call him gloomy, or escapist, but every Christian taught by the Spirit knows that being with Christ is better by far (Phil. 1.23). How about you? You don’t want to stay any longer in this world of sin and suffering than you really have to, do you?
This world promises much, but delivers little. One day we will be with Jesus body and soul. That is the very purpose of our redemption, and the reason why we have the Spirit as a deposit (vv.1-5). He will take us there. So, we look forward to the reward of faith, to true sight at last, in our heavenly home. And until we get there, we look forward to living lives which are fruitful for Christ. We dare not get distracted, turned aside and absorbed by selfish pleasures. We will give an account for whether we have invested our lives in the Gospel, or squandered them on ourselves. (vv.6-9).
If we are to avoid the shame of wasting our discipleship, we need to know the Gospel, deeply and well. We need to know that our lives have been purchased at a great price, that we must fear our Lord, and we must feel a holy compulsion by the love which died to save us, and to which we belong (vv.11-15). That love truly changes us.
How big a change, then? It changes our attitudes to other people (v.16) – we now know that everyone needs the love of Jesus. It changes our attitudes to our own lives – we have been made utterly new by the saving love of Christ (v.17). It changes our attitude to God – He gave His own Son up to death in an act of deep, deep sacrificial love to deal with our sins (vv.18-19). It changes our attitude to our lives’ purposes – we are ambassadors of this reconciling love (vv.18-20). And the message for the world, and for the church? “Be reconciled to God” (v.20). Whatever sins are alienating you from God, deal with them, deal with them now, in God’s Presence, and by His power. His righteousness means more than heaven and earth – and it’s offered to you.
A Prayer to Prayer
Lord, I say with the psalmist, how majestic is Your Name. Your righteousness is all that I need, and it’s given for me. I come again, confessing my sin, and clinging to the Cross. Give me grace to believe, to rejoice, and to stay close to your grace, daily feeling my need of it. Teach this sinner that all he needs is truly in Jesus. Amen.