Many days I use my Abingdon Press Lectionary Bible to read the scripture for that day. This Bible is arranged in lectionary order. Each week has the lections for that week. But, only the verses that are in that week's lectionary.
That's not enough some days. For example, today, I read the first verse in the lesson from 2 Corinthians, "From now on, therefore...." and stopped at the therefore. What was the fore that was different from the now on, I wondered. So, I got out a bible that is arranged in Bible order and looked back at the verses preceding this week's selection.
At the beginning of chapter 5, Paul contrasts the earthly tent we live in with the building we have from God, an eternal heavenly dwelling. He then shifts terminology from tent to body. While we are in living in this body, we are not in the home we will have with God. Paul asserts that we need to think ahead while we are still in this body because we will be judged by Christ and receive recompense.
Paul, as usual, moves from the each to the all. "Since everyone is to be judged, we need to persuade everybody," he argues. "Everything we do is for you. Everything we do is because of the love of Christ. Christ died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them."
Paul himself had once viewed the followers of Jesus as troublemakers. He had tried to stop them until he himself was stopped by the risen Christ. Paul now sees everyone not just in the flesh but as a new creation.
Everything is new. God took action, reconciling us to God and also giving us the ministry of reconciliation.
Reconciliation--getting things back to the way they should have been before we disrupted them.
Reconciliation implies that we weren't always right and that other people didn't always do right to us. You don't need forgiveness if you have never sinned. But we did. And they did. And God reconciled the world through Christ, that is God forgave our trespasses. And didn't stop with our forgiveness. God entrusted the message of reconciliation to us.