It can be unnerving when your boss unexpectedly asks to meet with you. In the same way, a student gets nervous when called into the principal’s office, and children know what it means when their parent warns, “Wait until your father (or mother) gets home!”
Maybe you feel the same way as we read about the inevitability of God’s judgment in verse 10. For Paul, this reminder motivated him to keep proclaiming the gospel. According to verse 11, it is an awareness of “what it is to fear the Lord.” Paul had a first- hand encounter with this fear when Jesus appeared to Him on the road to Damascus in a blaze of light and spoke with a voice like thunder (Acts 9:3–6).
Yet Paul’s primary motivation was not guilt or even fear of failure in his efforts to persuade others to believe the gospel. He was so moved by the love Christ demonstrated by giving His life. Paul did not see this sacrifice as a moral example but something far more powerful. He was “convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died” (2 Cor. 5:14). Jesus’ death fundamentally changes those who believe in a way that makes it possible to “no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (v. 15).
As a result of Christ’s sacrifice, the believer becomes “a new creation” (v. 17). The old order with its bondage to sin has passed away. A new order has begun in which those who were once God’s enemies are now reconciled and are eager to share the message of reconciliation.
>> What is the message of reconciliation? It is the gospel: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (v. 21). Once we have exchanged our sin for the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, we do not need to be afraid of judgment.
Like Paul, we are Christ’s ambassadors (v. 20). Lay on our hearts Paul’s passion and urgency to inform others about Your offer of salvation. We, too, know what it is to fear You.