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Daily Devotional • December 31

James Cornwell
Day of Salvation
A Reading from 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2

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

1 As we work together with him, we entreat you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
    and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation!

The words of St. Paul seem unusually sanguine at the end of a week of readings concerning the calamitous encounter between God the Son and the powers of this world. The coming of Jesus demanded a conscious decision of allegiance, and the powers of the world rose up in a vain attempt to humiliate, murder, and exile the one who would be, and always has been, King.

But St. Paul turns our eyes forward, from the First Coming to the Second. We no longer regard Jesus according to the flesh, for he has gone to break the future into our present. He marches into the deep places in our lives and gives us a foretaste of the ultimate reconciliation of all things. St. Paul exhorts the Corinthians — and, by extension, us — to take up that ministry of reconciliation. Christ has divided people from the powers of this world through his death and resurrection; now it is given to us to spread the word of the glorious country to which we have all — without exception — been granted citizenship.

Looking around us at the end of the Year of our Lord 2022, we might be discouraged. So many powers still rage against the gospel, degrading human nature, dissolving our essential kinship with one another, lying about the necessities of oppression and war — how can the gospel reach any hearers in such a world?

The thing to remember, and the key to understanding Christmas, is that these forces have already met with our Lord in the battlefield and lost. His kingship is secure, and we catch continual glimpses of his glorious country through the ministries of word, sacrament, and prayer. All that we’re given to do is to be ambassadors and witnesses of that nation: “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

James Cornwell lives and works in Wheaton, Illinois, with his wife Sarah and their seven children.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Shreveport, Louisiana
The Diocese of Omu-Aran – The Church of Nigeria
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