2 Corinthians 5:11-6:13

God makes us new people in Christ

11 We know that the Lord will judge us, so we are careful to obey him. Because of that, we tell God's message to people. We want them to believe in God. And God himself knows that we try to do what is right. I hope that you know that also, when you think about it.

12 We are not trying again to make you think that our work is good. But we do want to give you the chance to be proud of us. Then you will be able to show the false teachers that they are wrong. They are proud about what they look like on the outside. They do not think about what they are really like inside themselves. 13 To some people, we may seem to be crazy. That is because we want to serve God. But if we seem to be wise, that is to help you.

14 Whatever we do, we do it because Christ loves us. We know that one man, Christ, died on behalf of all people. So we also know that all of us died with him. 15 He died on behalf of all people. So, while we live, we no longer live to please ourselves. Instead, we live to please Christ. He is the one that died on our behalf. He is the one that God raised up, to live again.

16 So that changes how we think about people. We no longer use human ideas to think what they are like. At one time, we thought about Christ as humans think. But now we think about him very differently! 17 When anyone belongs to Christ, they become a new person. Their old way of life has gone. Their new life has begun!

18 All this is what God does for us. Because of what Christ has done, God has brought us back to himself, as his friends. Now he wants us to bring other people to be his friends too. That is the job that he has given to us. 19 God's message is this: By Christ's death, God was bringing people of the world back to himself, as his friends. He would no longer keep their sins in his thoughts. This is the message that God wants us to tell people.

20 So we speak to people on behalf of Christ. It is like this: When we speak, God himself is speaking to you. On behalf of Christ, we say to you, ‘Please come back to God, as his friends!’ 21 Christ never did any wrong thing, but God punished him as if he had. He died as punishment for our sins. As a result, we become right with God when we belong to Christ. We become right, because he is right.

2 Corinthians 6

1 So, as we work together with God, we tell you to be careful. Remember that God has been very kind and he has forgiven you. Do not waste that! 2 In the Bible God says:

‘I listened to your prayer at the right time for me to help you.

I helped you on the right day for me to save you.’

6:2See Isaiah 49:8.

Listen! The right time is now! The day for God to save you is now!

3 We do not want anyone to think bad things about our work. So we do nothing that might cause trouble for anyone. 4 Instead, in everything that we do, we want to show that we are God's servants. When people want to hurt us, we are patient and brave. We have many troubles. We become sad and upset. 5 Sometimes people hit us. They put us in prison. They attack us. But we work hard. We cannot always sleep at night. We are often hungry. 6 We serve God honestly and with clean thoughts. We know what is true. We are patient and kind. God's Holy Spirit helps us. We love people in an honest way. 7 We speak a true message. God's power gives us strength. We do what is right, so we fight like soldiers on God's behalf. It is like we have God's weapons in both hands! 8 Sometimes people respect us as important. Sometimes they think that we are worth nothing. People may insult us, or they may praise us. We only say true things, but some people still think that we deceive others. 9 Some people do not want to know us. Other people accept us as God's servants. It seems like we are dying, but look! We are still alive! People punish us, but they do not kill us. 10 We seem to be sad, but really we are always happy. We seem to be poor, but we make many people rich. We seem to have nothing, but really we have everything.

11 Our friends at Corinth, we have spoken to you very honestly. We have shown you how much we love you. 12 We have done nothing to stop you from being our friends. But you have not really wanted to become our friends. 13 I am speaking to you as I would speak to my own children. Be fair to us! Accept us as your friends, just as we have accepted you.