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We are Convinced! April 1, 2007

Posted by Lindquist in : Editorial , trackback

Stained Glass JesusLet me give you a word for Holy Week. “Krinantas.” You will find the word in one of my favorite Holy Week verses, 2 Corinthians 5:14.

There are a series of wonderful Holy Week words in this little verse. We find the “love” of Christ; Paul uses the word “agape.” We find the dynamic verb, “urges”; here Paul uses “sunechei.” “Krinantas” follows immediately — and, in a way, provides the inner motor for the loving and the urging. “We are convinced,” Paul reports boldly. “Krinantas…

The root of this word is “krino,” often translated “to judge.” It can mean “to decide,” “to determine,” or simply “to think” or “conclude.” The love of Christ urges Paul onward — because, precisely, he has “judged” that something wonderful has happened in the life and death of Jesus. The Apostle has come to a remarkable conviction — the basic Christian conviction, in fact. “One has died for all; therefore all have died.”

“We thus judge,” translates the KJV. “We’re convinced,” translates Beck. “We are certain,” we read in the CEV. Jesus has died for all: and Paul has become convinced. Here was an event for all people, in all times and places. Here was an event that changed the fundamental relationship between God and humankind. The work of Christ at Calvary included everyone, everywhere. “All have died.” All are beneficiaries. All are welcomed into the new creation, available to all in Christ (5:17). Corinthians…and Canadians. Macedonians…and Minnesotans. Nepalis. Samburu. Buryats.

It is this conviction that urges Paul onward, into radical service and a mission to the entire world. Indeed, in the remaining verses of chapter five we find one of the most missionary passages in the entire New Testament. Paul is given “the ministry of reconciliation” (v.18). He is entrusted with “the message of reconciliation,” too (v.19). He has become an “ambassador for Christ.” Now “God makes his appeal through [him].” And he is not afraid to proclaim it: “Be reconciled!” (v.20).

As for us, I am afraid, we are content with the “love” — and maybe, occasionally, a little “urging” (v.14). But this radical “krinantas” is often quite beyond us. We don’t pause long enough at the foot of the cross to do a proper “thinking” or “judging” or “concluding,” I think. On Good Friday, of all days, we don’t linger. We don’t ask ourselves, “What will this mean for us?” We may be moved by our Lord’s quiet surrender. We may be touched by his kind words to Mary, gathered with his disciples, or to the thief, who hung at his side. We may be moved by some kind of sympathy — but we don’t take the time for “krinantas.”

And our lives are poorer because of it. Holy Week sympathy, you see, is not enough. We need to “judge,” a little, too. If warm compassion were enough to build committed Christian lives — why, all of us would quickly become ambassadors with Paul. As it is, however, very few of us follow the Apostle through to the end of chapter five. Simply put, we don’t do the “krinantas.” And without it, all the wonderful sympathy in the world will not “urge” us one millimeter onward.

This Holy Week, let’s pause for a while to join Paul in some “krinantas.” What will Christ’s death mean for the world? What will it mean for you?

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