(1-11) Speaking of eternity (4:18), we instinctively know that there is more than this earthly life. We long for it. We look forward to it. Our bodies are waiting for an upgrade! We shouldn’t fear death, because death actually frees us to go be with God, and He’s given us the Spirit as a guarantee of that future life. While we wait, we are responsible for what we do in this life with our earthly bodies. We are to make sure that we please God in this life, because one day we’ll stand before him to receive our rewards (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
(11-21) Paul and his companions know God, and they want to make Him known to others. They look at people from a spiritual perspective rather than an earthly one. They are God’s ambassadors and have been given the ministry of reconciliation. That is their priority, and they do it sincerely and soberly. They don’t try to appear spiritual outwardly; they are spiritual inwardly! Paul hopes that the Corinthians are proud of them because of their commitment and genuineness. It is their love of Christ that drives them. How could they not love Christ? He was made sin for us! Christ died for all (who believe), so that all (who believe) could die to sin. Believers are new creations, reconciled to God, forgiven of their sins, and made righteous.
The bottom line: God has saved us and given us the power to live a life pleasing to Him. A part of that is realizing that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation too. We may not be ministers or missionaries, but God has brought people into our lives that we are uniquely able to reach out to. Let’s do it!