A MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION

We hear tons of things in life about reconciliation, but I’m not so certain it is reaching past the hearing stage most of the time. The idea of reconciliation is to be made friends again. How difficult is it for you to restore a broken friendship and it actually become stronger after it has been fractured than it was before? Too many times we mend a broken relationship and stay somewhat friendly to each other but the real bond is never re-established. One of the primary points of the gospel of Jesus Christ is reconciliation. It begins with our being reconciled to God. We come into the world as little children whose ties with God are close. Jesus would even say that unless we are converted and become like children we can’t enter the kingdom of God. Later in blessing children, he said, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” But there comes a time in a child’s life when they become accountable to God, sin is marked up against them and they need to become friends with God all over again. The remarkable thing about our God and His overwhelming grace is that no matter how far we may have gone away from him and how many laws of his we may have broken he is ready to have full reconciliation with us.

When God forgives our sins, they are totally forgiven and remembered against us no more. In 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 he said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.” No many how many ways we break our ties with the Lord, he stands ready to forgive and restore the relationship. This is perhaps best illustrated as Jesus was on the cross, with the crowd shouting for his blood when he hadn’t done a single wrong against them, he prayed, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” It never mattered what one had done or how far they had drifted away, when they came back to the Lord, forgiveness was full and free.

But the story doesn’t end with our being reconciled to God. As vital as that point is in our life Paul’s point in 2 Corinthians 5 continued with the application of what it now means to us that we have become a new creation. He noted in verse 16 that there was a time when he judged everyone from a fleshly standpoint, But that such wasn’t the case anymore. As he continued the message in verse 18-21 he said, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

When we become God’s friend through forgiveness, it puts us in the position of one who is to be reconciled with others around us. If I think I can be in a right relationship with God while hating my fellow man then I’ve been fooled. Even in the Lord’s prayer, he said to pray “Forgive our sins as we also forgive those who sin against us.” But it reaches much further than that. In having that relationship with God, I’m given a ministry, a service that God intends for me to carry out. It is the ministry of reconciliation. As an ambassador for Christ, one of my missions in the world is to bring about reconciliation between other people and God and other people with each other. The whole concept is built on the foundation that God made Christ, who was without sin, to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Sin is one thing that pervades all of humanity. John said if a person said they didn’t sin they were only fooling themselves and that in the process they made God a liar.

When people are reconciled with God, there ought to be a natural result that we are then drawn into a closer relationship with every other person, without regard to race, color, background or political standing. When I refuse the close ties of love and friendship with another person, I am at the same time pushing myself away from the Lord. In Ephesians 2 after talking about how his overwhelming grace has made it possible for those who are dead in sin to be reconciled to God, he continued by making the point that now by that grace he has broken down the wall between people so that everyone can be reconciled to God in one body by the cross. He said Christ had slain the enmity by dying on the cross.

We live in a fractured world where people accept or reject, love or hate, help or kill based on where someone is from, what color their skin may be or what religion they profess. If we are waiting for some political party or some movement to solve the problem we are waiting in vain. God is the answer and his people are intended to be the ones who are his ambassadors to carry the message, to be the ministers of change and reconciliation in the world. Far too often rather than being ambassadors for such reconciliation we stand as the example of folks that can’t get along with each other much less the people around us. God help us.

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About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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