Friday, November 16, 2012

Reconciliation




Scripture

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB)
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,
(2 Corinthians 5:18 NASB)
namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
(2 Corinthians 5:19 NASB)
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
(2 Corinthians 5:20 NASB)
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB)

 

Observation


Jesus is the master reconciler. The gulf between God and humanity had grown wide as a result of sin and no matter how hard humanity might try they simply could not make their way back to God on a consistent basis. Enter Jesus. His death on the cross brought about the reconciliation of the damaged relationship between God and man, a relationship that had not been damaged by God, but by humanity. It was humanity that needed the assistance in getting back to God, and "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself." God loves us so much that he came to earth in human flesh just so that he could reconcile us back to him. Once we become partakers of this reconciliation, we too, become a part of the process of reconciliation. We are his ambassadors, working to reconcile other relationships. God is making his appeal through us to a hurting world.

 

Application

If this is true, that God is working through his children to be his ambassadors, then we have to ask ourselves what our responsibility is in the area of reconciliation. As we continue to grow in grace, God may reveal to us that we have damaged relationships which must be healed, if we are to be his ambassadors of reconciliation. The result of sin is damaged relationships. Humanity's relationship to God was damaged, as well as humanity's relationship to humanity. This is exactly why Jesus came to remind us that the Law was summed up in the fact that we were to love God and love neighbor. Therefore, we must ask ourselves who our neighbors might be. They may not be the people in closest physical proximity, but instead those who should be in the closest emotional proximity.

We live in a world of broken and unreconciled relationships. Yesterday I was visiting at a church that does clothing distribution and Salvation Army Christmas baskets. Many people came to get clothing or to sign up for a Christmas basket, but for the most part, who were the people who came for help? Mostly it was single parent women. I felt sorry for them because I knew they had to swallow their pride to come, and yet, come they did so that they could do something to help out their family. But at the same time I want to ask, "Where are the men?" The greatest cause of poverty in the United States today is the single-parent home, and why do we have so many of these? Because humans are not reconciling relationships. Because we are not living as Christ's ambassadors here on this earth and the results are literally devastating. The first relationship which we need to examine is the one with our spouse. Does there need to be reconciliation? If we are "in" Christ, then he is calling us to work to reconcile our relationships within the home.

What about parent-child relationships? For many of us we could be on either end of that formula! We could be the parent, or we could be the child and the relationship could be horribly damaged. How can we be a follower of Jesus Christ and not work to reconcile our relationships with our parents and/or children? From time to time I talk to people who tell me that they haven't talked to their "loved" one for years. Really? How can we be growing in the grace of God -- how can we be Jesus' ambassador here on this earth -- if we can't have a relationship with our family? Growing in grace has very practical implications and it includes reconciling relationships.

And finally we are to be ambassadors of healing to this world, reconciling relationships which may have been destroyed over a difference of opinion. The pundits are telling us that today America is the most divided politically it has ever been. Church -- are we partially responsibility for this division? What would happen if Christians were reconciled to Christians who happen to differ with one another across the political aisle? What if Christians exhibited this kind of reconciliation to a world that is desperate to find peace?

God has called us all to a ministry of reconciliation. We are called to be a healing ointment in the rough of things. It is in this ministry of reconciliation that Jesus is revealed to the world that so desperately is in need of him.

 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to be an instrument of your reconciliation today and every day. Amen.

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