Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reconciliation

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  ~Romans 12:18
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; ~2 Corinthians 5:18

When Paul begins verse 18 with “All this is from God,” he is referring to those things he had just been talking about, the renewing of the human heart, his own desire to forsake all and give his life for the furthering of the Gospel. He says all this to make the point that even though he may be the one who is reaching out to people and calling them to repentance and faith, it is really God who is doing the work of reconciling.

that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. ~2 Corinthians 5:19

The word “reconciliation” certainly fits into the category of “Big Words, Deep Truths” and Nathan did a great job this past Sunday helping us to see exactly what the Bible has to say about it. He gave us two important points to meditate on this week:
  • Recognize God as the reconciler.
  • Receive the reconciliation.
Because of sin, man is alienated from God. Think if that, in our fallen state we had no love for Him, we detest His laws and we are unwilling to be governed by Him. We seek our own pleasure; we are proud, vain, and self-confident. Mankind is not pleased with the character of God, His claims, or His plans. Because of that, God is angry with mankind and the relationship we once had with Him is broken. Scripture tells us that we are at enmity with God. It is a wonder that God has not given us what we deserve.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; ~Lamentations 3:21,22

A lot of people refuse to recognize that we are the creation of an almighty God and there are even some Christians who forget it is God who created us and not we ourselves. We feel our existence is a right that we have earned but the truth is we only exist at the good pleasure of a merciful God. Our own actions and behavior when judged by His unchangeable and perfect law have condemned us to destruction and everlasting punishment, but the mercy of God has stayed the iron rod of judgment. Why?

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. ~Lamentations 3:25

My children will at times do something wrong and for a while I will be angry with them. Even though they will have done something to damage our relationship, I watch and look for any sign they may feel repentant. When I see they are sorry, I will look for an opportunity to bridge the gap they have created. I do this because they are my children, the flesh of my body, and I love them. We are the creation of God, the flesh He created and breathed the very breath of life into. Oh yes, and He loves us.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; ~Jeremiah 31:3b

Because of God's endless love and mercy He has reached to us through our disobedience and sin to draw us to Himself (reconciliation). Our sin nature is an obstacle we would never have been able to overcome on our own, but it was no obstacle for an almighty God. He came to bridge the gap that separated us from His presence. It is not we who have decided to change our ways, but it is God who draws us. Always remember that it was God who made the first step towards reconciliation, it was because of God's love and mercy that He died for us.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:8

Nathan’s second point was very important… receive the reconciliation. There are no other ways to be right with God. There are no plan B’s, no second or third options. The only way for the relationship with God to be repaired is to receive the reconciliation He alone extends. This reconciliation only come through His Son.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~2 Corinthians 5:20,21

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