Sunday, November 4th, 2012
The Ministry Of Reconciliation (Part 1)
Now all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18 (NKJV)
The definition of 'reconciliation' is 'the restoration of friendly relations' (Oxford Dictionary). Therefore, a 'Ministry of reconciliation' is Christ followers restoring friendly relations. With whom? Everyone.
Consider Jesus' mission of reconciliation on earth: 'To create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity' (Ephesians 2:15-16).
Who were 'The two'? In His time, they were Jews and Gentiles: those who knew God and those who did not. Who are 'The two' today? Same thing: those who know God and those who do not. But Christians now know that Jesus is God.
What is 'The enmity'? The definition of 'enmity' is 'hostility' and it comes from the word 'enemy.' Jesus came to end the war of rebellion between God and man. But He also came to end the war of religious hypocrisy among men.
Now consider the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7). Jesus' ground-breaking words tore away man's misconceptions and revealed the Rock: a pure and perfect Foundation for life. His sermon includes instructions about reconciliation:
'If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift' (Matthew 5:23-24).
In other words, your worship at church is meaningless to God if you have offended your brother and remain unreconciled with him.
How many Christians have offended those we call pagans and remain unreconciled with them? Words of criticism (spoken publicly or privately) are offensive. And nothing is really private.
Has our Christian culture created enmity between those who know Christ and those who do not? Do we call Jews pagans? God forbid. He calls them 'His beloved' and they are our brothers.
Do we call prodigals pagans? God calls them 'sons'. They are our brothers. Do they have something against us?
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Ministry of Reconciliation series.