March 22nd 2009

Reconciliation – What Is It?

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”
Colossians 1:21-22 (NKJV)

We occasionally use terms in a religious context that many people, especially newer Christians or visitors, sometimes don’t understand. I was reminded about the need to define terms when someone asked me to explain the biblical concept of the word “reconciliation.”

Through most of history, the majority of humans have been in a state of alienation from God. We have ample evidence of that in the record of human failure to get along with each other, which is simply a reflection of alienation from God.

As the apostle Paul explained in Colossians 1:21-22, it was never God who needed to be reconciled to us, but we who needed to be reconciled to God. As Paul said, the alienation was in the human mind, not in God’s mind. God’s response to human alienation was love. God loved us even though we were his enemies.

Paul wrote to the church in Rome to say: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life?” (Romans 5:10 NIV).

And Paul tells us that it does not stop there. “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 men’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV)

A few verses later, Paul wrote about how in Christ, God reconciled the whole world to himself, “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV).

God has reconciled all humans to himself through Jesus, meaning no one is excluded from the love and power of God. Everyone who has ever lived has a place reserved for them at God’s banquet table. But, not everyone has believed God’s word of love and forgiveness for them, embraced their new life in Jesus, donned the wedding garments Jesus prepared for them and taken their seat at the table.

And that’s what the ministry of reconciliation is all about – our job of spreading the good news that God has already reconciled the world to himself through the blood of Christ and that all people need to do is believe the good news, turn to God in repentance, take up their cross and follow Jesus.

And what wonderful news it is. May God bless us all in his joyous work.

Father most merciful, thank you for the reconciliation that you have given to the whole world through Jesus. Help us to do your most joyous work in letting the world know of that reconciliation that they too might know that you live in them.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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