Reconciling the World
“God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV UK)
Many people have been told that they stand under God’s utter condemnation, and that the only way God will change his mind about them, forgive them and begin loving them, is if they repent of their sins and accept Jesus.
But the gospel does not tell us that we must do something in order for God to extend his grace to us. The gospel tells us that in Jesus Christ, God the Father has already reconciled to himself all things, including all human beings.
The apostle Paul focussed on this for us (above), and in 1 John 2:2, we read, speaking of Jesus: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Jesus has already reconciled everyone to the Father, already done everything necessary for human salvation, before and apart from any profession of faith on our part. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” Paul writes in Romans 5:10.
God does not forgive us in exchange for our repentance and belief, as some kind of business transaction. God loved us and made us his own long before we were born. Salvation is a gift, free and unconditional, entirely of grace and not of works. And because God loves us so much, the Holy Spirit never ceases to work in our hearts, prompting and urging us to receive, accept, and embrace that gift—to respond to the Father’s love by trusting his word and giving our lives and allegiance to Jesus Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, Paul writes: “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.”
This appeal to be reconciled is not an appeal to do something that would bring about reconciliation; rather it is an appeal to accept and experience the reconciliation that exists for you already, by turning to God in faith.
God wants all people to believe this good news, to receive his reconciliation and enter into the joy of new life in Christ through the Spirit, participating with Jesus in his eternal relationship with the Father.
The gospel is good news. It’s good news for everyone, and it’s good news for you.
Heavenly Father, we human beings find it very difficult to accept that you have forgiven us, even before we ask, because of your love for us. We don’t act that way; we are physical and we equate everything in terms of the physical. Help us to understand your graciousness, your mercy and the extent of your love. And then help us to accept it. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.