(2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
Reconciliation is an interesting word and process. It is used in many different senses, but in all cases it means the same things.
Reconciliation is a process of coming together to bring two (or more) things into alignment and into balance. In business we see accountants who reconcile accounts to ensure the finances of the business balance. In the home we see people reconcile their checking accounts to make sure their home finances balance. In relationships they go out of balance, the process of reconciliation is necessary to restore the broken relationship.
And what we see here in the Bible is where God is bringing balance and alignment back between himself and mankind to restore the relationship that has been broken through sin. It is the active working of God’s grace that enables man to be reconciled to God and God has given us this ministry so that we can come to the place where we stand before Him righteous.
“18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 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. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
What Is Reconciliation?
The first thing this scripture tells us is that “All this is from God.” There is nothing we can do ourselves to be reconciled to God without Him first making reconciliation available. We have a role to play, but the actual reconciliation is from God.
The process of reconciliation has two parts. First it is the grace of God that enables reconciliation to occur. Without God’s grace we cannot be reconciled to God.
The second element is our faith in Jesus Christ, for it is through Jesus that this reconciliation occurs. In Jesus Christ, God was reconciling mankind to Himself. This was the purpose of Jesus coming to the earth as a man; to enable God’s reconciliation for us.
What stands between man and God is sin. It is man’s sin that broke the relationship we had with God when He first created mankind in Adam and Eve. When man chose to follow the instructions of Satan by rejecting God’s commandment to not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin rose up and broke the relationship we have with God.
Man cannot overcome sin by himself because we are born into sin and born with sin within us.
It was not God who broke the relationship, but man. That is why man cannot be reconciled with God unless man seeks God’s forgiveness and God offers forgiveness to man.
God chose to do that for us by offering His grace. Grace is the means by which we are reconciled to God because it is through God’s grace that He takes away our sins so that we can stand righteous by faith before Him. We are shown this in various places, such as:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Ephesians 2:4-5)
We were condemned to death through our trespasses and sins. But then God sent Christ into the world to teach us a better way and to offer His life as sacrifice for us so that we could receive God’s grace and be reconciled to Him.
Do you want to be reconciled to God? I hope the answer to that question is … Yes! Then seek God through Jesus Christ.
The process by which we are reconciled to God is through faith. But what must we believe and how is this to be done?
First we must believe that Christ came, that He died for our sins, and that He was resurrected for our justification and reconciliation to God. This is the most basic belief we must have as Christians.
The second thing we need to understand is how we take on the death of Christ as our own death, for this is also part of the reason why He died. We do this through faith when we are baptised into the death of Christ. As we go down into the baptismal waters, we are buried with Christ and as we are raised from the waters we believe we are resurrected with Christ as new creations in Him.
In baptism we die to sin and we die to the law, so that we can live a life of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.
Baptism is the method by which we are reconciled to God. That is why Jesus made a specific point of telling the disciples in the Great Commission to baptise the new disciples they made.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you… (Matthew 28:19-20)
And in this Great Commission, God gave us the ministry of His reconciliation to preach to the world. Jesus instructs us to take His word and His testimony of reconciliation to the world so that the world can be reconciled to God through grace and faith.
Jesus gave everything, including His life, so that we could have this chance to return to God in righteousness. Let us then not spurn this opportunity, but rather seek to be reconciled to God according to His purpose and process.
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