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.”
“ 17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.”
One of the most fundamental teachings of Christianity is that in Christ we are born again as a new creation in Him.
Christianity is about a journey. It’s about finding the way to God through Jesus Christ. And every journey starts with a beginning; a first step.
In Jesus Christ we start that journey through repenting and seeking Jesus Christ as our Saviour. As we then walk with Him we go through the processes that re-create us out of the image of mankind, bound under sin, and into the image of Jesus Christ who is the image of perfection; the image of God. It is in that process of re-creation that we are born again as a new creation. So let us look at this new creation and the process of being made a new creation in Jesus Christ.
It appears to me that there is a great amount of interest, but not a lot of understanding about the resurrection of the dead.
The resurrection is THE most important and fundamental teaching in Christianity. It is because of the resurrection that Christianity even exists, as I have pointed out in other articles. If there was no resurrection, then there is no Christianity and your faith would be pointless.
Fortunately though, through our faith in the working of God we believe that the resurrection is real, that Jesus Christ was resurrected and is alive, and that we who have believed in Him will also be raised from the dead or transformed at His coming.
This section of scripture today provides other valuable and useful insights into the resurrection.
This section of scripture has three distinct but complimentary teachings. All of them are to do with baptism of the dead, and they each talk of the attitude we must hold as we hold the faith in Jesus Christ.
The three specific aspects that we look at in this verse today are:
Baptism on behalf of the dead
Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die
Bad company ruins good morals
But the key to understanding these lies in the what they mean with regard to the faith and the truth of the new covenant, especially as it relates to the impact of baptism.
If we are to follow the Lord and come to God, we must do so as He has defined the way. Jesus is the way and we an only come to God through Jesus Christ. And there are certain “rules” to follow if we are to come to Christ in a way that pleases God.
All of the things God gave us as gifts, methods of praise and worship or instructions were given for a specific purpose. None of His gifts, methods or processes were given for no reason, nor should they be ignored. There is a definite plan, purpose and reason for every little thing that God has told us to seek and do and none is to be disregarded.
And today especially I want to consider the act of baptism and explain why this particular act is so important. There are many in the church who have lost the understanding of this critical action we are to participate in when we first come to Christ, and this set of scriptures today will help us understand. Indeed the Lord Jesus Christ considered baptism so important, and so critical that He was baptised Himself and He specified baptism as one of the key things in the great commission He gave to the disciples just before He departed the earth to return to the Father. So we should listen and obey.
Two of the most important factors in the Christian life are covered in this section of scripture. It also gives us two excellent reasons why we must do as the final few words in this section tells us; “Glorify God in your body.”
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
It also teaches us a few other things that are worth reviewing and taking note of. It is a tremendous work the Lord is doing in us and these few verses show us just how deeply and how much God has done and is continuing to do to bring us into His kingdom and presence.
One of the key differences between the old and the new covenants is the process and methods of righteousness. In these few verses we see this contrast described from the perspective of where the nation of Israel, and in particular the Jews went wrong.
The important point to note is this. There is salvation available to those who live under and by the law, but there is no righteousness.
Righteousness is only possible through the grace of God. In the new covenant this grace is given freely to all who seek God by Jesus Christ and who have faith, for the righteousness of God is given by faith alone. Continue reading “Righteousness By Faith”
In my last post we saw why it is necessary that we are set free from the law to negate and remove the power of sin so that God can help us to grow mature in Jesus Christ.
In these next few verses of Romans 7 we see how this works and we learn how God enabled this to take place. You can’t just say that sin and the law does not apply to you because sin applies to everyone because all of mankind dies for their sins. So if we are to escape sin and law, which is the power of sin, there needs to be a process by which we can be separated from the law.
God made sure that there is a way for us to be set free from the law and sin and He established a process and a path that we must follow to get there. God established the process in the law and then when Jesus came He set the path in motion. So let us look at how freedom from law works and how we enter into it.
The title of this post may seem to be blindingly obvious because who can possibly break the law after they have died? It’s impossible to even consider such a thing isn’t it?
Absolutely! Once a person dies they can’t do anything, say anything, act or behave in any way at all. So how can they break the law? Well, they can’t. It’s as simple as that. A dead person cannot break the law and so, as the title says, the law ends at death.
Now believe it or not, even though this sounds blatantly obvious, there is a message that is crucial for Christians to learn and understand about this very matter. It is written in this first verse of Romans 7 and it is crucial that all Christians “get it” because it drives to the very core of the workings and power of the new covenant.
A few posts back I wrote a post titled “You are NOT a Sinner.” The underlying reason for that post is that God has set you free from sin and taken your sins away through the saving and cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
The principles for the release from sin was established in the old law where the blood sacrifices of animals were used to cleanse sinners from sins they had committed. This was also the basis for the acceptable sacrifice that Jesus offered to the Father in His own blood that we could take through faith and be free from past sins.
But His sacrifice did not stop there. The animal sacrifices could only provide forgiveness for past sins and the sins were not removed, only forgiven. But the blood of Jesus is more powerful for in the grace of god by Jesus’ blood our past sins are not just forgiven, they are removed and forgotten. Even more than that though, through Jesus’ sacrifice, God has dealt with FUTURE sin. And this was done through the way God dealt with the law.