In my last post, I talked about the way we’re changed in Christ. It’s not by willpower or trial and error, but the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.
Now Paul talks about the nature of that change and our response to it.
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. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
This passage is the basis for everything we do in Christ. It’s all about reconciliation. But that’s a big word. What does it mean, exactly?
We’re told that God reconciled us to Himself in Christ. That Greek word is actually used for money-changers. It’s like when you travel abroad; you turn in your US dollars and exchange them for the equivalent amount of Euros.
In the context of this passage, it means to change mutually. Because of what Jesus did, a change occurred in the relationship between God and the world.
Christ took the sin of the entire world – past, present, and future – and bore it to the cross. The fact that He rose from the dead proves that God accepted His sacrifice. Now the way is opened up for all of us to enter a new relationship with God through Christ.
We have to see that the change was mutual. Because Christ took away our sin, the anger of God subsided. That allows us to approach God for forgiveness and restoration.
It doesn’t end there. Once we experience this great gift, we enter into the service of reconciliation.
There are a lot of things that take place when we bow our knee to Jesus Christ. One of them is referred to in this passage. It literally says that the Lord has laid down inside of us the Word of reconciliation.
What does that mean to us?
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.
2 Corinthians 5:20
This part of the equation is just as important as the first part. There are some who teach that because God reconciled Himself to the world, everyone is saved no matter what they do. But that’s not the case.
Reconciliation is a mutual change. God has already prepared His forgiveness for all who want it. The problem is that forgiveness requires action from both parties.
Forgiveness must be both given and received for it to take effect. I have to come before God and agree to His terms of reconciliation.
The difficulty is that I have to admit that I was at fault and there’s nothing I can do to rectify my condition. I then have to accept the fact that only the work of Christ can reconcile me to God. There are many who can’t live with that.
But for those of us who’ve experienced the grace, love, and forgiveness of God, there’s nothing better. Praise God for His incredible gift!
Question: How has this reconciliation changed your life?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi
June 1, 2020 at 1:03 PM
Good word for anytime but especially for in today’s divisive times. Thank you!