Be ‘ENGAGED’ in the MINISTRY of RECONCILIATION
November 26 Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians Chapters 4-6
"Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:16-19)
The opening pages of the Bible give a record of God’s unfiltered fellowship and intimacy with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1-2). Shortly thereafter this fellowship was dented when our fore-parents disobeyed the only commandment of God: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17) In the Garden of Eden, a barrier was built through sin resulting from disobedience of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), and this was God’s perspective in this matter: "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)
However, in due time God appropriated his remedy by sending His only begotten Son Jesus Christ into this world, and His death/resurrection made reconciliation with God possible. When we accept the sacrifice that Jesus has made on our behalf, the barrier of sin between us and God is torn down, and we are reconciled back with God. Sadly, the first-century Church was riddled with different factions based on race, language and culture. There have been other barriers created in this world that have been demolished as well through Jesus Christ, which was pointed out by Apostle Paul with these words: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:28)
In today’s scripture passage (2 Cor. 5:16-19), Apostle Paul has argued that since Christ has died for the entire human race, we should regard no one by their fleshly attributes like race, language and cultural heritage. Instead, we need to look into the heart of a person as everyone has been created in God’s image, and in Christ everyone can become a brand new creation (v. 17) and a child of God (John 1:12). Through this, a person becomes part of God’s family, and God’s ambassador in the world (v. 18). The mandate of responsibility that God has now given us is to implore people on behalf of Christ to be reconciled back to God (v. 19). This precise statement of the scriptural doctrine of reconciliation is found in "A New and Concise Bible Dictionary":
“By the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross, God annulled in grace the distance which sin had brought in between Himself and man, in order that all things might, through Christ, be presented agreeably to himself. Believers are already reconciled, through Christ’s death, to be presented holy, un-blamable, and un-reprovable (a new creation). God was in Christ, when Christ was on earth, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses; but now that the love of God has been fully revealed in the cross, the testimony has gone out world-wide, beseeching men to be reconciled to God. The end is that God may have His pleasure in man.”
Thus, God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, and He has called us to tell people that they can be reconciled to God through the name of Jesus Christ alone: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) God is looking for us to have hearts that are willing to serve Him faithfully. Let us be engaged in the ministry of reconciliation – today and every day of our lives!