The number one problem in our world today is alienation! We see it everywhere: rich versus poor, black versus white, labor versus management, conservative versus liberal, East versus West. Separation is part of the human problem. But we were never meant to separate ourselves. Christ came to bring about reconciliation and peace, and with that, to turn our hearts toward one another and to send us on the mission of reconciliation.
II Corinthians 5:18-21 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 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore 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.
Five times in these few verses Paul uses the word “reconcile,” so it must be a pretty big deal. It means To re-establish a close relationship. In the original biblical language it means, to change; to exchange, to reconcile. Coming to reconciliation with Christ: includes acknowledging sin, confessing sin, repenting of sin. It’s exchanging SIN for SALVATION, Darkness for Light, emptiness for abundance, death for Life!
This is why relationships are so important. The purpose of relationship is to REPRESENT reconciliation – to put Christ’s love on display!
Three Rock-Solid Truths about Reconciliation:
One: Christ is the MEANS of Reconciliation…it was his mission – it was his purpose – his passion
We are impacted by the Gospel. He is the way – he is the resource – the provider. He provided the way, he paved the way, he did all the work! Vs. 19: “that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.” He was drawing the world up close to himself, reconciling, re-establishing what was lost in the Garden of Eden (intimate relationship). It had been a long time coming! AMEN! Then he says (vs. 19 cont’d): “not counting their trespasses against them…”
He did not impute, count, calculate our sins. He didn’t consider all the wrongs – he didn’t go through our bag – he didn’t count it all up. Why? Because Love keeps no record of wrongs. Because of his love – he didn’t count our trespasses (sins) against us! Instead – he made the first move – to give us life – HIS life, HIS abundant life. He was and is the means of reconciliation. Do you ever stop and let that sink in? I don’t know if we really understand the depth of that kind of love. Somehow, Paul did!
We are recipients (beneficiaries of such great love and reconciliation)…therefore
Two: Christ has entrusted to us the Message of Reconciliation
We have been entrusted with the Gospel. Entrust means to put into someone else’s care. What is your most prized possession. There are a lot of things that could top the list, but our children are some of the most precious possessions that have been entrusted to us. His Son Christ – and His Message!
Jesus died on a cross as a sacrifice to restore our relationship with God; it has never been about what we did. It’s all about Gods plan for reconciliation – not condemnation. Guilt can feel like condemnation, because that’s what we believe we deserve. But, God has delivered us from that! He says in Sin…we are condemned already – but he shows us our sin and our need for him, not for condemnation, but for liberation; for hopes of reconciliation!
God’s plan was for us to be in close relationship with Him from the beginning. We cannot sacrifice enough of ourselves or our possessions to restore that relationship, no matter how hard we try. It’s only by the blood of Jesus that we are restored – reconciled to God. That’s the message we are entrusted with. It’s the gospel, we are to live it, we are to proclaim it!
Three: Christ has given to us the Ministry of Reconciliation
Ministry = Diakonia = service; to execute the command of another – it simply means – SERVANT. It is the greatest calling, it is the greatest privilege to be given the ministry of reconciliation. We are waiters, that's what the word often was used to express, and we bring to the table of sinners the meal of reconciliation. We serve the truth…that God wants reconciliation. That's what we live for, what we preach for, that's what we serve for, that's what we nurture the saints for, in order that in the end the message of reconciliation might effectively draw people who are far from God close to God.
II Corinthians 5:20-21 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore 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. (ESV)
An Ambassador is a person who lives as a citizen of one country, living in a foreign country as a Representative of his/her own government or KING. An ambassadors purpose is basically to develop friendships (relationship) with the government of the foreign government in which they serve. Many times in a place of peace. Other times – in a place not so peaceful; maybe one that is hostile. An ambassador speaks holy for his ruler, he is his ruler's mouthpiece. He never utters his own thoughts. He never offers promises, demands his own things, but rather those things of his kingdom. And in that foreign world he represents his own king, his own kingdom and he brings the message of his KING. But his mission – all along – is to break down walls of hostility – and develop friendship.
Paul saw himself as an ambassador to break down walls of hostility (hurt, anger, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, judgment, condemnation) – to love even our enemies. We have been called into this role of ambassador to tell the people of this perishing world that they can be reconciled to the King of our Kingdom who desires to make them subjects of His eternal Kingdom and glory. But, our ambassadorship begins with making new friends (new relationships) at all times and in all situations, displaying friendliness, godliness, the love, care and compassion of Christ to foreigners (those who don’t know him yet).
Here's the challenge: Accept our role as ambassadors. It's our mission. We come with a word of reconciliation from the court of heaven to plead with people to be reconciled to God through His Son, Jesus Christ - who is King of all the earth!