Daily Devotions for Tuesday, January 20, 2008

Daily Devotions

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

 

Current Study: Reconciliation         

Today’s Topic: God’s Initiative

Today’s Scripture:   2 Corinthians 5:18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…

 

We are more apathetic than we will admit. Especially when it comes to conflict resolution. I know all too well about the “sweep it under the rug” philosophy of problem solving. I grew up in a Scandinavian home. But we’re not the only ones who have adopted and promoted this attitude. Somehow the Biblical admonition to “be at peace with one another” has been misunderstood and misapplied. Being at peace with one another doesn’t mean pretending that the problem never existed. Being at peace means to resolve the problem so that it doesn’t matter any more. Peace isn’t the burial of issues. Peace is the healing of the pain of issues. But somehow we have been duped into believing that time heals all pain. If we would just set aside our differences for long enough we will eventually forget that they exist. So we have become apathetic towards conflict resolution. We have created a false sense of peace based on a wrong understanding of reconciliation.

What if God had done with our sin what we do with the wrongs of others? What hope would we have if God simply swept our sin under the rug and ignored it, hoping that somehow it would go away so that we could relate to Him again? We would have to believe in a less than holy and less than just God. We would even have to minimize His love for us, because true love heals, not hides.

But God didn’t hide sin until after it had been justly dealt with. He didn’t offer forgiveness until sin had been publicly paid for. He didn’t provide healing from the pain of sin until it had been openly confessed by the offender. He didn’t invite us to a restored relationship until after the relationship with His Son had been forsaken. He didn’t reconcile us to Himself until He had first reconciled His Son to Himself by raising Him from the dead. He didn’t offer false peace based on ignorance of sin, but rather He offered true peace based on the knowledge and the forgiveness of sin. Every necessary requisite to a reconciled relationship with God was initiated and implemented by God. When He saw our sin, He set in motion the strategy of salvation. He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

Last week the Holy Spirit gave me a very meaningful outline to explain God’s process of reconciling the world to Himself. I shared it with my church on Sunday. Let me share it with you today so you too can marvel at what God did to bring us to a place of peace with Himself.

§  God’s Holiness Fought Us – We came to a place in our lives where we knew that nothing we could ever do or offer to God would be able to change our nature so that we could stand in the presence of Almighty and Holy God. There can be no salvation from sin and reconciliation to God unless we first see God in His absolute holiness.

§  God’s Love Sought Us – He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should never die, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Jesus said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

§  God’s Justice Bought Us – Jesus paid the price for our redemption on the cross of Calvary. “You are not your own, you were bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

§  God’s Mercy Caught Us – After the price for our sin had been paid by Jesus, and justice was no longer in the way, mercy came running after us. God chased after us. What an incredible lesson in reconciliation – the One in the right chasing after the ones in the wrong.

§  God’s Grace Wrought Us – After catching us, God is shaping us. Every day His grace molds us into the character of Jesus.

§  God’s Example Taught Us – “He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 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 5:19-20) In the same way that God reconciled us to Himself, we are to go with the Good News and reconcile others to God and to each other.

 

In closing, I offer you the words to a song. It’s called Mercy Came Running, and was written by Dan Dean, Dave Clark & Don Koch. [© 1995 Dawn Treader Music/Word Music/DaySpring Music] Dan Dean is one of the members of the group Phillips, Craig, & Dean that performed the song several years ago. They are magnificent lyrics that express the marvel of mercy and our reconciliation to God. Read them slowly. Digest them well. Meditate on them often.

Once there was a holy place
Evidence of God’s embrace
And I can almost see mercy’s face
Pressed against the veil
 
Looking down with longing eyes
Mercy must have realized
That once His blood was sacrificed
Freedom would prevail
 
And as the sky grew dark
And the earth began to shake
With justice no longer in the way
 
Mercy came running
Like a prisoner set free
Past all my failures to the point of my need
When the sin that I carried
Was all I could see
And when I could not reach mercy
Mercy came running to me
 
Once there was a broken heart
Way too human from the start
And all the years left it torn apart
Hopeless and afraid
 
Walls I never meant to build
Left this prisoner unfulfilled
Freedom called but even still
It seemed so far away
 
I was bound by the chains
From the wages of my sin
Just when I felt like giving in
 
Mercy came running
Like a prisoner set free
Past all my failures to the point of my need
When the sin that I carried
Was all I could see
And when I could not reach mercy
Mercy came running to me
 
Sometimes I still feel so far
So far from where I really should be
He gently calls to my heart
Just to remind me
 
Mercy came running
Like a prisoner set free
Past all my failures to the point of my need
When the sin that I carried
Was all I could see
And when I could not reach mercy
Mercy came running to me
 
Pastor John
 

2 thoughts on “Daily Devotions for Tuesday, January 20, 2008

  1. “Being at peace with one another doesn’t mean pretending that the problem never existed. Being at peace means to resolve the problem so that it doesn’t matter any more. Peace isn’t the burial of issues. Peace is the healing of the pain of issues.”

    I’m not going to get this exactly right but I think you’ll understand based on my note yesterday. Thank you for putting into “better” words what I was trying to say. What the Father does for me is Reconciliation.

    Like

  2. That song was running through my head Sunday when you mentioned it…Philips, Craig and Dean offer some powerful messages and I really appreciate this one…it hits where it hurts. A drive to a humble and repentant attitude.

    Like

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