Tuesday, September 4, 2018
I have been captured by a word. It came up in a conversation I was having with two men the other day. I am going to study the word thoroughly. It is a word that has both secular and spiritual applications. In its most basic dictionary definition it means “to restore to balance.” It can specifically apply to the restoration of friendship, the balancing of finances, or the composition of music to create harmony. In the Greek language it means “to change or exchange so that favor is restored.”
Have you figured out what word has captured me? The word is reconcile.
Read this passage of Scripture where the word is found.
- Colossians 1:19-22 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
When we think of reconciliation, we probably think first of people who are restored to relationship after they have been separated by hurt and anger. But in order to understand the concept completely, we must begin with the ultimate act and example of reconciliation – God restoring our relationship with Him.
My mind is swimming with a multitude of ideas and insights into God’s work of reconciliation, and in the coming devotionals we will try to investigate them all. But let me lay the proper foundation for this study by sharing with you a story told by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.
A certain king was very rich. His power was known throughout the world. But he was most unhappy, for he desired a wife. Without a queen, the vast palace was empty. One day, while riding through the streets of a small village, he saw a beautiful peasant girl. So lovely was she that the heart of the king was won. He wanted her more than anything he had ever desired. On succeeding days, he would ride by her house on the mere hope of seeing her for a moment.
He wondered how he might win her love. He thought, I will draw up a royal decree and require her to be brought before me to become the queen of my land. But, as he considered, he realized that she was a subject and would be forced to obey. He could never be certain that he had won her love.
Then, he said to himself, “I shall call on her in person. I will dress in my finest royal garb, wear my diamond rings, my silver sword, my shiny black boots, and my most colorful tunic. I will overwhelm her and sweep her off her feet to become my bride.” But, as he pondered the idea, he knew that he would always wonder whether she had married him for the riches and power he could give her.
Then, he decided to disguise himself, drive to the town, and have his carriage let him off. Incognito, he would approach her house. But, somehow the duplicity and deception of this plan did not appeal to him.
At last, he knew what he must do. He would shed his royal robes. He would go to the village and become one of the peasants. He would work and suffer with them. He would actually become a peasant. He would give up his rights to the throne to win the heart of his heart’s love. This he did, and he won his wife.
This is what God did for us. To win the hearts of His heart’s love, He became one of us in Christ. He made himself of no reputation. He became a servant. He humbled himself. He became obedient, even to the point of death. The Apostle Paul says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.”
God sought to restore favor between himself and man. To do so, he made an exchange that brought change. Not change to Him, for He never changes. His exchange brings change to us, which in turn changes our relationship with God.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
We have been reconciled to God.
This is incredible news. I can’t wait to see what else God is going to teach us in the days ahead.