Thursday, September 6, 2018
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 anymore. Peace isn’t the burial of issues. Peace is the healing of the pain of issues. But 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. 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.
God didn’t hide sin until after it had been justly dealt with. He didn’t offer eternal 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)
Here’s how God taught me the incredible marvel of His work to reconcile my relationship with Him.
God’s Holiness Fought Me – I had to come to a place in my life where I knew that nothing I could ever do or offer to God would be able to change my nature. I had to know that I could never stand in the presence of God based on my qualifications. There can be no salvation from sin and reconciliation to God unless we first see God in His absolute holiness.
God’s Love Sought Me – He sent Jesus to pay the price for my 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 Me – Jesus paid the price for my sin 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 Me – After the price for my sin had been paid by Jesus, and justice was no longer in the way, mercy came running after me. God chased after me. What an incredible lesson in reconciliation – the One in the right chasing after the ones in the wrong.
God’s Grace Wrought Me – Now that He has caught me, God is shaping me. Every day His grace molds me into the character of Jesus.
God’s Example Taught Me – “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 me to Himself, I am to go with the Good News and reconcile others to God and to each other.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…