02 July 2009

Words We Take for Granted (Part 4)

“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 5:18-19 What does it mean to be rejected? Worse yet, what does it feel like when you have been rejected by someone? It hurts doesn’t it? We all want to be accepted, but that’s not always the case. You see, the God of all creation has been offended, and He requires - He demands justice for our sinful disobedience against Him. King David said “Against You, You only have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight” this was his plea of repentance when he sinned against God with Bathsheba (Ps 51-4). These past weeks, we have been looking at important words that sometimes fly under the radar among Christians. We need to understand that Jesus dying on the cross is not only the perfect sacrifice that God required as payment for our sins; it is not only being declared righteous through His Son’s imputed righteousness; but Jesus did something else for all humanity which is equally amazing. He paved, or fixed the road (so to speak) for us - a way back to the Father. He has enabled us to return to a relationship which was good according to the Bible, as once found in the Garden of Eden. This is a word I think all of us as Christians pass over way too lightly. It’s the word “RECONCILIATION” which is defined this way: “Brought into friendship from a state of disagreement or enmity (Webster’s). Easton’s Bible Dictionary says it “speaks of a reconciliation originating with God, and consisting in the removal of his merited wrath”. There is no one who is good according to the Bible; all of humanity has become an enemy of God. If you are a Christian, you were once at enmity (hostile, haters, and enemies of God). Remember the book of Romans in the first 3 chapters. Jesus has paved a way back to the Father once again and that road is open to all who come to Him through repentance and faith in the Son. Look what Paul says “now all things are of God...” Everything is under His control. Remember what Jesus said “I have come to do my Father’s will”. It is only possible for me or you to come into that right relationship with God through what Jesus did on the cross at Calvary. My question for us, ‘Christian’, would have to be, “Are we living our life for the one who gave up His life so that we could come back to the Father?” Think about this for a moment - do we really understand what Jesus did so that we could come home? This reminds me of the prodigal son who wanted his ‘best life now’, but in the end it never gave him any fulfillment at all - only grief, guilt and shame. Listen to what Jesus said the boy did “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." Luke 15:18-19. When he came back, he realized he was an enemy of the One who loved him the most. If you read through this story, Jesus says his father ran to embrace him back into that right relationship again, "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” Luke 15:20. We serve an amazing God who loves us so much He is willing to die for our iniquities. He is willing to forgive even the worst of sinners, because of His great love for us “Christ reconciling the world to Himself”. What an amazing statement of our Lord and Savior! This doesn’t mean universal salvation, but Christ Jesus has made it possible so that the whole world can come home and be with Him forever, if we repent and follow Him alone! This is what Jesus means by reconciliation - He has removed the wrath that is yet to come for those who believe in the Son of God. Without His love for sinners and His love to do His Father’s will, we would still be under the wrath of God. But thanks be to God, for by His stripes we are healed, and by His death and resurrection we are reconciled into His grace. Christian I plead with you, do not let this word go unnoticed in your life. Treasure this understanding of truth and love Him with everything you’ve got! He loves you and me with an everlasting love and He proved this by His death and resurrection; making it possible, making it the ONLY way back home into the Father’s arms to be with Him for all eternity. Look at what Paul said “and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Col 1:20-22. This is my Jesus; this is the Jesus of the Bible who came to save sinners like me (Mike Andrews). I have been reconciled because of what Jesus did. My question for you is this - Has He reconciled you?

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