2 Corinthians 5:18
- You can listen to this sermon here.
You can’t talk about reconciliation without acknowledging a fight. The word reconciliation was one of the signature words of my youth. (Right up there with “recalcitrant“. Thanks Paul Keating.) Reconciliation between white and indigenous Australians was, and continues to be, a major political issue. For years our politicians, and much of the public, denied the need to apologise for actions taken against aborigines 50, 100 or 200 years earlier. Without the acknowledgement of wrong doing, reconciliation was impossible. (The official apology was offered by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in parliament in February, 2008.)
Regardless of your views of race relations in Australia, I have always found this a useful lens to understand the need to be reconciled to God. Until I recognise that God has a quarrel with me, I won’t apologise, and He’ll be distant. Until I admit that I’ve offended God, the bridge between Him and me is irreparably broken.
Even though God is the offended party he takes the first steps toward reconciliation by sending Jesus to Earth with a message of forgiveness. One of the big reasons Australian governments were reticent to issue an apology to aborigines was a concern that an admission of guilt would lead to large financial compensation claims. In contrast, when we admit our guilt to God he doesn’t demand compensation because he’s already paid it himself… to himself (yes, it’s complicated). Jesus died in our place. That’s how much God desires relationship with us.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5:19 (tNIV)
No message is more vital than the message of divine reconciliation. The risk we run is that we limit this message to the spiritual realm. This passage in 2 Corinthians 5 also paints an inspiring picture of a church and world reconciled to each other. Note in particular verses 14 -17. Christ died for all… So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view… if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. We no longer look around us noticing skin colour and accents. As followers of Christ we consider the presence and work of God’s transforming Spirit in the lives of others. This Godly perspective encourages us to live lives of reconciliation.
I cam across someone else’s good blog post on this topic here.
- Where have you most often encountered the word or idea of “reconciliation”?
- How are you a “minister of reconciliation”? What does that mean to you?
- Do you agree that this “ministry” has a social application in addition to a spiritual meaning?