Ruminations on Reconciliation

By Michael Gallup

Perhaps my favorite name for Christians is found in 2 Corinthians 5; ambassadors of reconciliation. This concept of being reconciled to God is not a prominent doctrine heard in our churches these days, but a reading of several of Paul’s letters, particularly Romans, teaches us that reconciliation may be the “whole” story behind what Christ was doing on the cross.

Those first few chapters of Romans paint a bleak picture. We have done more than just ignore God, we have become His enemies. This is not just some far off deity growing displeased with his play toys, this is Papa we are talking about. In perhaps his proudest moment, from the depths of a bottomless imagination, He spoke His children into being. They were to be His prize, not just His friends but his very own family. However, like the prodigal son we spat in His face and demanded our freedom, only to find ourselves snatching scraps from under the pig’s trough and let’s be honest, we hated Him for it.

When we think of “being saved” the thought is often of our debts being canceled and rightfully so. Yet God offers us more than just forgiveness, He offers us a repaired and renewed relationship; He offers reconciliation. This is no small matter, lest we forget that God was not just mad at us, we were His enemy. And yet this enmity lays the groundwork for one of my favorite passages: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is more than some charity case or act of benevolance; this is crazy love. Reconcilation is what makes salvation so radical, its like Hitler and Churchill sharing tea, yet oh so much more. The judge has taken up our defense, paid our penalty and then opened his home for us, adopting us. We who warred against God, now find shelter in His camp.

You can forgive a person and not be reconciled with them. Yet what Jesus has done not only gave us a just status, it gave us a relationship. We were made for this, sitting on Papa’s knee, His hand on our shoulder, teaching us to live. Yet Romans, and our lives, has shown us that this relationship still has some mending to be done. Paul encourages us that “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, how much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Our reconciled condition is in a sort of “already but not-yet” state. We are an enigma.

The other day I was walking along the Platte River here in Denver and I came to a garbage dump along the way. As I was looking at the dump, I was shocked at the amazing view I had of Mt. Evans and the sun setting behind it. I was floored by this picture of our present state. As I peered through trash, I saw glory. As we look at one another, may we see past the trash and see glory. May we see each other as what we are, a bunch of already-but-not yets. Jesus said that we must forgive to be forgiven, should we not reconcile so that we may be reconciled? So, let us take up our mantle and become ambassadors of reconciliation, bringing not just good news to the lost (and each other) but friendship as well.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Ruminations on Reconciliation

  1. elna

    Matt 5:9 Blessed be the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.
    Thank you, so often we read the Bible and we miss the truth.

  2. Georgie-ann

    At what point in our journey to “salvation” do we really begin to see more clearly? I don’t think that it is in the beginning. Estranged from home, “lost” and alone, suffering, given the opportunity/invitation, we might run to “Father’s arms.” But do we, at this time, really see the extent of our fallen condition, the personal dynamics that have actually made us “God’s enemies?”

    I think it’s probably a combination of pride on our part, and maybe even mercy on God’s part, that we don’t!

    Little by little we are invited to “see through” the self-sufficient veneer that we’ve “put on” to “cope” and survive, the meanness of some of our attitudes and actions. Little by little we break through our own limited prisons and inclinations to judge one another, and we are drawn into and see/recognize more of the true beauty and generous expanse of God’s nature and kingdom.

    As we “get to know Him,” we are truly humbled through Love, yet strengthened as well, — even enough to begin to “realize” just how opposed the “old man,” — (the “sin nature”/satan’s personal contribution to our dismal and needy situation in the flesh apart from God), — is to our much better reality “in God.” As our knowledge and familiarity and security in God grows, sin begins to lose its flavor — eventually even “tasting downright bad!” — while God tastes better & better the more we get to know Him!

    Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

    The appeal and draw of the Blessings of the Spirit are not only positively refreshing, renewing and inspiring, but as in your vision of the glory on that mountain over the trash heap, they call us to greater places that we’ve never imagined!

    Even at best, we’ll find ourselves growing on a lifelong continuum toward fuller realities in God. And as we do, we’ll also be better able to understand and judge/assess more correctly the “negatives” that satan has used to enthrall and captivate mankind, holding them in that position of being “enemies to God,” which hopefully and thankfully, we are no more:

    James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

    Isaiah 61:1-3 [The Good News of Salvation]
    1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
    Because the LORD has anointed Me
    To preach good tidings to the poor;
    He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
    To proclaim liberty to the captives,
    And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
    2 “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
    And the day of vengeance of our God;
    To comfort all who mourn,
    3 “To console those who mourn in Zion,
    To give them beauty for ashes,
    The oil of joy for mourning,
    The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
    That they may be called trees of righteousness,
    The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

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