Reconciliation is one of the most beautiful words in our vocabulary. In the eyes of the world, it means a state of restored harmony after discord. However, as much as there may be times when reconciliation takes place with man, the ultimate example of reconciliation is not man-made – it is heaven-made. People have the tendency to run from reconciliation, in fact, destroy it. Think about it: divorce, war, murder, lost friendships, and lawsuits are all man’s inventions and thrive where reconciliation is not truly sought. Reconciliation is God’s idea and that is what makes it so precious.
Romans 5:1-11 has much to say about God reconciling man to Himself. The first two verses teach that Christ is the way to peace with God and that faith is the key that allows us to access true reconciliation. When Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin, the Cross became the stage upon which God’s greatest promise became reality- a restored relationship with His people (Isaiah 62:11-12). Faith in this promised reality allows us to stand as people reconciled to their awesome Creator.
The Master Plan
My husband Matt first noticed me as a lowly freshman at Auburn University, and it didn’t take long for him to begin his pursuit. I, however, wanted nothing to do with him. Week after week, month after month, he found various ways to ask me out, and every time, I had excuses: “I have to study” and “I have to cut the grass. Yes, I know I live in a dorm, but the grass needs cutting.” At one point I even called him a stalker – harsh, I know. However, little did I know that he had initiated what he proudly calls his “Master Plan”- and it worked! It took some time and some craftiness on his part, but the Spirit finally opened my eyes to see the awesome opportunity for love that was before me. Even after all my attempts to avoid a relationship with Matt, he continued to pursue me and seek reconciliation. While Matt is not perfect, he is a very good example of the great lengths to which God reconciles the unlovable to Himself and shows them His love. Even though I did not want anything to do with Matt, he pursued me. In the same manner, we wanted nothing to do with God, but He pursued us.
Romans 5: 9-11 continues to explain this wonderful truth with much harsher words: enemies, wrath, and death. We should never ignore harsh passages of Scripture – God uses stern language to communicate the reality of sin and our need for grace. In this passage, we see the need for the cross. Before Christ’s sacrifice, we were God’s enemies, completely opposed to Him and His desires for us. Before Christ’s sacrifice, we faced God’s wrath as the penalty for sin.
Ambassadors on Mission
However, in the midst of hopelessness, Jesus’ death provides reconciliation between the Father and His people. His resurrection allows us to enjoy a relationship with God for all eternity!
So, how can we apply this to our lives right now? Second Corinthians 5:16-20 describes how believers are to act now that they have reconciliation with God. It describes us as “Christ’s ambassadors” who proclaim to the world that God has made a way for people to have reconciliation with Him- “not counting men’s sins against them.” He has given us a mission and a message that we must tell to everyone: “Be reconciled to God” (v. 20b). We are to see people as God sees them (v. 16) and have a ministry that shows them the way to reconciliation.
I believe that one of the best ways that we can proclaim God’s reconciliation is to model it in our relationships with one another. When the person you love pushes you away, forgive and seek peace with them. If you have pushed a loved one out of your life, make every effort to mend the broken bridge. Our relationships illustrate our relationship with God. Therefore, make every effort to allow His love to provide an environment of peace and reconciliation within our relationships!
Not the end… only the Beginning
Keep this in mind: Reconciliation is not the end of Christ’s work. Not at all! Instead, it is the means through which believers become more like Him. Romans 5: 3-5 illustrates this beautifully. Even though we have reconciliation with God, we are still in this world for a time. This world is cruel, difficult, and hopeless – after all, we are all guaranteed the same fate. However, peace with God allows believers to have peace in the midst of difficult situations and to grow stronger and deeper in hope – our ultimate hope of eternity. Verse 2b says, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (NIV). This hope of glorification is our reward! But that’s a subject for another day…
More Study Passages:
Proverbs 10:12; 15:1; 17:9
Jeremiah 30-31; 32:38-41
1 Corinthians 3:1-23