Pastor Ian shares a word today titled ‘Reconcilers To Christ’.
Reading Text: 1 Corinthians 1:3-17
Reconciliation in the Greek means ‘an adjustment of. difference or restoration to favour.’
Reconciliation assumes a broken relationship. Something has happened that has caused two parties to become estranged. The two might have been friends. It might be a business relationship. Or it might be as intimate as marriage. But there is now something wrong between the two parties. Reconciliation has much to do with transformation; it’s the moving from a place of separation, hurt and brokenness to a place of healing, wholeness and reunion.
Today we live in a time where our relationships face immense hurdles and challenges, social distancing, isolation, aspects of justice and ethnicity these and other challenges make the need for reconciliation all the more pressing. The word ‘reconciliation’ at least in the Scripture, deals with the relationship between God and humanity. This reconciliation between God and man through Christ Jesus, is the biggest story of reconciliation in the whole of scripture.
Two concepts that Paul often talks about in Scripture, especially in his opening salutations, ‘grace and peace’. It is interesting because he mentions it here to the church in Corinth; He is speaking to a church that is riddled with division. The first letter to the Corinthians demonstrates, they had doctrinal divisions. They had horrendous moral problems that needed to be dealt with and other matters that were dividing the congregation.
Grace and peace is something that Paul works for, strives for and wherever you find it, among the catholic church of God, the people of God, among any people, it must be understood that it is something that you have to work for and work at.
At the end of Apartheid in South Africa a young Black African girl said ‘Apartheid is now illegal but it’s still people’s hearts.’
The cross was diverse, multi ethnic in its impact it bridged the gap between Jews and gentiles, slaves and free, male and female, Black and White, rich and poor. The cross on which Jesus died was a multi-cultural cross identifying Jesus as a king in three languages.
What this tells us is that God through the cross is profoundly concerned with our cross-cultural relationships, with our xenophobic fears about different groups of people. The cross has always spoken out against inequality. Long before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah 53:9 said ‘He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, although he had done no violence and there was no deceit in His mouth.’
The grace and peace of God was no respecter of person then. God was concerned about the reconciliation to Himself of the whosoever then and it should be a concern to us now. The twin task of reconciling human relationship and pursuing justice, is a concise summary of the work of God’s church through the leading and empowerment of His Holy Spirit.
But Biblical reconciliation makes one more demand upon every one of us; it’s our personal need for forgiveness and reconciliation to God Himself.
Biblical reconciliation does not start with community, society or the state. It starts with a personal awareness that our sinful disconnection from God, is central to all our corporate problems. Reconciliation is the fundamental conviction and consolation of the Christian message that we can have a right and restored relationship with God.
There is not a more compelling power on earth to bring people together, than the reconciling work of Christ. Because He calls us not only to be reconciled to God but also in our relationships with each other. The cross knows no other way. It pushes us out of the shadows of our prejudices. Reconciliation is not just a doctrine, it is the compelling demand of the cross in all our broken relationships.
God’s ultimate purpose is a bring back, buy back plan. It is to create a community of people in which hostilities will cease, as everything becomes reconciled to Christ.
It will start in our homes, our families, down the street, across our communities as we dare to think of ourselves as God’s ambassadors of reconciliation.