WHAT THE CROSS DID FOR US

Reconciliation: We have peace with God

2 Corinthians 5:17-19

11/8/09

Jerry A Collins

SCC

 

v  What does it mean to be reconciled to God?

v  How is one reconciled spiritually?

v  What is the result of spiritual reconciliation?

 

The Civil War was carnage. Then Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy died. And Ulysses Grant of the Union died. Their widows, Varina Davis and Julia Grant, settled near each other. They became closest of friends. Reconciliation; at one level and a remarkable one too. In a theological sense, reconciliation refers to the work of God in transforming manís position and state so completely that no barrier to fellowship with God remains. That work of God reconciles man to God by elevating us to Godís level morally. It has in view manís judicial standing rather than the state of his conduct. The act of reconciliation is the application of the death of Christ to the individual believer by the power of the Spirit, changing his status from that of condemnation to complete acceptability to God. This concept of reconciliation is elaborated for us in 1 Corinthians 5. Five times the word Ďreconciledí is used in these verses. Each of them give us an aspect of reconciliation to consider.

 

THE EFFECT THAT RECONCILIATION HAD

1. A New Orientation 16

Here is the transition from the human life organized without reference to God and His purposes to the new life we now have in Christ (15). First, we recognize no one according to the flesh. The world says it is all about whom you know. Recognizing other people, having an awe of them is important. An earthly focus is too narrow a focus and not eternal. Second, even though have known Christ in the flesh. When Jesus was alive and walked on the earth He was actually seen and some in this group may have. But that is a limited appreciation of Jesus. He is so much more important than that. Third, yet now we know him in this way no longer. Paul could acknowledge that first hand. He had had information about Jesus and His followers and attempted to eliminate them. But He was struck by the crucified and risen Lord Himself personally and had radically altered His life. Itís the mistake of rabbinical Judaism for instance which emphasizes Jesusí life on the earth, presented as Messiah. He is so much more than that. He is crucified and resurrected Savior for Jews and Gentiles.

2. A New Identity 17

Therefore, because Jesus died and rose again; (1) we are new creatures. When you trusted Jesus as your Savior it is not that we have a new way of looking at life. We are not renovated but you are a new creation. (2) Old things passed away meaning that such things as sin and death, but especially the power of the flesh to overwhelm you, and its viewpoint about life without reference to God and His purposes have changed. (3) New things have come in play. Things like living in the Spirit, denying the flesh, understanding the Bible.

3. A New Effect 18

All of this is from God. Specifically there are new things that have come about as a result of our relationship with Christ and they are from God Himself. (1) Who reconciled us to Himself. So God was the initiator, the one originating reconciliation, causing the reconciliation, and receiving the results (us) of the reconciliation. This is the first use of this word and it means Ďto effect a changeí. Reconciliation indicates that Christís death removed Godís enmity against man. Like the 1st creation God initiates the new creation. Like the 1st creation the new creation becomes a reality thru the work of ChristóHe is the agent of both creations. Everything of salvation is centered in and focused on Jesus Christ. He is the apex, the central figure by reconciliation can be established and all changed.

 

THE MINISTRY THAT RECONCILIATION DELIVERS

And gave us the ministry of reconciliation 18b. Reconciliation involves removing rebellious and sinful manís enmity toward God making it possible to be reconciled to God. Christ made peace with God possible so that one can pass from Godís wrath to His rescue. Even though Christ did this work thoroughly so there is nothing left to do, people still need to believe it and be saved. So we take this message and deliver it in our ministry of reconciliation. People must personally receive Christís payment for our sins (Jn 1:12). That message was first given to the apostles and has been passed down to us in our generation. God sees to it that every generation has its preachers.

 

THE EXTENT THAT RECONCILIATION REACHES

1. To the world 19

God was making peace with the world when Christís work was done. There is something in God as well as in man that must be dealt with before there can be peace. God put away everything on His side which meant estrangement. This is what makes the gospel serious business. It is Godís condemnation of the world and itís sinóit is the wrath of God revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:16-18). The putting away of this is Ďreconciliationí. The preaching of this is the gospel. So the gospel is not good advice but good news. Make your peace with God now that He has removed the barrier and made it possible. Here is reconciliationóreceive it. God has made peace with the world so that the world can be saved!

2. Our sins no longer count against us. When people are called to receive this reconciliation in relation to God it is not that we are no longer against Him but that He is no longer against them. There would be no condemnation therefore to those who are in Christ Jesus. God was putting away His own condemnation and wrath. Our sins are no longer a barrier to God or a burden of guilt. In Christ God put away His wrath by placing it on His Son and gave Him our condemnation so we could be reconciled.

 

THE WORD THAT RECONCILIATION GIVES

When God put away our condemnation of us and our sin, He could send word through His apostles to declare the news to us. Among these was no one more profoundly changed than the apostle Paul. It is a word of deliverance from guilt, from judgment, from wrath. from condemnation and from alienation. God has initiated reconciliation. Take it.

 

THE CALL THAT RECONCILIATION MAKES

Because God has committed this word of reconciliation to us, we are (1) ambassadors for Christ. The one constant throughout this passage is that reconciliation was made possible in Christ (6 times). (2) God appeals through us. God has chosen in our age to make Himself and the gospel known through us, the church. Not just our testimony of how we live but speaking the Gospel. (3) Be reconciled. It is a personís free will choice to receive the provision thru Christís death for our sins. As ambassadors for Christ we are to beg people to receive Christ and be at peace with God. There is no peace unless they do. (4) God made this happen and it is a supernatural thing 21. His Son who had no sin at all, this innocent one, like a lamb led to slaughter took all our sin on Himself and paid the consequences of it on the cross so that we might become clean in righteousness of God Himself thru Christís death. The divine exchange.

 

SO WHAT?

1. There is no reconciliation without Christ. God condemned the entire world in Adam so that all of the world might be reconciled to Him.

2. No one can blame God for their own eternal judgment.

3. Every generation of believers must maintain the integrity of the gospel and share it urgently. It is one ministry we will never have in heaven.