Summary: God's goal is to reconcile every person to himself. We need to understand this as a restoring of relationship, that God has done everything on his side to restore and that we only need to turn to him in repentance and faith. Finally God has placed in our
On September 13, 1993 one of the most famous moments in modern diplomacy took place. President Bill Clinton was instrumental in brokering a peace agreement between Yitzak Rabin and Yassir Arafat in Oslo. It seemed like the Israelis and Palestinians would always be enemies but here was a miracle. There on national television the world was shocked to see these arch-enemies shaking hands with Bill Clinton between them. Today this picture is almost idiomatic of peace. But neither side would have come to this agreement on their own without the initiative of our president. Unfortunately, as we know, the peace didn’t last. But it was for awhile a beautiful example of reconciliation – or at least the start of reconciliation.
What does the word reconcile mean? It’s from the word “conciliate” – meaning to unite or “re-unite” – to restore a relationship. Here in 2 Cor. 5, Paul is reminding us that this is God’s objective – reconciliation with every person alive. Now, realize that no one was born WITH a relationship to God. We are born in sin, separated from God. So we were never united with God in the first place. But reconciling – restoring refers to that perfect relationship that Adam and Eve had. God wants to restore that for each one of us. We need to be brought back to God.
Last week we looked at how the relationship between humanity and God was severed. And then in the curse on the serpent in Genesis 3:15, God was immediately revealing his plan of restoring his relationship to man back to what it was. And this is what he wants for me, for you, for everyone we know. Just imagine a world in which every single person you meet is restored to God. That is not just something to imagine, but something set as a goal in our lives!
This morning we are discovering four keys to open the door of reconciliation.
1. Reconciliation is restoring relationship.
The first key that opens the door of reconciliation is realizing that God’s goal of restoration is connected with our relationship to Him.“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (17) God wants nothing more than to put in the past, the sins of our lives, our horrible failures, what we have done to him and others. He wants the old to be gone and the new to come. He wants every one of us to be in right relationship to him.
Again, the very word “reconciliation” is connected with relationship. This is crucial because it reveals that God’s goal not merely a thinking or a theology.
Remember Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son? After taking his inheritance and spending it all out in the world, he ends up in a pig sty. Finally, he comes to his senses, returns to his Father ready to repent of how he treated him. The son had already rehearsed his words of repentance when he came to his father but before he could get a word in – what happened? Luke 15:20 “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”