Summary: This sermon seeks to explain our new relationship with God in terms of Four Reasons you need reconciliation and Four Results you receive in reconciliation.
With Super Tuesday coming around the corner, can you feel the fireworks flaming? You can hear the rhetoric heating up as candidates fire back and forth. The final debates ended Wednesday night and Thursday night leading up to Tuesday’s primary elections. However, the hostility hasn’t ended has it? But it will! In November following the general election the hostility will cease and the candidates and parties will come together, reach across the isle and the nation will unite. After all we are the United States of America.
In this passage Paul returns again to the theme of justification and peace with God. Only this time he talks about it in terms of reconciliation. This is another angle through which we can understand our new relationship with God. This picture is drawn from the familiar experience of hostility between states, parties or individuals being overcome or ended. Reconciliation restores harmony and peace to the relationship between man and God.
The Greek word for reconciliation here is katallage which comes from two words, kata meaning down or down from and allasso meaning to change. Thus, it means to come down from a high or lofty position to change from hostility to friendship. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul wrote that God reconciled the world to Himself in Christ. Yet, every person must respond in faith in order for that forgiveness to become effective. God has provided forgiveness for all people through the once-for-all death of His Son, Jesus. Only when that forgiveness is accepted by faith is the compact completed and reconciliation takes place. God’s part is finished – your part is a matter of individual decision! Let me give you:
I. Four Reasons You Need Reconciliation verses 6-8
1. You are powerless to help yourself verse 6
The KJV says “when we were yet without strength.” Others say “when we were weak or helpless.” The Living Bible says, “when we were utterly helpless with no way of escape.” The point is your total inability to save yourself or reconcile your-self to God. You are powerless to help yourself or save yourself.
2. You are evil and irreligious verse 6
The term ungodly has a religious connotation to it. It describes a person who has no use for God. It’s to exclude God from your thinking and feeling, from your mind and heart. I think the best description of the term is that you are cold towards God. You have no respect for anything sacred. Every person without Christ has an evil nature that needs reconciling. Another reason:
3. You are or you were a Sinner verse 8
This term simply means you missed the mark. Like the bull’s eye on the dart board, you missed it. You’ve missed God’s goal in life, to be in a relationship with God. You’ve missed God’s intention.
4. You are enemies of God verse 10
By nature you are at odds with God. You are born hostile to God in your mind and heart. And you live out your life in a state of hostility to God and His redemptive activity towards you.
These four terms describe your former state or your present condition if you’ve never responded to the love of God. That’s why Christ died – God had a planned purpose to redeem the world from before the beginning of time. Wednesday night I traced this redemptive purpose from Genesis 3:15 to Mark 1:15 where God’s kingdom purpose dawned with the coming of Jesus and He said, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the good news.” Here Paul says, “in due time,” while in Galatians 4:4 he says, “In the fullness of time” or at just the right time, at the decisive moment, at a fitting time fixed by God, “Christ died for you!”
Not only was it the right time in the sweep of history, but it is the right time in the sense that you are powerless to break the chains of sin. Outside of Christ you’re bound by sin and destined for an eternity apart from God and no amount of struggle will free you. The remarkable thing about the death of Christ is that it took place while you were still a sinner, helpless and powerless. And God doesn’t wait until you’ve performed well enough to merit His love. He’s the loving Father who, having forgiven His prodigal son, watched daily for him to return home. And He’s waiting for you today. The proof of God’s Amazing Love for you is the gift of His only Son, Jesus. So those are the reasons you need reconciliation. In this passage, Paul also gives us:
II. Four Results You Receive in Reconciliation vv.9-11
1. You’re Declared Righteous verse 9a
You are declared righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. This is the language of the law court. In the presence of divine counsel, justified means declared not guilty or positively righteous. You’ve been declared right with God, righteous by virtue of the shedding of Christ blood. This is mentioned 3 times in 10 verses, 4:25, 5:1 and 5:9. Not only are you declared righteous, but you’re made righteous, made acceptable to God. This is so because to be justified is to mean that you are just as if you’ve never sinned or ever will again.