Summary: The relationship between God and humanity was broken. The cross is able to heal that relationship.
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Reconciliation is the act of God whereby He does away with the HOSTILITY between a sinner and Himself and establishes PEACE.
THE GOD BEHIND THE CURTAIN
“Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the Testimony behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place” (Exodus 26:33).
The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover” (Leviticus 16:2).
RECONCILED TO GOD
1. Reconciliation was necessary because of our SIN.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have not been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:8-11).
· The sinner is REBELLIOUS toward God.
· God is ANGRY toward the sinner.
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
How can God be both a God of love and a God of wrath? Here’s a human analogy: The more a father loves his son, the more he hates his son’s lying or laziness or alcoholism.
Sin is like a wall that separates us from God (like a wall between a husband and wife).
2. Reconciliation was accomplished by the CROSS.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:19-22).
Who is reconciled? Three possible answers: (1) God is reconciled to man, (2) man is reconciled to God, or (3) both God and man are reconciled to each other.
The correct answer is probably number three. But God does not need to be reconciled in the same way we need to be reconciled. God’s anger is justified; our rebellion is not.
The cross has brought God and man together. We have not done anything to achieve the reconciliation. Reconciliation is the work of God. We must receive it by repentance and faith. (We must “turn around.”)
God will receive us like the father received the prodigal son: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
3. Reconciliation produces PEACE with other believers.
For [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit (Ephesians 2:14-18).
4. Reconciliation is good news God wants us to SHARE.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).