Summary: Sin hinders our relationship with God, creating division and preventing fellowship. We have no way to restore that which sin has lost, but God provided the means of reconciliation through the offering of His Son.
Reconciliation: Restored Relationship
Romans 5: 8-11
As we continue the series, Understanding Christianese, I want us to take a moment and consider the state of affairs in our nation, and even around the world. Particularly in America, if I had to choose one word to describe where we are nationally, at this moment I would choose the word divided. I have never known a time in my life when our nation was more divided and intolerant than it is today. We are divided politically, socially, racially, morally, spiritually…and on and on we could go. This division and enmity for one another has had a devastating effect on our nation and the quality of life we all hope to enjoy. The solution we are in desperate need of is for relationships to be restored; we need reconciliation in America. We hate to admit it, but reconciliation is needed in many of our churches. Division and contempt reign in our day.
As we consider the great divide we now face in America, we must also understand the great divide that exists between sinful humanity and the holy, sovereign God. Let’s take a moment to go back to the beginning. Genesis 3:8 – And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. Prior to Adam’s sin, he enjoyed fellowship with God. They walked together, enjoying fellowship in the Garden. When sin entered his heart, he felt the need to hide from God. That is not the nature nor the actions of friendship. The fellowship that Adam enjoyed with God was broken because of sin. Where joy and fellowship were once enjoyed, enmity was now present. Due to Adam’s sin, and each of us possessing his fallen nature, we too were born at enmity with God. Our sin caused separation, hindering the fellowship God desires with us. The only hope for our fellowship to be restored was reconciliation to God.
In our text Paul speaks of being reconciled to God. This is the Greek word katalaso. It means “to change mutually; to change completely.” It implies that God has laid aside and withdrawn His wrath in order to restore a relationship. Quite literally, enemies are made friends. We cannot adequately study the gracious benefits of our salvation without having a proper understanding of reconciliation to God. Those who were once the enemy of God through sin have been restored to fellowship with Him through salvation by His grace. I want to examine the certainties revealed in our text as we consider: Reconciliation – Restored Relationship.
I. The Grace Proclaimed (8) – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. As you study the fall of Adam, you quickly discover that he was the one at fault. His disobedience led to the break in fellowship with God. Our sin caused separation with Him. Unfortunately we had no way of restoring that which had been lost. However, God in His marvelous grace provided the means of reconciliation to Him. Consider:
A. The Demonstration (8a) – But God commendeth his love toward us…We all were hopeless in sin, incapable of living for the Lord with no real desire to do so anyway. Friends and loved ones were unable to change our hopeless state, but God stepped in and offered grace. Even though we were guilty and undeserving, God offered grace to humanity.
The word commend in the text means “to offer, to demonstrate, display, and provide.” God is holy and we are born ungodly and sinful. In order to be accepted of God, we must be righteous as He is righteous. God provided the means of righteousness to us. His righteousness was transferred to us through the sacrifice of His Son. God’s grace was put on display at the cross of Calvary as He demonstrated His great love for us!
B. The Situation (8b) – while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God loved us and extended His grace toward us while we were yet in sin. He loved us long before we loved Him. While living in sin with no regard for the Lord at all, He loved us, having sent His Son to die for us. Rom.5:6 – For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Provision was made for our salvation long before we ever received it.
In fact, this was God’s plan and purpose before the foundation of the world. He knew men would need a Savior. He knew we would be born in sin, separated from Him. He knew His Son would have to bear our guilt and shame before He ever formed Adam of the dust of the ground. Gal.4:4-5 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.