Our world is full of problems. Looking back on 2014 that is pretty obvious. It seemed to be an especially troubling year on Earth for everyone at various moments. We live in a broken, sinful world. Luckily even during our darkest times there will still be a glimmering light shining through the doom and gloom. Christian believers hold that light, the light of Christ. I will say it a thousand times before I die, we can not hide this light from shining in the world.
God has given us task, and that task is reconciling the world to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 says,
…God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
So, what does reconciliation means? Merriam-Webster defines it as, “The act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement.” The argument in this case is sin, and it is separating the world from God. So we are tasked to act as an ambassador between humans and God as we work to help people realize their sin, repent, and enter into a relationship with God. However before we proclaim from the mountaintop the Good News we must understand that Christ was the first part of the process of reconciliation. We must also understand what that means for us.
Firstly, we are all sinners. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. It is in our nature to sin and only Jesus can save us from our natural sinful ways. We are dead because we follow the patterns of this world (Ephesians 2:1-3) but Jesus continually gives us life. We are now alive, and a live body is not one to never get hurt, but it is one to repair itself. A Christian is able to repent, pick himself up, and start over again (Mere Christianity, 36.)
Even if we live in a broken world filled with hurt, even if our world is crumbling down around us, we can still have confidence in the peace we have in God. His salvation is unchanging. We may not have peace in the world but we will always have peace in God. Jesus has given us a pardon for our sins, and we need to accept it so that we can be reconnected with God and others. Once we accept this pardon we can have peace in God and the suffering we experience in the world can be viewed as an opportunity to grow (Romans 5:3-5.)
We must never forgot that this is all possible only through the cross! Reconciliation only comes through the cross! It is important to proclaim the necessity of the cross! The cross is perfect as is. Don’t add to the cross and don’t subtract from it. The world might reassure us that we are not so bad, that we can find salvation through other means, but without the cross it is all for naught!
We must remember that when Jesus died on the cross He pardoned our sins so we may experience salvation, nothing else can provide that salvation. He also empowered us so we may have peace as we continue to reconcile others to Him. Even though we are surrounded by a broken world we can have confidence that God is on our side. With this knowledge we can move forward and begin to help others find salvation.
The act of reconciliation not only reconnects us with God but it also reconnects us with those whom sin has separated us from. We have the Good News and we should be eager to share this news and bring anyone who is lost back into God’s presence. We are able to share that we too were once enemies of God, but because we have been reconciled with God through Jesus we can stand firmly in our belief that we are holy and have found salvation in the cross (Colossians 1:21-23.)
Our goal in this process of reconciliation is to, “restore people to a full expression of humanness, to being what God created us all to be, people who glorify God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation” (When Helping Hurts, 74.) It’s a huge task, but once we have confidence in the knowledge that the cross has provided our salvation we merely have to share that Good News with those who have not been reconnected with God yet.
Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
When Helping Hurts, Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert