In a world of alienation, a message of reconciliation is needed. How can friends repair relationships broken? How can homes divided be one? How can families at enmity find peace? How can churches find love? How can the world find hope?
We need peacemakers. We need restored friendships. We need reestablished relationships--within families, between spouses, between neighbors and friends, even down at the church house. But that is not our greatest need. The greatest need of our world is the need to find eternal peace, spiritual peace. Religion--to bind back. Redemption--to buy back. Reconciliation--to make friends again.
A definition says something, but doesn't say everything. What does reconciliation mean practically? Rom. 5:11--Peace, entre, joy, hope, glory, endurance. 5:9-11.
Our study today is reconciliation. What do you know about reconciliation? Do you practice it? Have you experienced it?
Familiar ground, study carefully. Avoid the tried and true. Message, ministry, ministers...
I. God is the Initiator/Originator of Reconciliation, v. 11-18
To speak of reconciliation implies that we are not friends with God, or that we were at one time not on friendly terms with God. Enmity existed.
God initiates reconciliation. This is the grace of God. This is his graciousness evidenced.
"All of this is of God."
II. Christ is the Instrument/Bridge of Reconciliation, v. 18-21
He is the means. Something had to be done to take care of man's sin problem.
Christ's love is a compelling love.
5:14 disconnects. It alters expectation. It startles unless we have read so often that we miss the point. It catches us off-guard. It disconnects to our ear, is dissonant. Because he died, we died. Not what we expected. The expectation is, because he died we live. If you know Scripture, he died so we can live. But Paul says: in his death, we have died. The meaning is that because of our death to self, the impulse for survival according to the previous rules is gone. The impulse for survival has given way to an impulse for fidelity. This is the bridge to God.
Human considerations are gone, v. 16. Perhaps this is also referencing a Jewish expectation. All who are in Christ have died and found newness. We are now able to live in a way that transcends self interest in favor of God's purpose in our world.
2 Cor. 5:21 is the gospel in miniature.
III. Righteousness is the Result of Reconciliation, v. 21
Sin in handled, righteousness is declared.
Do not receive this grace in vain.
Christians are living mirrors of the reconciliation process. Our lives reflect reconciliation. As recipients of reconciliation, we have become ministers of reconciliation. As ministers of reconciliation, we have become messengers and ambassadors of reconciliation.
The undergirdings of a biblical framework for seeking the lost come directly from the truths of this chapter.
The only thing that can draw you back into the living water of life is the death of Jesus on the cross. That is our only hope. There is no other. Christ is the hope of the world. Reconciliation is the only alternative.
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