The Message of Reconciliation
False teachers and apostles had infiltrated the church in Corinth, undermining Paul’s teachings and spiritual authority. A great schism resulted between Paul and the saints he loved so much. In II Corinthians, Paul explained the ministry of reconciliation to the saints in Corinth, with hopes of their ultimate reconciliation with God, and to encourage them to become ministers of reconciliation.
The Greatest Rift
The act of reconciliation presupposes a rift in a relationship. The responsibility for the rift between God and humanity clearly lies at the feet of Adam. Adam and Eve initially walked in perfect relationship with God. When they violated the conditions of their relationship by partaking of the forbidden fruit, separation and spiritual death ensued. That spiritual death has been passed down to every son of Adam.
Truth is not the Truth When it is Subjective Truth
For many today, God’s word seems to have changed from absolute truth to now just being God’s opinion. “Thus saith the Lord” no longer carries the weight it once did. Somewhere along the way, people started to think that truth, even biblical truth, is only what they personally determine as truth. This is called subjective truth. Subjective truth changes from circumstance to circumstance. The Ten Commandments have become the ten suggestions. Sin is redefined. Salvation is redefined. The means of sanctification is redefined. Of course, this is an expression of their truth and not God’s truth. Personal bias must yield to God’s truth if it is, in fact, truth.
God Initiated Reconciliation
In a fallen, sinful state, man could not approach a thrice-holy God. God, the offended party, initiated reconciliation through sending His only begotten Son to be the propitiation for sin. Through the sacrifice of Calvary, reconciliation was made available to the descendants of Adam. Reconciliation is the focal point of God’s dealing with mankind.
The Church Has Reconciled Through Calvary
Reconciliation is only available through the completed work of Calvary. There is no other way. It cannot be obtained through religious acts, financial gifts, or through good intentions. Every born-again member of the body of Christ has been reconciled through the blood that was shed at Calvary. This will never change.
Only New Creatures Can Be Used To Reconcile
For us to participate in the ministry of reconciliation, we must first become a new creature. That comes about when we accept the completed work of Calvary as our only source of salvation. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17). A butterfly does not start off with colorful wings and the ability to fly. Unless it sheds off the old and takes on the new, it cannot do what God ultimately destined it to do. So it is with us.
It Begins And Ends In Christ
The ministry of reconciliation begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only means by which we can be reconciled to God. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18). We are reconciled to God through the cross. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). Jesus became the sin sacrifice so that we could receive His righteousness. Only the righteousness that has its genesis in Christ is acceptable to God.
Reconciled To Reconcile
With reconciliation come the responsibilities of reconciling others through Jesus Christ. We’ve been reconciled in order to reconcile. We speak as ambassadors of Christ, offering official invitations to those from the kingdom of darkness to immigrate to the kingdom of light. This ministry of reconciliation is not just for ordained ministers. It is for all who have been reconciled.
Won’t You Join In The Ministry Of Reconciliation?
We all know family members, friends, and co-workers who are in need of being reconciled unto God. Would you allow Him to use you to reach this lost and dying world? Would you join in the ministry of reconciliation? Won’t you tell them of the price that has already been paid so that they can be reconciled unto God?