“All this from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” -2 Corinthians 5:18-20a
Reconciliation is an amazing concept! At its root it is an act of restoration. It is also relational. The process of reconciliation brings peace and harmony where it was lacking before. The verse quoted above is the proclamation of God’s activity to reconcile sinful man to a holy God by the work of Jesus Christ. A work that He then entrusted to us to continue.
I love the image provided here of Christians as ambassadors. Ambassadors are first of all representatives of a foreign country. We are ambassador’s for the kingdom of God. And we, like many ambassadors, are tasked with brokering a peace. We offer peace with God on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice, so that others will have a restored relationship with the God of the universe. It is rather simple, but incredibly important.
We believe that in order for their to be healing and a lasting peace, then men must first be reconciled to God. This is therefore a very important part of our ministry philosophy. God chose to reconcile men to himself through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. He brought Shalom. Do you remember me mentioning that word last week? It carries with it a far deeper concept of peace than simply getting along. It is a picture of wholeness and fulfillment. I believe that man cannot experience a true sense of fulfillment outside of relationship with God. God created man to have fellowship with him, but that relationship was broken. So God set in motion a plan that would restore it and reconcile man to God. Reconciled, we are restored to the relationship God intended for man before sin entered the world. This return to God’s original creative intent is in line with our very being. Knowing this, we will proclaim and live out this gospel in the things we do.
Why is this so important?
Because it makes way for the second task, to reconcile people to people.
Had there only been the first commandment, we might feel that being reconciled to God is enough. We might even believe that the work is done. However, Christ’s intentional inclusion of the second most important commandment, to love others, shows the importance of all men and His great love for them. Love we are to share. So, it stands to reason that people who love God will cultivate a love for others. Even if it feels unnatural for some of us, it is a command to us. So men reconciled to God will be reconciled to one another. So we, in keeping with Christ’s example, will seek to bring healing and shalom to the people we come in contact with. Both the reconcile them to God, but also to reconcile them to one another. The presence of the people of God should be a healing salve on the wounds of humanity!