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Ministry of Reconciliation
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them..." 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.
The Cross totally changed our relationship with God. Before we received the work of the Cross, we were enemies of God because of our thinking and because of our lifestyle (Romans 1:21-32; Colossians 1:21). But now the Blood of Christ has reconciled us to God. Through the death of Jesus, we now have full access into the presence of God (Ephesians.2:12-13, 18; Hebrews.4:16).
"For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" Romans 5:10-11.
If we are to minister reconciliation to others, we must first be reconciled to God ourselves. This is important because we can only reproduce in others what we have ourselves (Matthew.10:8).
Reconciliation with God is not just a theological concept. It is a daily experience. It is the reality of an intimate walk with God. If we are to be ministers of reconciliation, we must ourselves be walking close to the Lord. We must never let anything come between us and God.
"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" James 4:4 (see also Philippians 3:18-19; Ephesians 4:30-31).
A Christian can be reconciled to God through the Blood of Christ, yet not be walking in that reconciliation. At one time, Jesus spoke to a church and said:
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" Revelation 3:20.
He was not talking to unbelievers, but to believers! This church was comfortable in its lifestyle (Revelation.3:15-16). It was a church that believed it had everything and needed nothing (Revelation.3:17). These Christians continued in church activities as usual, but Jesus was standing on the outside! Because He loved them, He told them to repent - to open the door and fellowship with Him.
"Come near to God and he will come near to you..." James 4:8.
"...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith..." Hebrews 10:22 (see also James 4:8).
The Christian experience is one of daily drawing near to God because of the finished work of the Cross. God desires us to establish a daily intimacy with Himself. This closeness to God is the foundation of all ministry.
Mary of Bethany discovered the kind of intimacy that the Lord desires with us (read John 12:3). Many times Mary could be found at the feet of Jesus, enjoying His presence.
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!' 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her'" Luke 10:38-42.
As Christians, we can often be like Martha - "distracted by all the preparations" for ministry and "worried and upset about many things." Ministry is not just about doing for God. It is first of all about being with Him. As we spend time with the Lord, we draw strength and wisdom from His presence, and the anointing to become an ambassador of reconciliation.
"...And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God" 2 Corinthians 5:19-20.
Qualifications for Ministry
"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus" Acts 4:13.
We do not need a theological degree to be an ambassador for God. Nor do we require a special title or position. A close walk with God is the only qualification we need. People don't just listen to our words. They look at our life. If our life is displaying the fruit of reconciliation, then we can share that reconciliation.
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" John 15:4-5 (see verse 8,16; Matthew.3:8; 12:33; Ephesians.5:8-10).
Ministers of Reconciliation
"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again" 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.
Every Christian has been called by God to be a minister of reconciliation. In fact, the reconciliation of the Cross compels us to share what we have received with others. This reconciliation is outworked on two levels:
- Reconciliation to God (Colossians.1:21-22; Romans 5:10).
- Reconciliation with others (Ephesians.2:14-16,; Matthew.5:23-24).
These are the two key aspects of the Gospel. They are also the two foundations of the Christian life - our individual walk with the Lord and our fellowship with other believers. As ministers of reconciliation, this is what we introduce others to!
"We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ" 1 John 1:3 (see Philippians 2:1-2; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
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