Monday, April 23, 2012

Going Deeper for the week of April 22

Reconciliation is the reason God sent Jesus, and therefore I believe "the ministry of reconciliation" ought to be the church's #1 priority!  Why?

(Read Ephesians 2:1-22)

In these verses we see God reconciling us to Himself in Jesus ("it is by grace you have been saved" - see verses 1-10) and we see that when God reconciled us to Himself He also reconciled us to one another.

(Read verses 11-13)

"Remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' ... remember at that time you were separate from Christ ... without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you have been brought near through the blood of Christ."  

This means that in Christ you and I (as true believers) have been brought near to God and included in the people of God as heirs of His covenant promises made to Abraham and Israel.  Therefore, if we are included in the people of God, then in Christ there is no more divisions (racial, ethnic, tribal, etc.).  Instead there is now one new people with peace coming from the "one new man"!  (see verses 14-16)

When God reconciled us to Himself He did so in Jesus, so that Jesus brought together all of humanity as our representative to God, and in bringing together all of humanity in "one new man" He reconciled us to God together.  Thus making peace and putting "to death their hostility".

This is truly amazing!  However, Paul is not done.

(Read verses 17-22)

Notice how Paul builds his case.  He starts by showing us that in Christ we have peace (even having "access to the Father by one Spirit").  He then shows us that we are now fellow citizens with God's people - because in Christ we are recipients of all God's promises given through apostles and prophets which all build on Jesus Christ Himself!  Finally, Paul shows us that we (the people of God) are now the building (the temple) in which God lives by His Spirit!

Absolutely amazing!  We are God's house, so wherever we go God goes with us!  This offers both comfort (we are never alone) as well as responsibility (we are His agents in this world).

This is why I believe "reconciliation" and "the ministry of reconciliation" ought to be the church's #1 priority.  We have been reconciled with God in Christ and now we are called to extend that same reconciliation to others.  

At least that is my take.  What do you think ought to be the church's #1 priority?  Why?  Let's discuss!

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