Friday, June 4, 2010
Accompanying and Accentuating Reconciliation
Paul’s message of reconciliation in 2 Cor. 5:18-21 contains at least three other elements that accompany reconciliation. These are elements of God's peace process with us that was started in the Gospel.
1. Adoption [“reconciled the world to himself”] In adoption, God claims us! He sought us for himself and brought us to himself through the death of his son, Jesus. And when he did, he made all who believe his children (John 1:12). That’s adoption! Also, keep in mind that reconciliation is a relational word, so think "family." Think "friend." The heartbeat of adoption is that we are no longer under a judge's wrath, but instead a Father's care. Check out Gal 4:4-7 for further insight about adoption.
Of course, you may be wondering how we can be "born again" while at the same time be "adopted." Good question! The answer? That’ll be in the next post!
Additionally, here are some Web sites for those who want to model spiritual adoption by physically adopting: http://www.therainingseason.org/, http://www.hopechest.org/, http://www.showhope.org/, http://www.togetherforadoption.org/, http://empoweredtoconnect.org/, and http://www.4kidsofsfl.org/.
2. Forgiveness – [“not counting their trespasses against them”] In forgiveness, God pardons us! He puts our sins behind him and, because of the cross, considers us justified. We say with the Psalmist, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” The Stiles paraphrase reads like this – it feels good to be forgiven! See Col. 2:13-15 for more forgiveness principles.
3. Ambassadorship – [“entrusting to us the message of reconciliation”] In ambassadorship, God sends us (and speaks through us)! We are his representatives in a hostile territory. So we pray, like Paul, that “words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:19-20).
Did you know these three spiritual elements that accompany reconciliation also have corresponding physical actions that accentuate reconciliation? In other words, there are some things we can extend that indicate we have experienced reconciliation. Consider this: We extend adoption by rescuing children, we extend forgiveness by resolving conflict, and we extend ambassadorship by representing Christ. Indeed, living as someone adopted, forgiven, and sent by God is enough to enable us to love loudly and live boldly as a reconciled child of the Almighty.