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November 5, 2007

Reconciled to God - Part 1

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, NKJV.

What would be the need for a person to be reconciled to God? To be reconciled means to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent, according to the definition from Dictionary.com. Would this imply that there is an existing disagreement, something incompatible or inconsistent between each person and their relationship with God? Why should I or anyone else have to tell others their need to be reconciled to God also?

Where many people diligently ensure their financial statements are reconciled properly, they completely ignore the need to be reconciled with God. As the debt of sin goes unreconciled and death arrives, often unannounced, it will then be too late to “get right with God.”

Too often in life, one family member holds onto a grudge against another and when it is too late and death has come, the opportunity to reconcile any differences is forever gone and regret is the weight that will be burdened for the rest of their life.

The Need to be Reconciled with God
Apart from Christ, each person is an enemy to God because of sin. Sin has separated humanity from God since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The Bible clearly expresses those offenses such as: sex outside of the bonds of marriage (fornication), idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, theft, covetousness (a strong desire for the possession of worldly things), drunkards, revilers (those who speak abusively), or extortionists, none of these types of people will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9:10).

“The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8).
No one can escape the judgment of sin by God. We have all sinned and the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23, 6:23) When we explore the Greek meaning of the word reconciled, it is translated to katallaso (pronounced: kat-al-las’-so), which means to change mutually, that is, (figuratively) to compound a difference: - reconcile. Compound means to settle, increase or add to something to another.

When God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, he was essentially making the cross superior to anything that could satisfy Him for sinning against Him. Paul’s letter to the church in Colosse expressed that it is Jesus Christ “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14).

As he continued to preach the Gospel, he told those in the church of Ephesus that through God’s sacrifice of His Son, “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). God, who was manifested in the form of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-8, Romans 8:3), compounded the difference between the debt of a person’s sin by punishing His only begotten Son on a cross and this was and is the only way to satisfy such a debt to Him.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). There is no other way of satisfying the debt.

“For He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus Christ.]” (2 Corinthians 5:21, emphasis mine).

One day, each person is going to stand before God and the judgment seat of Christ, to receive what is deserved for the good or bad things that have been done prior to death (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Too many people have a false sense of eternal security. One preacher explained to people exactly that and his name was Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). This portion of his sermon was preached in Enfield, Connecticut in 1741 titled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It is so worth the time to read.

“All wicked men's pains and instruments which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ, and so remain wicked men, does not secure them from hell for one moment. Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one determines in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that his strategies will not fail. They surely hear that only a few are saved, and that the greater part of men that have died have gone into hell; but each one imagines that he has a better plan for his own escape than others have come up with. He does not intend to come to that place of torment; he says within himself, that he intends to take sufficient care, and to arrange the concerns of his life so that he will not fail.

But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in the confidence of their own strength and wisdom; they trust in nothing but a shadow. The greater part of those who have lived under the same patient grace of God, and are now dead, and have undoubtedly gone into hell; and it was not because they were not as wise as those who are now alive; it was not because they did not determine for themselves how to secure their own escape. If we could speak with them, and inquire of them, one by one, whether they expected, when alive, when they used to hear about hell, ever to be the subjects of that misery, we, doubtless, should hear one and another reply, "No, I never intended to come here: I had determined otherwise in my mind; I thought I had a good plan for myself: I thought my strategy was good. I intended to take sufficient care; but it came upon me unexpectedly: I didn't expect it at that time, and in that way; it came as a thief: Death outwitted me: God's wrath was too quick for me. O my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do after the life on earth; and when I was saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction came upon me."

Will that day be an open and shut case for the guilty and unrepentant sinner, with no ability to plea bargain with God?

For many who have ignored the Gospel, or rejected God’s love demonstrated through Christ (Romans 5:8), He will ignore them and it will not be God’s love that will be seen but the physical experience of the just punishment of His wrath for rejecting Him. No one should consider His efforts foolish to save a person from hell pointless because He does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 9:27).


Please click here to continue to Part 2 of this message.

References
Reconcile. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved November 03, 2007, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reconcile

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Unopened Letters. Daily Walk, May 30, 1992. Retrieved on November 3, 2007 from http://net.bible.org/illustration.php?topic=1233

Additional reading
Graham, W. F. (1949). The Road to hell and the way to salvation. Retrieved on November 3, 2007 from http://www.billygraham.org/DMag_SpiritualHelp_Article.asp?ArticleID=489

Edwards, J. (1741). Sinners in the hands of an angry God. Retrieved on November 3, 2007 from http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/JE-sinners.htm

4 comments:

GNN Orlando said...

Kurt, this is a very important issue that I think is under addressed by many. People focus so much on forgiveness -- and of course, their perception is that it is entirely God's responsibility to forgive them. But they forget they must be reconciled through repentance.

Similarly, when I sense that someone I am witnessing to is not repentant, I will get them on their rote response, "Jesus is my Lord and Savior". They may understand salvation, and feel its a free ticket to sin, but the catch is, they do not have a concept of what it means to call Him LORD. If you are going to say He's your Lord and Savior, you need to show me some evidence that He's actually your Lord and you are now slave to Him, not slave to sin.

Great stuff!
Jen

Rob Hoffman said...

Awesome blog. Already forwarded it to someone.

Kristi said...

Hey Kurt-

What a great blog. Thanks for sharing.

Kristi

Anonymous said...

may I use this in my blog? Wonderful read. Frances