Reconciliation is a common word and practice in our day, as it was in the New Testament period. Reconciliation is the restoration of a relationship after a split or breach. For the Christian, reconciliation refers to the fact that God has undertaken certain steps to restore our relationship with him and bring us back into his favor.
What is the context or setting in which the word reconciliation is used? Relationships. Reconciliation is a personal term. It involves two or more parties (God & humanity). It is a step undertaken to restore broken fellowship.
When your relationship is broken with another person there is alienation. You are isolated from another person because of some kind of fracture in your relationship. It may be something you have done, or something the other person has done that led to this broken relationship.
What is the cause of our alienation from God? Hostility and sin. “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled…” (Col. 1:21–22). God is hostile toward our evil deeds, just as we are hostile to him and his demands for holiness (Hab. 3:8-13). God is too pure to look on evil and wrong (Hab. 1:13).
Another key passage to read on reconciliation is Romans 5:6-11. In our natural state, without Christ, we are weak, we are sinners, and we are enemies to God. How can that hostility and opposition be overcome? How is it overcome in any relationship? Through dealing with the root cause of the problem. This leads us to four essential points that we can make concerning reconciliation.
God is the Author of reconciliation. Only God can remove the sin barrier that has broken our relationship with him. As humans with a sin nature, we don’t have the ability or the desire (without Christ) to be reconciled to God. “All this is from God…” (2 Cor. 5:18). God is the one who reconciles us to himself (2 Cor. 5:19), even though he was never in the wrong in our broken relationship with him. What amazing grace!
Christ is the Agent of reconciliation. God brings about the act of reconciliation through Jesus. He is the mediator between God and man, because he is both God and man. Jesus is the one who deals with our sin and the enmity that exists between God and us by breaking down the dividing wall of hostility between us (Eph. 2:14). He brings peace in our relationship with God, when we trust in his death for us. He gives us a restored relationship and the presence of God with us.
Christians are the Recipients of reconciliation. God did this through Jesus for our sake (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus became our substitute to repair our broken relationship with God. Jesus has not reconciled the whole world to himself. He only reconciles those who are in Christ. If every person alive were reconciled to God, then Paul would not implore people to be reconciled (2 Cor. 5:20). Reconciliation must be received by faith in and through the shed blood of Jesus. You must repent to receive a restored relationship with God.
Christians are the Ambassadors of reconciliation. God uses Christians to tell others of his offer of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:20). If you have received his offer and your relationship with God is restored, then you are called to tell other people about the king’s offer of reconciliation. I encourage you to tell others of your restored relationship with God, so that they can experience that same joy as well.
Think today about any relationship that has been restored from brokenness. Consider the joy that you experienced. Meditate on the truth that, if you trust in Christ, you have even greater joy, because your relationship with God is safe and secure (see 2 Cor. 5:18-21). He will always take you back when you confess your sins to him (1 John 1:9).