March 31

 

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

 

“In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.”  Please note, God takes the initiative. Over the centuries, some strange, non-biblical interpretations of what Jesus did for us have been promulgated in the church. It has been suggested that Jesus died to appease an angry God, anger that had been provoked by human sinfulness. The Cross is rather God’s love reaching out to bridge the gap caused by human sinfulness. It’s a costly love. It’s a reconciling love. And it’s an all-embracing love. In Christ, God was reconciling the whole world to himself – all people of every race and religion, all creation in so far as it has been damaged by human sinfulness. Reconciliation implies that a healthy relationship of trust and unity has been broken. True, authentic life is life grounded in God, but people don’t live that way. They make gods for themselves. They try to be gods – to live as though they are the centre of existence. Self looms large. They even argue whether there is a God and fight each other in the name of God. We all know that there is something wrong with the world, and people have devised many different ways of trying to put it right, some religious, others not. But the good news is that, in and through Jesus Christ, God acted out of love to reconcile all people to himself. “If anyone is in Christ there is a new creation.”  There is a different way of living, a different way of relating to God, to one another, to ourselves and to creation. That’s why we call Jesus Saviour. He saves us from being captive to a distorted, confused and estranged world to live the life of what Paul called God’s new creation – that form of existence where we live in fellowship with God, work in partnership with God, and seek to reflect God’s ways of love in every area of life. Then, with Paul, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ’s reconciliation, God making his appeal through us.

 

  • Reconciliation means the restoration of a broken relationship. Give instances of reconciliation that you have experienced or that you have heard about?
  • For reconciliation to take place, someone has to take the initiative, but that is not easily done. What gets in the way?
  • It is by faith that we accept God’s offer of reconciliation. How is this then worked out in daily life?
  • God calls us to be agents of reconciliation. How can we do this?