2nd Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
This passage of scripture delineates in precis form, the work and purposes of the great plan of salvation. All that God does, and all that He is currently doing for us in the heavenly sanctuary is geared towards reconciling the world back to Himself. This work is not nearly appreciated or understood as it ought to be, and as a result we often harbor views of God that are not consistent with His character. For instance, some people view God as being only merciful, but not just, while others view Him as desiring to punish the sinner and being devoid of kindness and mercy. As a result, the ministry of reconciliation is not valued as it should be, and in many cases becomes stalled because of wrong concepts and unrealistic expectations.
A right balance must of necessity be struck so that our understanding of God's work of grace in our hearts, will rest upon solid scriptural foundations. The correct balance was given to Moses after he desired a greater and more meaningful understanding of God as it pertains to His Character and the work of salvation. Let's read:
Exodus 34:6 "And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty" ....
This balanced approach was made manifest in God's dealing with Abraham. God had called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees to a place that was to be shown unto him, and during his consequent travels and various experiences, God's grace and mercy was consistently displayed in his behalf. However, God's ministry of reconciliation does not cause Him to overlook sin nor to treat it lightly, as is often portrayed in our day, for after Abraham had diverged from the path of righteousness in his sin with Hagar, the same God appeared unto Him with a message that resonated with Abraham's conscience. Let's read:
Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
Very great care must therefore be exercised in the administration of the ministry of reconciliation, lest unscriptural views and sentiments take root in our minds. In our day there is a tendency to depict God as being only merciful, but not just. This view has led millions of people to lightly regard His instructions to us to refrain from sinning through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, and as a direct result, His law is being trampled upon by many, with absolutely no compunctions of conscience.
God is still merciful and kind, but He would also have us understand that if we deliberately continue in sin, His justice will one day be engaged as the final and only remedy. It's therefore necessary that as the gospel of His grace is promulgated, that a balanced view of reconciliation be also advocated, so that our hopes and dreams will rest securely upon that which is written in His word. We therefore end with a passage of scripture that reminds us of the results of God's work of grace in our behalf, but also exhorts us to follow the principles of righteousness as outlined in the Bible. Let's read:
1st John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
May God grant to us His grace so that a correct understanding of the ministry of reconciliation would translate into practical godliness on a daily basis. God Bless!