Word of the Week: Reconciliation

When Elizabeth Barrett married the famous British poet and playwright Robert Browning in 1846 her wealthy parents who disapproved of her marriage were so upset they disowned and disinherited her.

The couple settled far from their homes in Florence, Italy. Elizabeth loved her mother and father and desperately desired to be reconciled with them. For 10 years she wrote eloquent, expressive and loving letters several times a month to her parents with no response. However, one day she received a package from them.

Elizabeth was excited. It was a joyous moment until she opened the package. Inside she discovered all the letters she had sent. Unopened.

The letters have been called “some of the most beautiful and expressive in all English literature.” Sadly, neither her mother or father ever read them.

In a similar fashion, God has sent to the human race His love letters, we call the Bible, so that sinful men and women could be reconciled to Him.

The word of the week, as requested by one of our readers, is reconciliation.

THE MEANING

W. E Vine tells us that reconciliation literally means “to change thoroughly,” or to “change from one condition.” It is used to describe the bringing together of two parties who are estranged from one another.

Warren Wiersbe describes it this way. “A distraught husband wants to be reconciled to his wife who has left him; a worried mother longs to be reconciled to a wayward daughter, and the lost sinner needs to be reconciled to God.”

THE MEANS

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that sin ruptures our relationship with God. Sin separates man from God (59:1-2). Sin severs our fellowship from Divine association. Sin alienates us from God and actually makes us His enemies.

But there is Good News.

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled…” (Col. 1:21).

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Rom 5:10)

While it’s not politically correct to say it, Jesus Christ is the only answer to man’s sin problem (Ax 4:12). He alone, through his death on the cross, provides the means through which our fellowship to God may be repaired, restored, and reconciled.

THE MESSAGE

Reconciliation is the Gospel message. It’s about Christ. The cross. Our change. And our conversion.

While “the message of the cross” seems foolish to an unbelieving world, the Bible tells us it is “the power of God” to save us from sin (1 Cor. 1:18).

The message simply says God loves you. Christ died for you. Return home. Obey the gospel. And your sins will be forgiven.

Also, the Bible never speaks of God being reconciled to man. It’s mankind that needs to be reconciled to God. Nor does God automatically reconcile us. We must accept and receive his offer of reconciliation.

THE MINISTRY

Our ministry, as well as the ministry of all true Christian ministers, is not about political reform, social remedies, or economic recovery. It’s about spiritual reconciliation. The inspired apostle revealed it this way:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 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. (2Cor 5:17-19).

As a serendipity, when humanity is reconciled to God life will be better. Relationships happier. Intentions nobler. Environment sweeter. Society kinder. And our eternal aspirations will be higher.

“Be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Word of the Week: Reconciliation

  1. God is reconciled to him/herself and all Creation with the Cross. Reconciliation is about bringing the opposing sides together in peace. The parents of Elizabeth expected her daughter to obey them and live out their will for her. Elizabeth wanted to follow her heart. Yet she wanted to have her parents blessing. And they would not budge. They would not even consider her choice…her beloved marital partner. They rejected him…believing him the wrong choice for her.

    I can see why people cannot see the Cross as Mary’s choice…her bridegroom. She chose him…people stumble over him because he is Simon…and he denied her.. Yet Jesus Barabbas aka Jesus the Rabboni helped clear her eyes and his. In the end…all three Jesus reconcile themselves …and their followers. Their love for God and their neighbour as themselves infuses their relationship and embodies God’s Eternal Love in Creation. This is Good News…and in the fullness of time…this happened just as God planned and the prophets predicted. Can’t people see…It’s happening again…just as predicted.

    Thank you Ken for pointing out Elizabeth’s story. It was just the story I needed to put things into perspective for your readers.

  2. Larry Hafley

    Ken, thanks for an absolutely great article!  Yesterday, I spoke on the same general topic.In one segment, I spoke of the exended meaning of, “newness of life.”  A baby is born, yet, in a sense, in the womb, we know it had life before.After it is born, it has “newness” of life; it is a “new creation,” a new creature.  Old things, in that sense, are passed away.  All things have become new. That’s what occurs when we have been “reconciled” to God.The body of sin has died; it has been destroyed.  As such, we are new, living creatures (Rom. 5:9-11; 6:3-6, 16-18). That is what you have made clear in speaking of reconciliation. 

  3. Philip North

    How often it has occurred that one’s “in-laws” become one’s “outlaws!” However, for the record, that’s not the case with me, I’m happy to say! Good reading, Brother Ken!

  4. Pingback: Weekly Recap: 2/9-2/14 | ThePreachersWord

  5. Pingback: Baptism and the Blood of Jesus | ThePreachersWord

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