Bible Subjects: Reconciliation

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PURSUING this theme, we now dwell on the passage in 2 Cor. 5. Let us read from verse 17 to the end of the chapter. On page 27 we observed that God, by the death of Christ, had condemned for His people that in them which is the old man. God, by the cross of Christ, condemned sin in the flesh. The root, sin, which separates us from God, has been judged in the death of Christ. The believer is not an improved child of Adam, or one who is restored to the state of innocence prevailing before the fall, but he belongs to a new creation—he is in Christ; the old things are passed away—all things are become new. Christ has died; He is risen—He has left this earth, and has ascended to heaven; the believer by the power of God is in Christ where He now is.
While Christ was on earth God was in Him, reconciling the world unto Himself. In the Anointed One—in Him whom He had sent—God was doing the Reconciler's part to the children of men. He neither judged nor condemned, He blessed. His eye, filled with compassion, did not mark the iniquities of sinful men; He did not impute to them their trespasses or reckon their offenses against them, but proclaimed love and pardon. Such was God's wondrous way, in Christ, to our guilty race. But the end of this ministry of unutterable love and pity was that man rose up, spat in the very face of, and crucified, the Son of God!
Has man then shut himself up forever in his hopeless hatred to God? Is reconciliation now impossible? Shall God yet reconcile us to Himself? Will He leave us, as we deserve, to perish eternally? Wonder of wonders! God has wrought what none but He could do. Indeed all is of God. From the very cross of Christ the word of reconciliation is heard. It proclaims divine righteousness against man's sin; yet in Him, men made the righteousness of God! Christ, who knew no sin, God made to be sin for us. The sinless One—He who knew not in any kind of way what sin was—the holy One, God made to be what we are in ourselves by nature—sin. Thus has God by the cross of Christ condemned all that we are in ourselves. Our will, our enmity to God, all that we are as sinners, has been righteously condemned by our holy God in the death of Christ, Who died for us. And now from heaven, where He is—in Christ, who has passed out from the judgment of God due to His people, and who sits exalted in the glory of God—we are made the righteousness of God. In Christ risen from the dead, God brings in the new creation, and He puts us in the risen Christ. For us, Christ was made sin; in Him, we are made the righteousness of God. He that is in Christ is new creation.
The word of reconciliation is not that God was in Christ reconciling the world, for that ministry of the anointed One ended by man's refusal to be reconciled, and by man's deepest crime—the cross of Christ. No longer is the voice of Jesus heard on earth, as it was before His death, pleading with men, for men have slain Him.
God has now put the word of His friendship towards man, into human hearts and lips. He has commissioned men to go to their fellow men entreating them, Be reconciled to God! God has made the heart of man the receptacle for His priceless gospel. An gels are not His messengers to bear from Christ glorified in heaven the tidings of wondrous love to sinners. God has given the commission on behalf of Christ to men. Christ's interests and concerns shall occupy them; on Christ's behalf they shall plead with their fellow men. What dignity, what honor lies here!
We are ambassadors, says the apostle. This high title applies to the apostles, but the spirit thereof all believers may seek to apply to themselves. Ambassadors for the absent Christ, and absent from earth because cast out of it by men!
Now how shall this grand dignity be carried out suitably? The chief servants of kings do great things, and from the ambassadors of Christ we may rightly expect that which is in accordance with the greatness of the Master's spirit. Such as are sent from the courts of heaven, and from the glorified Christ of God, must perforce have heavenly greatness accompany them. We ponder over and are amazed at the way in which the ambassadorship is expressed, for divine love enwraps the heavenly message; in importunate pleadings for the enemies to God the gracious words are bound up. We pray—we entreat I Surely, so far as God's servants have risen to the thought of apostolic dignity, will they resemble the apostle-ambassadors in their prayers and entreaties to sinners—Be reconciled to God.
In this spirit, heavenly ways express heavenly truth from Christ in heaven, proclaiming and praying the reception of, the reconciliation. And as this paper is addressed chiefly to our younger Christian friends who are workers in the gospel, let us ask them, as we would ask ourselves, How far is there in us this ambassador spirit?