The Joy of Reconciliation
The Word of reconciliation is the Christian’s ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18–19). Only those who have already been reconciled to God will appeal to sinners with this Gospel presentation — Good News, heralded as truth made known to all men, everywhere (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15).
God is calling to all people to do the right thing — be saved from this perverse generation (Acts 17:30). The preacher is an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), who is making known the decree of the King of kings. It is “repent or die” for all people. Repentance to God is required by Law, but sinful men are unwilling and unable to obey the call to obedience.
If the preacher only explicates the requirement of the Law, and the imperative for compliance, then he is a brutal man, even a savage wolf. The preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a half-truth teller. He expounds on the whole purpose of God (Law and Gospel).
Men without God are helpless and without hope in the world (Rom 5:6; Eph 2:12). They are haters of God (Rom 1:30), and doers of iniquity (Ps 5:5; 11:5). This positions them at enmity with God from conception (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:10). Each soul, taking on flesh in the womb, is a son of Adam, the rebel (Rom 5:12).
Adam was in right relationship with God at Eden. He was at peace with God and had the blessing of God. Using his will, the first man, chose to disobey the prescriptive Law given to him by his Maker. Death was the result (Rom 6:23).
The consequence to Adam’s transgression of the given Law impacted all of his offspring, who were in him (Rom 5:12–21; 1 Cor 15:22). All people conceived, soul and body, are spiritually stillborn on their birthday. Dead in Adam’s original sin, and dead to God, the nature of man is sin (Eph 2:1–3).
The sinful inclination of his human faculties (mind, heart, will) is only evil, continually (Gen 6:5). Thus, man is an evil doer (Jn 3:19). For this reason, he is unjust before God (1 Jn 3:18). He has no right to be in the position of blessing. Man is ungodly; and without reconciliation, he is cursed.
It is appointed for men to die in the flesh (Heb 9:27), and being guilty in both body and soul, all must appear before the throne of God for their day of judgment (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11). Guilty sinners must be punished for eternity because their sins are against the infinite majesty of the Eternal God (Mt 25:46; Jude 7).
Deceived by the sin that reigns in their hearts, men have no fear of God (Ps 36:1; 55:19). Lacking this wisdom, they dismiss or dilute the terror of their righteous Judge (Gen 18:25), who alone decides to inflict His wrath or to apply His mercy (Rom 9:15–16; 22–23).
The ambassador for Christ, with his Word of reconciliation to preach, has beautiful feet (Rom 10:15). He is sent by God, in the Spirit, to his hearers (Rom 10:17). It is a grace of God to be appointed an elder/preacher (Acts 20:38), to do this work of an evangelist (2 Tim 4:5). It is also a grace of God to sit under the man of God, appointed to be your teacher. He is a steward of great riches. He is entrusted with a preaching ministry that exults in God and proclaims the excellencies of Christ, the Lord (1 Pet 2:9).
The effect of this ministry of reconciliation is what makes it so profound. The Word of God, preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, gives some men faith (Rom 10:17; Eph 2:8–9), as a gift unto salvation (Phil 1:29). God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:19), and Christ is in the Christian preaching event, making that reality, effectual.
The meritorious works of Christ’s substitutionary atonement, on the cross, on behalf of God’s elect people (Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 2:24), are applied to them by the Spirit, who comes to them in the Word preached. The Spirit opens the ears of the spiritually deaf (Acts 16:14), and they suddenly can hear the voice of Christ calling them into the sheepfold of His church (Jn 10:3–4; Rom 8:30; 1 Cor 12:13), which He purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23).
In this, the preacher, constrained by the love of Christ’s Spirit in him (2 Cor 5:5, 14), goes to a people that may or may not listen to him (1 Cor 14:21). The ministry of reconciliation, in the footsteps of Jesus, along with the prophets and apostles, is one of suffering for the sake of the elect (Acts 9:16; Phil 1:29; 2 Tim 2:10).
Preachers do not preach to the elect, exclusively (hyper-Calvinism). God sends the man of God. The preacher goes to all apportioned to him (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15). The message is preached. The people hear. The Spirit attends…or He does not attend, according to God’s free will and sovereign choice (Rom 11:5). Not all men have faith (2 Thess 3:2), and this is the reason. It is grace to believe (Eph 2:8–9); while it is a hardening to hear and continue in unbelief (e. g. Pharaoh).
If the people will not hear the man of God, as with Isaiah and Jeremiah, then he shakes off the dust from his beautiful feet, in moving on to another of God’s stations that will hear him, as the messenger sent by God, with his Word of reconciliation. The man of God proves he is a faithful servant, when he is rejected and while he patiently waits for his next assignment. This is the testing of his faith and calling to the ministry of reconciliation.
“Be ye reconciled to God,” begs the ambassador, knowing that salvation is all of God (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). As the sin of pride subsides in the reign of grace, the man of God becomes indifferent to the scope of his plot in the harvest. His ambition is to please his Master (2 Cor 5:9), who prepared the good works of His saints, beforehand (Eph 2:10), in His eternal will and predetermined plan (Acts 2:23). God makes the man of God faithful in His service, as a fruit of His Spirit (Gal 5:22), who is willing and working all of God’s good pleasure (Phil 2:13).
The reconciliation of God bestowed upon the chosen, redeemed is cause for humility, eternal thanksgiving, and fullness of joy. These are His witnesses to the wisdom and power of God (1 Cor 1:24), in reconciling men and women from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9; 7:9). Together with them, we enter the joy of the Lord, who has made us both profitable and glad.
Spokane Valley, Washington
May 19, 2022