Hawaii 2010

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Implications of Reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 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.

I would like to know why no one ever preached a sermon I can recall on the doctrine of reconciliation when I was hearing hundreds of sermons growing up? Why was this passage never discussed in relation to how we do evangelism when I was in Seminary?
Why is the importance of this teaching neglected or overlooked by almost every theological construct except a few I have discovered recently? Am I reading too much into Paul's emphasis on how the finished work of Christ brings sinners into a real, not feigned relationship to God and to Christians, a reconciled relationship, before repenting?

True that the call to receive the finished truth and be saved is part of it, but I think this application of the cross really allows us to treat all human beings differently, with a degree on the respect for their humanity. An ambassador establishes a presence, stays in touch, works at bringing good will to those he or she is trying to influence. They do not offer help and just withdraw or condemn. All the foreign missionaries that inspired me told of the time it took to build trust and to care for their whole life, not just soul health.

This is a picture of Marion Lazan, one of her Jewish brothers, at the United Methodist Church. She survived a death camp when she was a little girl, and her story of hope and survival created a bond with all who shared that evening. I think something of that feeling is what Paul shared in this vision of reconciliation

Romans 11:14-16 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

I have been practicing this by loving everyone in Christ, not just because I hope they will take the bait. Christ did it, he loved sinners. Paul did it to his alienated countrymen, long term, with ultimate reconciliation as his sincere hope.

Any thoughts on this?


Anonymous said...

My new m.o. is "Live imperfectly with GREAT delight". I think by living with great delight on this earth (celebrating with one another, enjoying creation, participating in community) in Christ that we burn a mental image into others. An image of hope, a vision for reconciliation, even before the "sinner" believes. Don't confuse Delight with the sicky sweet Joy some Christians push. Think of it more as wonder or an embracing of humanity. It's in living this life that allows us to love others as Christ did.

I wonder if the reason we never heard reconciliation preached was because most people who think they want to influence the world for Christ try to live "perfectly", or create a definition of perfect (a standard to attain), rather than living their lives. The persona they create to be emmulated is not who they really are. This lack of personal/spirit testimony is the part that stands in the way of reconciliation.

It's difficult for the evangelical to believe that reconciliation can occur before repentance. I do believe that if a person who is moving toward God in repentance ("saved") can be freed to "Live imperfectly with great delight" if they can grasp the concept of reconciliation as you've described.


Don Hendricks said...

Michale, You have been processing this with real insight. Is that your phrase or one you found? "Living imperfectly with great delight" Thanks for the powerful insight.

Anonymous said...

Right on "Live imperfectly with GREAT delight". Good word. Keep up the good word.

Anonymous said...

Don, Like I said, Steve has made it his mission to find some type of plaque or something that says "God Loves You". So far, nothing of the sort seems to exist. While at a local trinket shop, I spotted this saying on a little hanging wooden plaque. I'll try to take a pic of it and post it. It's hanging above my desk. Glad you like it.


Anonymous said...

As far as your observation "You have been processing this with real insight".....

Thanks Yoda,