Last night, while here in Ecuador to teach pastors and church leaders on the doctrine of the church, I was asked to preach for a church plant in Tambo. I have been praying, reading, and working through a specific text for the 2019 G3 Conference found in 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2 on the subject of reconciliation. The last time I spoke to this church only a few people were present, but that was not the case last night. The room filled up quickly and it was a joy to see how God is growing this congregation.
As I preached, I pointed to the miracle of reconciliation in verse 17. Paul references a “new creation” and makes it clear that the work of God reconciling us to himself is a miraculous work—a new creation. Therefore, it’s essential to see that Paul is making the point that sin has broken our relationship with God and we stand in need of reconciliation, but it’s not something we can do on our own. Far too often we hear people talk about salvation as if it’s simply a choice, a prayer, or a decision that an individual makes when in reality God is doing this work of reconciliation that brings about the prayer, decision, and subsequent faith.
Paul goes on beyond that to point out the fact that all such people who have been reconciled to God—namely the church of Jesus Christ—they have been given the ministry of reconciliation. It’s not the pastors who are sent out to do this work of reconciling sinners to our sovereign God—it’s the mission and objective of the entire church. I challenged the church last night to see this truth from Paul’s words to the church at Corinth. We would do well to see it ourselves and to strive to bring people in our families and in our circles of friendships into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are ambassadors for God who are sent out to make an appeal—urging people to be reconciled to God.
Finally, the church has been entrusted with the message of reconciliation. A ministry without a message is an unworthy cause. The church has a ministry and the ministry is centered on the message of the gospel—the good news. It is detailed in 2 Corinthians 5:21 as Paul writes, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God has made Christ to be sin who knew no sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. In order for us to be reconciled to God, there is a great exchange that occurs. Our sin is placed on Christ and he is crushed on the cross (Is. 53:10). In exchange, we receive the righteousness of God in Christ. God judges his Son in our place as our substitute.
As we go about our daily lives, we must strive to engage in conversations that would urge people to see their need for a restored relationship with God that can only be possible through Jesus Christ. Salvation is a miracle, and God still performs miracles on a daily basis. Pray and strive for the joy of people in your context—that they would be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Today is the day of salvation.