Fruit of Reconciliation...More Reconciliation
"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all...so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation...We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God..."
2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Also, "...Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves...Share with God's people who are in need. Practise hospitality....Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but associate with those of lowly position...Be careful to do right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, live at peace with everyone...
Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established...let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law...Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgement on disputable matters...let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification...We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.....Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God......"
Extracts from Romans 12:9-15:7
The whole gospel of THE RISEN Jesus Christ is about the necessity and the reality of reconciliation between the holy God and His unholy world. But does that mean that once we have been made friends with God, we can remain as enemies with those with whom we have conflict or whom we do not like, or that we may ignore those for whom we have no inclination, even when they need us? Yet, as Paul lamented in Romans 7:7-25, as long as we are in this body of clay, we will still have to struggle to be reconciled with ourselves and with others.
But we do not need to stay in doubt of Jesus’ ability to grant us the full or abundant life He promised God’s children…as we wait for our resurrection in Him. As fellow strugglers, we want to encourage one another to be more reconciled with God’s will for us on this planet so that His light will shine through us in the darkness of our world. Yes, we will fail again and again, but we will help one another get up once more so that we become more united in our own spirit, soul and body; become more one in Christ. Then, together with the environment He has created, we prepare for His coming again with loving obedience through the toils and snares of this age.
Yet, we often forget that Jesus is alive to continue to walk with us as we work out how we are to live His life on earth. In the midst of our busyness, we forget that He is with us all the time. Hence, we think, speak and behave as if He is irrelevant, ignorant or incapable of being our leader. As an after thought, we utter our prayers at meals and at bedtimes routinely while trying hard not to feel guilty for forgetting to squeeze a few minutes of "Quiet Time" into our daily schedules.
At other times, we brush away the possibility of His presence for fear that He may interfere with our ambitions. Beneath the outward expressions of faith in Him, we secretly sigh, "Well, He can wait a while longer for me if He really loves me. Am I not trying my best to fend for family and church? He can’t blame me for having no time for Him or His ambition for me!"
On many other occasions, though we want to come closer to Him to trust Him more, we withdraw out of fear that He may "betray" us again. That was exactly how His dear disciples felt when He met them just after His resurrection. Wasn’t it Luke, the physician, who sensitively picked out their emotional unheaval when he noted…
"And while they still did not believe it [that Jesus had really risen from the dead as He said He would] because of joy and amazement, He asked them…." Luke 24:41. It was not easy for them to change their emotions and minds overnight. Hadn’t they just felt betrayed by their Hero Jesus who let His enemies arrest, abuse and crucify Him without putting up any defence? Yes, trust betrayed needed time to undo the fear of trusting again. On this side of the cross, we have become benefactors of that trust rebuilt as the reality of the risen Lord Jesus dawned on them.
Do you really believe that Jesus has risen from the dead and reconciled you with God as you have prayed to receive His forgiveness for your sins?
If you believe so, how has this abiding presence affected the reconciliation in your private, family and social life?
If you do not believe, why? Talk to Him about your doubts; you may be surprised by joy!