There is a unique opportunity for the church in these divided and challenging times. We are in an ever-increasing multiethnic, multicultural, metropolitan mission field within the United States. At the same time, this mission field is deeply divided by race, class and politics. In the midst of this reality, the church, like never before, must commit itself to the kingdom-advancing work of reconciliation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:17-20, NKJV).
Reconciliation ministry is significant in equipping the body of Christ to participate in the Great Commission. Reconciliation is the finished work in Christ and ongoing work of the redeemed of connecting lost people to God and divided people to each other.
The problem that evangelicals and charismatics must acknowledge is that, in our zeal to be connectors to God through Christ, we have many times neglected the reconciling work of connecting divided people to one another in righteous relationship. Out of the overflow of what God has done and is doing in us through the Holy Spirit, we ought to be participating in cross-cultural and racially reconciling community-building. This work, when centered in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, provides a sneak preview of heaven in this earthly realm.
This reconciling work was described by Paul in 2 Corinthians as our ministry and message. Earlier in the text, Paul wrote of being controlled by God’s love (v. 14).
Reconciling ministry comes out of the overflow of our intimate relationship with God. Out of the overflow of intimacy with God, identity in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to be radical reconcilers in a broken and sinful world. There is no need to separate the kingdom work of evangelism and discipleship from the kingdom work of reconciliation, justice and empowerment.
The church has a great and transformative opportunity before it. Will we see and embrace the deep connection between discovering what it means to be righteous and holy through our loving and surrendered relationship with God? Will we also discover what it means to be God’s vehicles of justice and reconciliation? I hope the answer is yes. This mission field in the United States, which is both the land of the free and the land of the divided, cries out for the reconcilers of God to rise up.
- How might God use you and your congregation to serve as reconcilers and kingdom-transformers in your surrounding community?
- Ask God to make clearer to you the issues within your congregation and in your surrounding community where reconciliation needs to take place.
- How might the issue of biblical reconciliation need to show up in your preaching and teaching in the next few months?
Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.