March 29, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 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 people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
We live in a world that is deeply divided in many different ways. There are divisions among nations, political parties, racial-ethnic groups, religions, regions, and classes. Divisions often split apart friends, families, and churches. Technology, once believed to bring greater unity to the world, often ends up dividing us even further, fueling ignorance and hatred of those who are different from us.
We live in a world that is deeply in need of reconciliation. Now, to be clear, biblical reconciliation isn’t simply a matter saying that everything is okay. True reconciliation has to deal with the cause of division. It requires justice as an essential element of peace.
We see this in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. In this passage, God “reconciled us to himself through Christ” (5:18). He did this by “not counting people’s sins against them” (5:19). Yet God did not simply say, “Okay. No big deal. I won’t count your sins against you.” Rather, God took our sins upon himself in Christ. God paid the penalty for our sins. God did what justice required and love inspired.
Through Christ, we are reconciled to God. Yet we are not just receivers of reconciliation. Once reconciled to God, we become ambassadors of God, agents of reconciliation. We appeal to others so that they might be reconciled to God through Christ.
In our day of so much division, this appeal will only be heard if we are not just proclaimers of reconciliation but also paradigms of reconciliation. As we break down walls that divide people from people, as we forgive those who have wronged us, as we seek God’s justice for all people, as we extend the love of Christ to others, loving not only those who are different from us but even our enemies, people’s hearts will be opened to hear the good news of what God has done in Christ. We will say, “Be reconciled to God, and this is what reconciliation looks like. Come and see!”
Something to Think About:
Have you been reconciled to God through Christ? How did this first happen?
In what ways are you an agent of reconciliation in this world?
Are there places in your life greatly in need of God’s reconciliation?
Something to Do:
Take time in prayer to think about how you can be an agent of reconciliation today. If you’re in a small group, talk about this with your group members. Discover how you can live out your calling to be an agent of God’s reconciliation in your part of the world.
Gracious God, what good news this is! Thank you for reconciling us to yourself through Christ. Thank you for taking our sin upon yourself and offering us forgiveness in return. Thank you for taking our death so that we might experience your life.
Help us, Lord, to be agents of reconciliation in our different spheres of influence. Whether at work, at home, in our neighborhoods, in our cities, or in our churches, may we be people who bring healing and wholeness, who seek justice and live out your peace. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Reconciling the Whole World (2 Corinthians 5:16–21)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.