By Sam Greer
Senior Pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga
Focal Passage: II Corinthians 5:16-21; 6:1-2
Think about your most recent conflict. Do you believe that conflict can be resolved or do you believe that the word “conflict” is inherently a bad word? Does conflict always hurt a relationship? Conflict can be resolved by attacking the problem and not the person, by not overreacting, by not letting problems fester and by clearly defining the issue that needs to be resolved. Resolving conflict is possible, but rarely enjoyable.
The greatest conflict in the universe is the conflict between mankind and God. Mankind has sinned against the Holy God. Mankind’s sin has seperated mankind from God. The good news is that Jesus came to resolve this greatest of conflicts and to reconcile men, women, boys and girls to God. As Dr. Chuck Herring has said, “Jesus specializes in conflict resolution!”
What does it look like to be reconciled to God? In II Corinthians 5:16-21; 6:1-2, Paul focused on three realities of reconciliation.
First, He who knew no sin has made sinners new! Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us so we could become new in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). The Creator God not only created creation, but in Christ He has made repentant sinners into a new creation. In Christ, the old has been replaced with the new.
We get to be reconciled to God through Christ, but then God gives us the ministry of reconciliation (v. 18). God’s reconciliation came to you because it was going to someone else. You might be thinking, “It is not my responsibility to share this message of reconciliation.” You are wrong. Paul reminds us that those who are reconciled to God must be reconcilers of God by sharing the message of reconciliation (v. 20). Who do you know that needs to be reconciled to God? Set up a lunch meeting or grab a cup of coffee with him or her this week and share this good message of reconciliation.
Second, those far from God are brought near to God! Reconciliation not only makes us new in Christ, but it brings us near to God. Sin takes us farther and farther away from God, while repentance and reconciliation bring us nearer and nearer to God. God desires that people draw near to Him. In verse 20, Paul implored his hearers to be reconciled to God through Christ.
Reconciliation brings newness to relationships, but it also breeds nearness in relationships. What realtionship in your life needs reconciliation? Who do you need to experience reconciliation with in your family? What relationship in your life needs some real newness and restored nearness? Schedule a time this week to talk with that person about reconciliation.
Third, now not later is the time to be reconciled! Paul empahsized the timing of reconciliation as now, not later. In II Corinthians 6:1-2, the Bible declares that “now” is the “favorable time” to be redeemed, reconciled and restored. The word “now” speaks of both urgency and opportunity.
We must live for the Lord with a sense of urgency. Jesus is coming soon, not later! Therefore, we must be urgent about sharing the good news of reconciliation today, not tomorrow.
We not only must be urgent about the minstry of reconcilation, but we get to take advantage of its opportunity. Ask God to give you both the urgency and opportunity to share the gospel of reconciliation. Talk to God about the people in your life who need reconciliation and talk to those people about God.
In Christ, you are now new so share the good news now!