By David S. Dockery
Interim provost, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Perhaps in recent weeks you have been given the opportunity to sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” one of Charles Wesley’s great Christmas carols. The angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King: peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.”
Nowhere is the theme of reconciliation better pictured than in II Corinthians 5:11-21, which has been called one of the apostle Paul’s charters of Christian ministry.
Paul explains that this new reconciled relationship believers enjoy because of their union with Christ (v. 17) is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ. And now He has given us the ministry of reconciliation (v. 18), reminding us that the Lord has committed to us the message of reconciliation (v. 19). Reconciliation involves the restoration of peace in the midst of estrangement as seen in Romans 5:6-11, the exchange of hostility for a friendly relationship.
Behind Paul’s words in Romans 5 and II Corinthians 5 stands the reality of the world’s fallenness, characterized by sin, selfishness, enmity and death. [Read more…]