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Sabbath Mornings at Ballymacashon – 11th August 2013

11/08/2013

Reconciliation

Text: 2nd Corinthians 5:18-6:2

Paul has much more to say about the Gospel imperative, the impulse to go out and preach the gospel and win souls, but he does here what he often does – he breaks into praise, and in his praise he preaches a sermon, very similar to a Gospel message we might hear in faithful, Gospel preaching churches today. He talks about…

1. The Mediator of Reconciliation!
We need a mediator, and Paul tells us here that the mediator that we need is Jesus. Now, that raises some points for us to consider:

Why do we need a mediator? Because in our natural condition we are at enmity with God. Contrary to common opinion, we are not God’s friends, God’s people or God’s children. Cf Ephesians 2:3, On the other hand, God is HOLY, and no sin can dwell in his presence.

Can’t we make reconciliation on our own? There are very many people today who think that they can approach God themselves. We can have no active part in our own salvation? Salvation is ALL of the Lord!

The ONLY Mediator is Jesus. Note this in the text. This whole passage is about what God had accomplished for us in Christ.

No other mediator is involved. Paul begins his Gospel sermon by declaring: Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. Throughout this passage, God is active and we are passive. Even in his gospel ‘appeal’ Paul’s call to the Corinthians is for passive acceptance and submission, rather than for an action on our part. So, our call is BE RECONCILED.

So we need a mediator, we can’t act as mediator on our own, but God has appointed His Son, the Lord Jesus to be that mediator, and He alone does the work.

2. The Method of Reconciliation.
How does God bring about the act of reconciliation between Himself and an estranged sinner? In Paul’s Gospel Message, V21, there are two actions that God applies and an amazing transaction…

* Christ is MADE SIN. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us. Now, let’s be careful about this. Christ was not made A SINNER for us. He Himself never sinned, even when he was taking our sins upon Himself. But our sins were poured upon him, and when they were, God then poured out all of his righteous anger and wrath upon him. Gal. 3:13

* Sinners are MADE RIGHTEOUS. that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. The spotless perfection that was Christ’s is now ours. It is a LEGAL DECLARATION. But it is more than just a legal declaration, it is to be lived out in our lives.

* The GREAT EXCHANGE. So a great miracle has taken place. At Calvary, God took may sin and gave it to Jesus who took it upon himself, and took my deserved punishment, and in return He has clothed me in His righteousness.

3. The Message of Reconciliation has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
Now that we have been reconciled to God, we are called upon to carry the message of reconciliation to others. Paul is calling us out to bring the Gospel message of reconciliation between God and man. Ch 6:1-2,

We are Gospel Ambassadors! 5:20. ‘we are ambassadors for Christ.’ Paul uses an illustration of an ambassador, carrying a message from one governing power to another, not saying the words that he would like to say, but saying only the words that he is commanded to say.

We do not do this work alone! 6:1. ‘we are fellow workers with him.’ What a comfort to know that when we declare the Gospel, we have the Lord with us!

We engage in a labour of love. See the passion that is shown in Paul’s Gospel address. 5:20, ‘…we implore you on Christ’s behalf’ and 6:1, ‘… we plead with you.’ This is not a bland lecture on theological truth! Paul was strictly orthodox, and he expected the Corinthians, and us too, to also be orthodox, but we are never to be dry. We are to be full of passion for lost souls.

The task is urgent! The Corinthians are in danger. perhaps they might receive the grace of God in vain! The sense of receive here is to ‘give apparent assent to.’ How tragic it would be if they were to hear the word of God faithfully delivered, and then through unbelief and disobedience, render that grace void.

So, God has totally changed our spiritual condition and outlook, by bridging the gap between himself and us, not by changing his righteous abhorrence of sin or lowering his standards, but by dealing with our sins, placing them upon His Son, and transferring thereby to us, his own son’s righteousness. He then expects us to accept and believe in that finished work, and having done so to carry that message out into the world around us so that others too might be reconciled to God. Incidentally, once reconciled to God only then can men and women be truly reconciled to each other.

From → 2nd Corinthians

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