Reconciled to God and others

M of us use the word reconciled in our vocabularies to discuss a marriage relationship that was broken and is now put back together. We say, “They have reconciled.” Every earthly relationship goes through periods of distance or separation. It might not be a physical separation, but it still feels like there is a distance that has occurred. To be reconciled is to do what it takes to close that gap and grow close again. 

We know we were given the presence of God’s Holy Spirit when we became a Christian. The Holy Spirit is the proof that Christ has closed the gap and we have been reconciled to God. But, as long as we live on this side of heaven’s glory, we remain in “a gap.”  

It’s a good picture of what Paul was saying in 2 Corinthians 5 when he wrote, “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight” (vv. 6–7). 

Let’s take Paul’s words to heart for just a moment. 

Our source of courage

Have you ever noticed it seems easier to handle a busy schedule when you know a vacation is coming?

Jim and I had an early mentor in our ministry. He told Jim that he and his wife always planned their next vacation while coming home from their current trip. He said it had been a key to their happiness, even when ministry was ramped up at top speed. It is easier to navigate the gap of an over-busy life when you know the separation from each other is for only a time.  

Paul said “we are always of good courage.” There is never a time we can’t look forward to our eternal lives. Right now, we are “away from the Lord,” but one day we will stand with him, in his presence.

It’s good to envision that permanent vacation every now and then. Has it been a while since you allowed your faith to carry you to those visions of heaven? Like the song says, “We can only imagine what it will be like, when we walk by his side.” 

When it seems like there is a gap between you and God, take a “trip with faith” and walk with Jesus on those streets in heaven. Take courage knowing that one day all we have faithfully imagined will be a physical, even more amazing reality. 

We are, right now, reconciled to God through our faith in Christ, and the relationship we have through faith will one day be a relationship experienced in his presence. 

Our reconciliation

We once celebrated a seventy-year anniversary with a couple in our church. Someone at the party asked them how they had been able to stay happily married all those years. He said, “Well, we are still working on that.” That was such a perfect answer! 

Those two people had one of the finest relationships I have ever seen. They never stopped “working on it.” They had their rough spots and had sometimes grown apart. But, they were married forever so they chose to work their way back to a better relationship with each other. The same is true in our relationship with God. 

Paul wrote the church in Corinth, “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:20–21).  

Christ made a permanent relationship with God possible. Christians are his adopted children and always will be. Every family relationship needs work so we can remain “reconciled” to one another. Our kids are always loved, but it takes effort to keep the relationships close. 

Our Righteousness

In Christ we “become the righteousness of God.” Maybe those words have become so familiar that we have forgotten they are “familial.” When you and I enter a room, we enter as one who is part of God’s family. We are called to represent our Lord and bear his name. That’s why Paul called us “Christ’s ambassadors.” 

We are to manifest the rightness of God in our relationships with others. Our righteousness is the rightness of God, displayed through our lives. THAT seems like a high, holy, and wholly impossible calling! Our calling is all of those things, this side of heaven. That’s why we need to be reconciled to God. 

When we get it right, it’s because we allow God to use our lives to make us right. The only righteousness in our lives is the righteousness of God. Thankfully, when we need to represent God in a room, he is willing, able, and would prefer to do the talking. He will need us to get our own sense of self out of the way. 

One day, in heaven, we will live like righteous, holy children of God in every moment. Now, we live in that gap. When we have a reconciled life to God through faith, we have become the righteousness of God. Perfect faith isn’t possible this side of heaven, but it is nevertheless to be our constant goal. 

Our reconciled relationship

I know that every Christian who reads these words will be fully reconciled to God’s presence eternally. That said, if our lives aren’t bearing witness to the “righteousness of God,” we need to work on our relationship with God.  

How do we strengthen our family ties? 

  • Take a vacation from the world, from media and technology, in order to spend time with God. Take courage through faith that one day you will spend all your time present with him in heaven.
  • Ask God if there is anything separating your heart from his. Our sins separate and widen the gap. Confess those things and ask God to help you draw as near as possible. We are his children and we need to work on that relationship. Imagine how much he looks forward to that time together.
  • Finally, live aware of the fact that you are the righteousness of God every time he speaks or ministers through you. Is there any other agenda that seems more important as you enter a room? Focus your thoughts on God. His words, his thoughts, and his presence will soon follow.

Reconciliation is the business of God

In case any of these words seem like too much to handle, remember that it isn’t our abilities that bring about reconciliation. God is the giver of reconciliation. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16).  

Everything you need is given by the Creator of all things. Reconciliation with God is certain because it is always his will. Reconciliation with another person requires two wills, neither of which is perfect. Hopefully, both will turn to the perfection of God and be reconciled. Either way, God judges our hearts. We can be right with him, even when we can’t be right with another.  

We can do our part to be reconciled to God so that we can be his ambassadors and his righteousness in the world. What a holy privilege we have been given! I hope the Lord has brought someone to your mind as you read these words today. Let’s take time to pray for ourselves and others. 

Blessings to all of you “reconciled ambassadors.” It will be fun to hang out on our eternal vacation someday!

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