The Gospel of Reconciliation
The desire of my heart in this set of articles is to help the church re-awaken to our call to live as a reconciled people of God – a reconciliation that crosses the current ethnic, tribal and socio-economic divisions that exist in too much of the church.
Somewhere along the line of history, we have shifted to preaching a Gospel that does not call for practical reconciliation as a central part of that message. And yet, the prayer of Jesus for us in John 17, and the living testimony of the early church, as well as much of the church throughout its history, reveals a far different expectation and real life practice of reconciliation than we experience today. My hope is that the leaders in the church, especially pastors, elders and teachers, along with the priesthood of all believers, will begin to see a commitment to reconciliation as a foundational, Covenantal, biblical responsibility for all God’s people. I hope we will be genuinely theologically convinced to look at the practical work of reconciliation on the local church level the same way we look at other fundamental responsibilities like preaching the Word, evangelism, administering the sacraments, fellowship and worship; namely, as a non-negotiable, biblical obligation that we must intentionally embrace and seek to put into practice by the Spirit’s power and the wisdom of the Word. And of course, wonderfully, that reconciliation, like all the other responsibilities of the church, is not simply an obligation, but a promise of the work Christ wants to fulfill in us by grace.
I believe most genuine believers that I have met and worked with worldwide, regardless of their denominational background, fundamentally love God and desire to bring him glory. But I do not believe we have a well-developed biblical, theological conviction that the work of the church includes and requires a determined, purposeful commitment to reconciliation. If we did, the actions of the church would match that theology. May God grant us the grace of ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts to repent where needed. And may he work in us a unity and reconciliation that is immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.
March 19, 2009
- Reconciliation Part 1: The Message of the Gospel
- Reconciliation Part 2: The Cross of Christ: The Death of Our Hostility and the Birth of our Unity – Ephesians
- Reconciliation Part 3: One Body, Many Parts and a Principle of Double Exclusion (or, Two Things You Cannot Say) – 1 Corinthians 12
- Reconciliation and Old Testament Foundations