The Word of Reconciliation

The Word of Reconciliation

Reconcile means ‘to restore friendly relations between’ one person or entity and another.  The concept of reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus came to reconcile man’s relationship to God.  In doing so, God reconciled Himself to all things through Jesus.  What an accomplishment!

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died . . . (2 Cor 5:14 NKJV)  Jesus Christ took the punishment for all sinners and died on the cross for all sinners in order to pay the debt that we could never pay.  Jesus’ sacrifice was meaningful because, as a human being, Jesus lived a holy, sin-free life.

By restoring our right relationship to God, Jesus also opened the door for us to live in right relationships with each other, with Creation, and with ourselves.  What an accomplishment!

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  (2 Cor 5:18-21 NKJV, emphasis added)

The ‘word of reconciliation’ referred to in 2 Corinthians 5:19 is the gospel of Jesus Christ which not only reconciles us to God, but also reconciles us to each other.  That is only possible as each one of us learns the Word of God and continually obeys it.  As we obey the teachings of the Bible and of Jesus Christ, we grow in grace and wisdom daily.

We can see from 2 Corinthians 5:19 that God has given to all believers the ministry of reconciliation.  But what, exactly, does that mean?

As 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, we’re ambassadors (representatives) of Jesus.  As such, our calling is to implore, plead . . . or to BEG unsaved people to be reconciled to God.  We’re asking them to restore friendly relations between themselves and God.  And we have the honor and privilege of explaining to them how easy it is to do that! 

By simply accepting the love of God that is the basis of salvation, and praying a simple prayer, an unsaved person will become reconciled to God.  In accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, such a person restores their right relationship with God the Father. 

In accepting Christ as Savior, all believers have had the seed of eternity placed within their hearts.  What a beautiful and honorable assignment that we have been given!  Glory to God in the highest!

Teach Us to Number Our Days

Teach Us to Number Our Days

Some Bible verses discuss the lifespan of human beings.  Why is this important to followers and servants of Jesus Christ?  That’s what we’re considering today.

Our time on earth is brief; the number of our days is already decided by you.  (Job 14:15 CEV)

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  (Ps 90:12)

I am gone like a shadow when it lengthens; I am shaken off like a locust.  (Ps 109:23)

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.  (Ps 144:4)

One thing that we have to remember is that our time on earth is limited, and so it’s good to learn to value each day enormously.  Once we accept the brevity of life, we will be more inclined to seek God’s wisdom, leading and guidance for living rich, meaningful, and eternally significant lives that will bring glory to God.

We don’t want to take the gift of life for granted.  We don’t want to waste our days on foolish, selfish pursuits that have no real value.  Those would be pursuits that eventually, at their conclusion, can bless no one else but ourselves and that bring pleasure to and minister to no one other than ourselves. Some such ventures might even be sinful or evil.

Once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord, all that we need for daily sustenance will be given to us by the Lord according to Matthew 6:33. 

The Lord wants His people to learn, to grow, and to seek His wisdom. 

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.  (Pro 2:1-11 NIV) As we learn to number our days, we regard each day as a precious gift as well as an opportunity to store up treasure in heaven that will please God.  Glory!

Do You Desire Wisdom?

Do You Desire Wisdom?

Do you desire wisdom?  The Scriptures tell us how we may grow in wisdom.

Respect and obey the Lord! This is the first step to wisdom and good sense. God will always be respected.  (Ps 111:10 CEV)

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding . . .  (Pro 2:6 NKJV)

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.  21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.  (Pro 4:20-22 NIV)

Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.  (Pro 10:23 ESV)

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!  (Pro 16:16 NIV)

. . . for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.  (Lk 21:15 NKJV)

Obeying God’s wisdom should be pleasure to those of us who love and follow Christ.  Obeying the wisdom of God and memorizing God’s Word will minister life and healing to all of our flesh—both to our own and to other people’s bodies!  Another blessing of obeying wisdom is that it will assist us to grow in wisdom as well.

Wisdom can be defined as “the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.”  The Bible goes beyond that to denote that the gift of wisdom (found in a person) is deep, inestimable, precious and rare. 

Yet, wisdom is available to everyone.  Hear wisdom crying out:  Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares.  21 She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words: 22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?  For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.  (Pro 1:20-22 NKJV) 

Wisdom cries out to ALL people.  She offers her gifts and blessings to all, and yet few people choose to accept her offer.  Some are even annoyed by the offer and can’t be bothered to make the effort to even listen.  They are too busy with their own concerns.

Sadly, even though so many people think that wisdom is unimportant, they are literally refusing to accept blessings!  They are refusing life and prosperity. (Pro 8:35, 19:8 NIV)  People who have wisdom preserve their lives (Pro 13:3 NIV); build a firm foundation for life (Mt 7:24 NIV); and gain understanding.  (Dan 12:10 NIV)

God will give wisdom to those who ask for it.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.   (Jas 1:5 ESV)  Yet how many ask?  How many pray for wisdom? 

Solomon did, and the Bible says that the Lord was so pleased that Solomon has asked for wisdom instead of riches and a long life, that God gave Solomon unparalleled wisdom, riches, fame and honor.  (1 Kgs 3:8-13; 4:29-34) 

Seek the wisdom of God, and God will reward and bless you. Your acquaintances will seek you out for advice and guidance, and will ask you to mentor them.  Blessings upon you!

King of Kings

King of Kings

Back in the 70s, there was a sweet worship chorus that said, “Oh!  Let the flag fly high on the castle of my heart, for the King is in residence there.”  Since we serve Jesus who is the King of Kings, it is fitting that our hearts be portrayed as the castles where the King mercifully reigns in love and righteousness, in power and glory.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  (Mt 6:10 ESV, emphasis added)  Every kingdom has a King, and Jesus is our Redeemer King.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world …  (Mt 25:34, emphasis added)  Our King has prepared a kingdom for each one of us.

And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner …  (Ex 17:15)  The Lord Jesus is our banner:  His image is on the flag that flies high over our lives; He is our standard—the rallying point for all spiritual power and resources in battle against the forces of hell.

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”  (Isa 11:10, emphasis added)  This verifies that Jesus, a descendant of Jesse, is our banner.

The King whom we serve is filled with love and compassion; mercy for the lost and the wounded; and health and healing for those who are sick.  He is good all of the time, and His plans for us are good and give us hope and a future. (Ps 34:8; Jer 29:11)

He brings reconciliation to relationships and to families.  (Jer 31:17; Rom 5:11; 2 Cor 5:18-19)  All glory to His name.

Jesus is a King whose grace humbles us without ever demeaning us, and who exalts us without causing us to puff up with false pride or ego.  Walking in a consistent relationship with Jesus, the Lamb of God, will mature us and grow us into mercy-filled, loving servants of the Kingdom of God.  Praise the Lord!

Love Edifies

Love Edifies

Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.  (1 Cor 8:1c AKJV)

But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.  (1 Cor 8:1c NIV)

The portion of Scripture shown above clearly reminds us that love edifies, or builds up the body of Christ.  What does this mean?

It’s our responsibility, as believers, to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ by how we live our lives and by what we teach.  (See Eph 4:11-16) 

 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  (1 Cor 14:26 NKJV) 

The passage above reminds us that what we do and teach during an assembly or a church meeting should all be geared toward the spiritual growth and maturing of those who attend the gathering.  It gives us suggestions on what to do in order to build people up.  Our teaching, singing, and moving in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit will build up the body of Christ.  

In every situation, the Word of God is the foundation for spiritual growth.  But rather than allowing our knowledge of the Word to move us toward pride, we must be continually anchored by God’s love for mankind and by His love for each one of us. 

The Lord is not willing that any should perish (2 Pet 3:9).  His unconditional love living in our hearts will keep us stable and secure as we grow in wisdom and knowledge. 

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Col 2:2-3 NKJV)

In Christ, we have received untold treasures!