12.22.2014

Christmas 2014: Reconciled

"Hark! The herald angels sing,
'Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!'"

"...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. 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 5:17-21

This is my appeal each year, as one now also entrusted with God's message of reconciliation, that you turn to God and be reconciled to Him. Our  "trespasses" or "sins" (doing what God says not to or ignoring what He calls good) separate us from God, earning us death now and eternally. But because Jesus was born on Earth, God in human form who followed His Law perfectly, He was the perfect sacrifice to cover that eternal penalty by His own death on a cross so those who trust Him can be new creations reconciled to God.

This year it seems especially significant to share that this message of reconciliation is not only from God to humans, but also extends from human to human because of what Jesus has done.

In Ephesians 2:11-22, the Apostle Paul discusses how Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), who were historically hostile to one another, are now united in Christ. He informs us:
Jesus Himself is our peace
Jesus broke down the wall of hostility with his own flesh
Jesus reconciles people to God through the cross, also killing hostility between humans

This reconciliation crosses man-made divisions of all kinds. This is what the baby given the title "Prince of Peace" was born to do. A vertical relationship with Jesus directly affects our horizontal relationships with others. The loved can love. The forgiven can forgive. The reconciled are to be reconcilers. Knowing the Creator who came to live among us and made the ultimate sacrifice for His people increases one's willingness to sacrifice for Him and others, and to pursue others as Jesus pursues in love.

I pray the Lord will make clear to each of us His message of reconciliation, whether more deeply or for the first time, so we may not only have peace with God, but can fully extend the hand of peace to every person we know and meet.

Christmas Peace in Jesus Christ to you and yours this season.
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The Lord has taught me much since 2008 specifically regarding racial reconciliation, along with community development, through men like John Perkins and serving with Mission: St. Louis this year. You're invited to follow the thread starting here.

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