16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! 18 Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.” 21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
When we use the word “reconcile,” we often use it in the context of conflict within a relationship and the resolution of those differences. A successful reconciliation of a relationship results in the restoration of that relationship. One definition of restoration is “the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing or cleaning it.” Another definition of restoration is “the act of returning something that was stolen or taken.”
Paul’s message of reconciliation is also about restoration. In the beginning, we were created in God’s own perfect image. Our squeaky-clean perfection was short-lived. The arrival and enduring nature of sin reflects the age-old conflict between humans and God.
As in most conflicts, one side usually makes the initial effort towards reconciliation. We, as sinners, are not capable of completing our own restoration or even initiating true reconciliation on our own. Christ was sent by God to initiate the reconciliation and restoration process to resolve the conflicts of sin and to begin things anew.
God is unwavering and fully committed to the message of restoration for His people. We, as the representatives of Christian leadership, must also be committed to the message of reconciliation and restoration. This includes being committed to communicating the message to others. Non-believers have the same opportunity for restoration through Christ as we do. But they must hear the message of truth to begin the reconciliation process towards God’s gracious restoration.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Does the life you live reflect and demonstrate reconciliation and restoration to the degree Paul describes?
- Are you committed to communicating this message of reconciliation to others?
- What are the biggest barriers you have to communicating the reconciliation of Christ to non-believers?
- Are you committed to taking steps to removing any barriers to spreading the story of Christ? Have you taken advantage of the resources and training available to you?