“. . . Be reconciled to God.” (II Corinthians 5:20 NKJV)
There is so much hatred and violence in the world today. There are some who have expressly stated they don’t want justice; they want revenge. Even politicians are at odds as to how to handle the rioting, looting and destruction of public property. Even if the political environment does uphold the rule of law to protect the citizens of the country and outward behavior corrected, true reconciliation will never be achieved. In fact, it is an absolute truth that it is impossible for individuals and people groups to be really reconciled, where covenantal fellowship is restored through heartfelt forgiveness and repentance.
Before you start throwing stones at me for stating the obvious, let me explain. Once you understand what I mean by that statement you will either agree with the statement or you will pick up stones to stone me.
First of all, the statement is true because all mankind is born at odds with one another. The baby throws an angry fit to get his or her own way – no one teaches A 2 year old to say “no” to his or her parents, or to keep doing something when told not to do it. You don’t need to teach a child to rebel against his or her parents, it just comes natural. As adults, our natural inclination is to hate our neighbor, not love him or her in the same way we love ourselves. Many people are, in fact, too busy putting their neighbors down to really care about their welfare, much less their spiritual well-being, their spiritual state that is being exhibited in how they conduct their lives.
Our Conflicts are a Result of Being at Odds with God
For the unbeliever, being at odds and in conflict with another person is a result of being at odds with God, our Creator. In God’s assessment of mankind’s state in Romans Chapter 3, He tells us that there is “none righteous, no, not one” . . . “there is none who seeks after God” . . . and that “there is no fear of God before their eyes.” And then later in that same Epistle we are told mankind’s mind in its natural state is at“. . . enmity against God . . .” (Romans 8:7). In other words, the mindset of mankind is by nature inclined to an active hatred or ill will towards God. This, in turn, means that his natural inclination is to hate his neighbor, no matter what. This estrangement of fellowship between us and God has dire consequences. And we must give an account to the only holy and righteous God, our Creator, of all our evil works, of all our rebellious attitudes, and of all our lustful and self-glorifying thoughts against God and our neighbor. The consequences of this estrangement from God means being separated from God and His blessings of peace, comfort, and the blessedness of being in His presence forever. Being separated from God in eternity means living in body and soul in the eternal torment of hell, where a person’s hatred and evil desires will run so deep and passionate that there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, because their lusts and passions will never be satisfied; their torment will be forever.
Strife, rebellion, hatred, and stubbornness against God and His word begins at birth and don’t end until a person dies . . . unless something changes; a change that is so radical that it changes the way a person thinks, changes the person’s attitude, changes the desires of the heart; that is, a radical change to his or her heart and mind. In other words, it is a change that is impossible for him or her to make; a change that begins with reconciliation. Without a radical change in a person there will always be lying, envy, hatred, division, malice, and murder. The rioting and mayhem we see is the outward expression of the inner character of the person that is overcome with hatred and evil desires of the flesh.
Furthermore, there will always be in this world people seeking to exert power over others who are different from them or differ in their worldview, or their view of reality. Pride and arrogance will move one person or people group to claim superiority over another person or people group; whether the reason is based on economic differences, nationalities, gender, or skin tone. These characteristics come natural to mankind and are evidenced in the way one person or people group treats another person or people group.
Reconciliation Impossible for Man
So you can see that the change that is necessary for reconciliation will not/cannot be accomplished by mankind’s efforts. The Bible teaches us that the very best man can do is to add to his guilt before God, our Creator, as it says in Romans 3:19-20:
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (NKJV)
No amount of good works by sinners, like you and me, can ever bring about reconciliation between God and man because they are but filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord God, according to Isaiah 64:6. Our works are only suitable for burning as they are tainted by an incurable affliction, sin. So is it okay for man to continue to live in a state of sin that keeps him from standing in the presence of God, forever estrange from God? Not at all!
The desperation of man’s estranged state before God cannot be overstated! Our need to be reconciled with God becomes glaringly apparent when we consider the perilous state we find ourselves in. You see, because our sin has separated us from God and He cannot be in the presence of sin no human can ever live in God’s presence without being reconciled (Psalm 101:7; Habakkuk 1:13). God said that He cannot dwell in the presence of sin (Psalm 5:4) and the punishment for sin is death, according Romans 6:23. Death here is not just physical death that is a result of the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve; it is also spiritual death. Death is the state of being separated. Physical death is the separation of the body and soul, until Christ comes again and the general resurrection takes place; spiritual death, as mentioned above, is the separation of man from God and separation that will continue in eternity with the weeping and gnashing of teeth in the torment of hell, forever, unless God and man is reconciled.
It is because of man’s sinful state he is in need of being reconciled; reconciled with God first, and then with one another. Without being reconciled with God no one will ever be fully reconciled another person. Why? The basis for reconciliation with one another is our reconciliation with God, our Creator and Judge. Yet, for mankind, being reconciled with our Creator is impossible; but not for God.
Reconciliation Only Possible Through Jesus Christ
God the Father sent God the Son, the only Begotten (not created) of the Father, to reconcile God to man; to ransom His elect to Himself, saving them from the penalty of sin and purchasing them from the bondage to sin (Mark 10:45). The ransom He paid was with His precious blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Through Christ’s death on the cross about 2,000 years ago reconciliation was made obtaining for sinners, like you and me, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, salvation; and everlasting life. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ . . . that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them . . .”; therefore, “. . . be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NKJ)
Be Reconciled with God By Grace Alone Through Faith Alone
Won’t you this day be reconciled to God? Repent of your unbelief, hatred and rebellion against God and His word and by grace alone through faith alone come to Christ alone, putting your trust in His one atoning sacrifice on the cross for your salvation, hoping in Him for eternal life because of His resurrection from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:25). Then, won’t you this day live a reconciled life with a grateful heart filled with the love of God for God and your neighbor so that you might glorify God in all that you say and do?
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJ)