Jesus - The Reconciler Of Enemies
Conversion, from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God, is a huge change (Colossians 1:13): from aliens to citizens; from enemies to allies. Before conversion, everybody is outside of God's kingdom, opposed to it in thinking and actions, and personally rebellious against the sovereignty of God (Philippians 3:18-19). The product of their lives, however apparently good and applauded by others, is offensive to God because it reeks of self – and God’s Word is offensive to them (Jeremiah 6:10). Unsaved minds are opposed to God’s authority resulting in behaviour which Paul describes as evil. This is tough talking, but accurately reflects the response of a holy God to self-actuated people.
After conversion, born-again believers are welcomed into an intimate relationship with God, because they have been reconciled to Him. He sees them as holy, sinless and blameless. This transformed relationship with God is only possible through Christ's personal sacrifice of His physical body - accepting the punishment due to all who have rebelled against God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Does that mean that all sinners are saved? No. Many do not want to be saved, they see no need. Some want to be religiously saved through their own good works, and not through the grace of God alone. Some start to believe but have no interest in holding onto Christ as their only Saviour; they want to design their own salvation package - including Jesus but not excluding everything else. Although reconciliation is available to them, they resist His exclusive Lordship, and continue to alienate themselves from God. In their minds, that is quite acceptable (even though it is repugnant to God) but their behaviour demonstrates that they are not on God's side. Although the love of God and the sufferings of Jesus enable enemies of God to be reconciled to Him - many think they know better because their hearts are hard (Ephesians 4:17-18). For them holiness is unnecessary, deep roots of faith are restrictive: and the hope of being welcomed by Christ when He returns has no priority compared with human ambitions for self-satisfaction. What a tragedy!
But what blessing for those who continue to trust Jesus, learn more, practise holy living and relate with the Lord who loves them. If you know you are reconciled, live in harmony with Him. If you trust Him, invest everything in Him. If you have started in faith, be determined to keep trusting despite adverse circumstances. Put your roots down deep into His grace, and reject every alternative (Colossians 2:6-8). If Christ has made you His brother, demonstrate the relationship in the way you behave (Hebrews 2:11). If you know you have been reconciled at such a great cost, worship Him, thank Him, love Him, and serve Him (Colossians 1:12). Never forget that the gospel you have believed is the only information which tells people how to be reconciled with the holy God - so tell your friends and colleagues, and share it with them (www.crosscheck.org.uk)!
© Dr Paul Adams