Reflection for June 16, 2024


This is the first of four reflections on the general theme “Coming Close to God”. The four are a group which embody the process by which we can draw near to our Creator: Reconciliation, Redemption, Renewal and Resurrection.

Reconciliation is the first step to resolve a conflicted relationship, correct estrangement or repair a relationship that is broken. It is the process of coming together, being willing to talk and having an interest to work together. Ultimately the aim is to find a solution that resolves the problem that caused the estrangement in the first place. There are two essential parts:first, just being willing to come together to talk and the second, to persist in working out the details to renew the relationship.

Estrangement implies a relationship that should be but is not! It can take the form of active conflict but sometimes it is just a process of ignoring the existence of another or denying the worthiness of the other person. On the spiritual level, estrangement from God justifies itself by denying the existence of God and his worthiness as our Creator to be worshiped. The idea simply is, that if there is no God, there is no need to be reconciled!

We don’t know why God chose to power the universe into existence and even less do we know why God created life as we know it. However, we do know that God and humankind started out on the right foot. Adam and Eve walked in the cool of the morning with God. They were given the attributes of mind, emotion and spirit. The guidelines for the relationship were very clear: they were given freewill but the only rule was not to choose to fill up on the knowledge of good and evil in order to direct their own decisions. They were to refer their trajectory to the One who made them in the first place and Who knew best how life should be lived. The Serpent, Satan, persuaded Adam and Eve to question God’s instructions, and they chose their own way. The result was estrangement from God because sin cannot coexist in fellowship with the holiness of God.

That is what happened in the beginning and that is why we now are estranged from God as a human race and often estranged from each other. It is clear that there is a great sickness on this planet of ours. When we get rid of God in our lives, yes, we will have established the capacity to live the way that we want to, but we also will potentially end up afflicting others with our sinful choices—selfishness, greed, self-worship etc.

So, what has been God’s response to all this? It is summed up in Nehemiah 9:26 which demonstrates the cycle of sin, judgment, repentance, forgiveness, restoration …and then the cycle over and over again.

Our planet Earth from Saturn looks like a pinpoint of blue light. It would take God a very tiny eraser to simply remove it from the sky and the universe would continue as it is. But, God does not give up on us! Isaiah 1:18 records God’s invitation to us: “Come, let us now reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” God puts the finger on the core issue: sin! Might that also be the problem in all the estrangements in our human relationships?

Consider reading: Colossians 1:22,23a 2 Corinthians 8:9 Ephesians 2:11-17 John 3:17

God spilled blood on our behalf to accomplish the means for our salvation if we shall but accept it! It took God: Love, Initiative, Presence, Communication, Persistence, Suffering, Death on the Cross, and Resurrection to validate his reality and miracle.

Read 2 Corinthians 5: 14-21

Note from this passage that not only God invites us to be reconciled to Him but also commissions us to proclaim and act out that reconciliation in our human relationships. It will take the same effort as it took God. We will need to be empowered by God’s love and renewal of our lives. We will need to be persistent and even suffer the loss of our own pride and ego on the behalf of others.

Reconciliation with God is possible only through Jesus Christ on the basis of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross bearing our sin. John 14:6 “I [Jesus] am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to God except through me.”

But beyond that, we are to extend reconciliation to others. Jesus said some tough things. In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:24,25 he said “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly.” We are also admonished in Philippians 2:3-8 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or

vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

God did that for us—we can do no less for others. It all starts with God reaching out to us in reconciliation. When we come to God in repentance and entrust every aspect of our lives to him, we will be restored and blessed. And then, in the grace that God gives, we are able to extend that costly reconciliation opportunity to others!

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” The secret of reconciliation is not logic, rationalization or negotiation. The secret is found in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ whose life in us will cleanse us from sin that separates us, renew our wills, strengthen our motivations and open the paths of righteousness that leads to the abundant life. Our relationship with God will be healed as will our relationships with others as far as it lies within us.

Be encouraged!

John K

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