This is blog #3 in “The Gospel” series that covers what Jesus Christ accomplished completely for us through His death and resurrection. We are looking at specific words describing what God did to cure our fatal sin disease.
Because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, our relationship with God is changed forever when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. It is much more than having our sins forgiven and going to heaven when we die. So, it takes more than one word to describe what Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished for us. In fact, it takes 6 terms, and these 6 terms are sometimes called the “words of the cross.”
In a way, each one of these 6 words answers a different question about our relationship with God. When you put them together, you will never be the same once you see all that Jesus Christ has done for you. You need to know these 6 words because they are in your Bible, especially in the New Testament. If you stumble over them, you are going to miss the riches of understanding your salvation. When you read them, you need to know what they mean because they are so important to your experiencing a life of freedom and joy in Christ. They are gifts of the cross for you and me.
My last podcast covered Word of the Cross #1—Propitiation. That word means that God’s holy wrath against sin is fully satisfied by Jesus’ death on the cross. God is no longer angry at your sin.
Word of the Cross #2 is Reconciliation. It means that “our relationship with God is restored.”
At some point in our lives, we all experience a personal relationship that is broken. You can probably think of one such conflict right now. Broken relationships cause pain and often leave us confused about how we can possibly fix them.
Most people want to be reconciled so that the relationship can be restored in some fashion. How sad it is when a broken relationship continues to remain broken and isn’t reconciled. What joy we experience when we see a once-broken relationship repaired and healthy again.
Reconciliation is certainly a reason for rejoicing, especially in our relationship with God! But, what does it take for reconciliation with God? How is our broken relationship with God restored?
The answer is this: the broken relationship with God is restored through Christ’s death on the cross.
The broken relationship with God is restored through Christ’s death.
Romans 3:23 declares that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Before Christ, we were left in a state of alienation or separation from God because of sin (Isaiah 59:2). That’s our sin disease. There was an impassable barrier between us. A broken relationship. Some kind of reconciliation needed to be done. We couldn’t do it on our part—no matter how many good deeds we did. There was always that chasm between us and God created by our sin.
BUT GOD did something about that! I love those two words in the Bible. Whenever it looks absolutely hopeless for us humans, God steps in and does the exact thing we need. God restored the broken relationship by reconciling us to Himself through Jesus’ death. The word reconcile means to re-establish friendship between two parties, to settle or resolve a dispute, and to bring acceptance. Wow! We certainly needed all of that!
What was God’s motivation to repair the broken relationship? It wasn’t because of obligation. We didn’t earn it. He did it because of His love for us. Romans 5:8 says this,
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
In Christ’s death, God demonstrated His love for us dirty, rotten sinners.
In Romans 5, we also read this,
“…while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10-11)
Colossians 1 adds more to this,
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Colossians 1:21-22)
God loved us so much that even while we were His enemies in our minds and in our behavior, He did what was needed to reconcile us to Himself through the physical death of His Son.
The barrier of sin has been taken away. A bridge has been built through Jesus Christ. You cross over this bridge by your faith in Jesus. Then, your broken relationship with God is restored, and you are saved. And, even more than that, Jesus presents you holy and blameless in God’s sight. Isn’t that wonderful?
Jesus Christ has fully paid human debt for sin, removing the barrier between God and people. God stands eagerly welcoming anyone who will believe the good news and come home over the bridge of Jesus (Luke 15:7-10). For anyone who trusts in Jesus, your relationship with God is instantly restored…no longer broken. Reconciliation is a present reality for every Christian and is worthy of our rejoicing!
More than just rejoicing, we get to live in that reality of reconciliation with God.
Living in the present reality of reconciliation with God
God demonstrated His love for us when Christ died for us so that we could be reconciled to Him. This reconciliation extends to everyone who chooses to receive it by faith. Because of this, God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. What do I mean by that?
Paul answered that question in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
We have the privilege of announcing to others that they can have what we have in a restored relationship with the God who loves them.
And, here’s more good news. The same power of reconciliation is available to you through Christ for your relationships with others. If you are in the midst of a broken relationship, pray that God would work His mighty hand in that relationship and provide you with His wisdom in pursuing reconciliation.
What steps can you take to reconcile the relationship? Start with prayer and love for that person. Then, I suggest you read the little book called Philemon in the New Testament for practical steps and the heart attitude needed to pursue reconciliation. Depend on the Master of Reconciliation to give you the wisdom and the strength to do it.
Restored…no longer broken
Dear Christian, because you’ve trusted Christ and are now found in Christ, you can know and live with confidence that your relationship with God is restored…no longer broken because of sin and guilt! The barrier of sin has been taken away, and a bridge has been built between you and God because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. This was God’s act of reconciliation offered to you because you believe in His Son.
Your relationship with God is restored…no longer broken. How does that make you feel? Embrace it. Dance! Shout! Sing!
As Paul wrote in Colossians 3:12, you are dearly loved!
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His finished work on the cross. Then, live in the freedom of your new life in Him.
Go to the next “word of the cross”: Redemption.