“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” – 2 Corinthians 5:18
Through this lent season, we’ve been looking at many of the accomplishments of Christ on the cross. In the process we’ve seen that sin has many devastating effects. Sin enslaves us, dominates us, defiles us, and (today’s theme) causes division and conflict both between ourselves and God and with each other. When sin entered the world, so did relational conflict. Marriage became hard and humankind was separated from God because of their sin. To this day we experience conflict, pain and heartache in our relationships. We quickly become angry and bitter towards others, responding to hurt by hurting others.
But at the cross Jesus is our reconciliation. At the cross Jesus is healing our broken relationships, both with God and each other. Paul says, “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). Jesus’ death heals our relationship and reconciles us back to God. His death covers the debts incurred by our conflict, heals the wounds we’ve created and is the agent of God’s forgiveness. All hopes and attempts at reconciling with God apart from the cross are doomed for failure.
We may work to be at peace with God, but we are born his enemy thanks to the rebellion of our first parents. All our efforts at peace backfire as our hearts are prone to conflict and rebellion. We simply are unable to reconcile with God. We need him to reconcile with us, and the cross is the only means by which this is possible. He changes us from enemies to friends, from foreigners to citizens, from abandoned orphans to adopted children. God is a god of reconciliation and he accomplishes it through the cross of Christ.
Not only does Jesus death on the cross bring reconciliation to our hostile relationship with God, but it sets the precedent and empowers our reconciled relationships with each other. Paul writes, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:31-32). The cross becomes the example, motive and power for us to live reconciled lives in community with each other. As Christ forgives us, so to we forgive others. Instead of responding to conflict with anger and bitterness, we’re called to the Christ-like response of kindness and tenderness.
There is hope for healing and restoration in our broken relationships as we look to Christ our reconciliation. For He himself is our peace.