“Never once is God said to be reconciled to man; it is always man who is reconciled to God” Willam Barclay 1907–1978)
On 20 November 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to proclaim 2009 as the International Year of Reconciliation (resolution 61/17). It expressed its steadfast determination to pursue reconciliation processes in those societies affected or divided by conflicts, describing such processes as necessary for the establishment of firm and lasting peace. In the twelve years that have passed the world is far from reconciled. The present pandemic situation is more of a blame game that a serious worldly attempt to help those less fortunate.
As respondent Geoff Richards then pointed out “If only the UN had any thought of the One who has already done it!” Did God consider how He might win humankind? God in Christ became one of us. He took upon Him the form of human flesh to dwell among us. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.
In the book of Micah, we learn that during the eighth century B.C. there was a spirit abroad in the land that gripped the hearts of all people. Values were materialistic, covetousness was rampant, streets were unsafe, and violence was commonplace. A man was well advised not to trust even his own wife in a world where a man’s enemies might often be his own flesh and blood. The courts, the clergy, and civil officials were all priced to fit the market in a broken-down society. Who could stand up to the corrupting forces of such a society and remain pure?
Micah, the prophet, had worked long hours and many years in order to effect a change of heart in this spiritually shallow society. At times, when his efforts seemed ineffective, he longed for another ministry in a world far removed—one where men could be easily reconciled, where righteousness was approved, and where men were peacemakers.
Micah’s inspired counsel and testimony helped many to recognize who they were and to understand why they were on the earth, and many of them learned to live life anew. They learned through his testimony that in an untrustworthy world, one could still trust the Lord. Although his calling was lonely and unpleasant, Micah’s ability to reconcile his will with the will of the Lord made him an effective servant of God, and a pillar of light to his fellowmen. “I will surely gather all of you, Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. The One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their King will pass through before them, the Lord at their head.” (Micah 2:12-13 NIV)
The word “reconcile” means literally “bring into a changed relationship,” bringing together two people or parties who should have been united. The Bible speaks of the human race as enemies of God (Hebrews 10:26,27). We may not think of ourselves in that way but according to Scripture we are either passive or active enemies of God and therefore apart from Christ. Reconciliation means “brought back into full relationship and fellowship with God,” achieved by Christ on the Cross.
In biblical times the Jew was separated from the Gentile by racial, religious, cultural and social barriers. If Christ could bring these these two together, there was, and is, no human gulf too great for Him to bridge. And He did. His death on the Cross is the one means of peace with God for all men without distinction. And all who belong to Him have a common bond which is deeper and stronger than any of their former differences-of race. colour, status or background. All are one in Christ. This is powerfully described in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2 verses 13 to 22, and follows an explanation of God’s great plan (See Ephesians 1:1-14).
To reconcile man with man and not with God is to reconcile no one at all.
Have a good week, Pastor Ron Clarke
Optional Bible readings: Micah 2:1-5 & 12,13; 7:7-9. Ephesians 1:1-14 and 2:13-22.
This is one of a series of weekly messages of encouragement, now in its twenty-sixth year, originating from Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. A companion Bible study page is available each week. To subscribe via email here with the words ‘Subscribe Word (or) Subscribe Word & Study’. Our ministry is free and emailing lists are confidential. Tell a friend or why not put a note in your church newsletter or pew sheet about this ministry – we welcome new subscriptions. Pastor Ron Clarke OAM Word for the Week Mbl.: +61 488 424 321