“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
— 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NKJV)
The word reconcile means “to make friends with again.” You had been friends, but then you had a falling out, but then you reconciled. Now you are friends again.
The older I get, the more I’ve come to value friendships, especially restored friendships. We are social creatures and it is important to have friends. Some friends are merely cordial acquaintances, while other friends are very influential and important parts of our lives. Is God your friend? I hope you, by faith, are able to answer “Yes!” to that question.
The opposite of a friend is an enemy. And there is something in each of us that alienates us from God and makes us his enemies. It is called sin. Sin is breaking God’s will. God is holy and perfect and good. Any breaking of his law is called sin, or lawlessness. To a holy and righteous God, anything less than the perfect keeping of his holy law is not acceptable. Sin makes you God’s enemy.
It started back in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Although they were created in God’s image — without sin — yet they were tempted by the devil and sinned against God. Ever since then, sin has been passed down from parents to children. Sin infects the whole world. Without God’s gracious intervention, we would have always been God’s enemies, and never his friends.
So God, in love, came up with a plan to rescue the world from being his enemy. His plan was to make friends with the world again in connection with his son, Jesus Christ. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”
As you know, the world is a big place with lots of people. How was God going to make friends again with all of them? He would do it “in Christ.” “In connection with the Christ.” He promised and sent Jesus, the God-Man who came down to earth to live a perfect, sinless, righteous life, all so that he could offer it up on the cross as the perfect payment-in-full for your sins and mine, and yes, the whole world’s sins. No exceptions.
When Jesus died, the sins of the world were buried with him, never to rise again. This is truly universal justification. Because Jesus stood in for you at his cross, God now does not hold any of your trespasses (sins) against you. That’s because Jesus paid for them. In God’s sight (and he’s the judge), it’s just as if you never sinned. Believe it, my friends, because it’s the good news message of Christianity.
This word of reconciliation God now commits to each of us. Let’s use God’s word to remind ourselves, every day at home and every Sunday at church, of his steadfast love and kindness toward us in his son, Jesus Christ. We stand forgiven. We’re now God’s friends. Let’s take that powerful word out to the world so that they too may hear and believe in this wonderful reconciliation.
Is God your friend? In Christ Jesus, yes! Quoting an old favorite hymn:
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer!
Pastor Dave Naumann serves St. John’s Lutheran Church in Clarkston and Peace Lutheran Church in Orofino.