“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the Ministry of Reconciliation” – 2 Corinthians 5:18
Greetings once more Friends!
Mankind’s current state of affairs in the world has been building up to a flash point where events appear seemingly impossible to reverse. What we are witnessing is the spectacle of excessive negative energy expended in practically every facet of human and non-human activities. It appears nothing can stop this relentless march to the menacing reality these events are hurtling man towards – human annihilation. It may seem like mankind is teetering on the brink unless something drastic is done to address the many pressing issues like: conflicts and displacement of large populations, poverty, lack of security and peace, climate change, disease outbreaks, the environment, economic disparity and lack of opportunities, lack of basic education, corruption and greed, lack of clean drinkable water, terrorism, racial tensions leading to bigotry and violence, natural disasters, religious conflicts, inequality, trade disputes, etc. We are spiraling out of control. Science, the supposed savior of man, seem helpless and incompetent. Unfortunately, most of the hurtful and suicidal issues we face are man-made. Fortunately, man can change and reverse them.
Poverty War Epidemics, Refugees (Wiki Commons)
The Bible prophetically states our human dilemma with these words, “Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming.…There is going to be trouble on a scale beyond what the world has ever seen, or will see again. If these days of trouble were left to run their course, nobody would make it. But on account of God’s chosen people, the trouble will be cut short.” (Matt.24:7-8; 21-22, The Message). What an ominous future humanity faces. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
In John’s vision, he saw it like this, “Then I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, by famine, by plague, and by the beasts of the earth” (Rev.6:8). John spoke in symbolism to mean humans are heading for a cataclysmic future. Something has to be done, and God assures us “for the sake of the chosen ones” He will shorten those terrible days and save humanity. “Chosen people” does not refer to persons born with super power attributes, it simply means someone who has freely chosen to follow God’s purpose and do something about saving mankind and this dying world. Yes, freedom cannot be discounted because a “chosen people” is contingent upon a person’s choice to participate in the divine will. And what is that purpose of God?
This post proposes to challenge the ethos of human civil society and culture, ask the important questions, and learn from our past actions. This is about second chances, and the prospects we are given to change things for good and right the ship of human destiny before we see matters get even worse than they already are. As all these events unfold before us, we dare to ask, what is God’s thoughts in all this, after all He is the Creator who made this earth and put humans on it. Yes, what is God’s purpose, if there is one?
The Bible calls God’s purpose to save and restore humanity to its rightful place, the “Ministry of Reconciliation.” What is the “Ministry of Reconciliation?” The term is taken from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor.5:18, NASB, emphasis mine). Yes, it means that in the depth of His Love God has taken the first step to reach out and save humans from the sin-condition under which man is held prisoner. (Rom.5:8; Rom.7:23) (To read more about the sin-condition go to my blog titled: “Sin Is a Condition As Love is a Condition” at http://bulamanriver.net/5437)
The sculpture Reconciliation by Vasconcellos of two former enemies embracing (Wiki Commons)
A ministry is a calling, it is a mission. As we will see, this gospel of reconciliation encapsulates the central theme of Christianity. From its heart flows the lifeblood of the Christian faith and gives form to every aspect of the Christian life. For this is the heart and pulse of the mission of the Church under the New Covenant dispensation. (Heb.8:7-13; Luk.22:20; 2 Cor.3:6; Matt.28:18-20)
What does reconciliation mean? It means an act of mitigating a state of discord and alienation which exists between two parties. It means to bring about reunion where separation exists. We have seen the many issues humanity faces which need mitigation and reconciliation. Reconciliatiion in biblical terms means God has extended His Love and brought sinful humanity to be in right standing with Him. It also conveys the process by which reconciliation is achieved through the act of atonement. The march to oblivion mankind is headed toward will be halted because reconciliation between the Creator and mankind will have been achieved.
What is atonement? It is the restitution paid by God to make reconciliation with humans possible. (Act.20:28; 1 Cor.6:19-20; 1 Cor.7:23) Since reconciliation applies only in a situation of hostility between two parties, what was it that brought about this alienation between God and man in the first place? The answer is sin! Sin simply means the opposing way of life from God’s way of life. God’s way of life is His way of Love, for the Bible states, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). Love is outgoing, generous, and selfless. Sin is the way of fear which produces self-interest, greed, and narcissism. Every evil and despicable act of man that will ultimately lead to his demise finds its home in the spirit of fear based upon the sin-condition. (Rom.7:23) Every suffering a person has experienced personally, or incurred and confronted inter-personally with another, can be traced back to a single starting point and source: the sin-condition! So, atonement is God initiating reconciliation by giving us something very precious to Him in order to save humanity. The Bible reveals God’s act of atonement in this way, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NLT, Rom.5:8).
Jesus’ Participation in the Ministry of Reconciliation – Savior of the Mankind (Wiki Commons)
Whose Ministry Is It?
Yes, let us be clear as to the source and ownership of the Ministry of Reconciliation. Let’s read it again: “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor.5:18). It is from God the Father who initiated it through His Son Jesus as Savior of mankind. (1 John 4:9; John 3:16, 18, 36) The Ministry proceeds from God the Father. It was initiated by Jesus Christ, and is set in motion today by the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor.13:14)
There is another vital part to the Ministry of Reconciliation we must be cognizant. The Bible states that “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven” (John 3:27). These inspiring words were uttered by John the Baptist when his disciples inquired about the identity of the Messiah. A person cannot participate in something unless he/she is given and enabled to contribute. In other words, a person must not assume it is totally up to the human will and they have control in the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just like anything that is not ours, we need acquiescence to participate.
There was a time in ancient Israel when God wanted a message sent to the people, and asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” The prophet Isaiah answered, “Here am I. Send me!” Then God said to Isaiah, “Go, tell the people…” Yes, even a great prophet like Isaiah understood he had to be sent. (Isa. 6:8-9) Why is it important to be sent? Because the task is spiritual one from a holy God. The message is spiritual and carries physical consequences with divine reckoning. Sinful humans are not equipped to do the divine will. Thereby, when a person is sent, God will anoint the one sent to do a divinely ordained task. God’s anointing comes with a gift which empowers the one sent. (Jam.1:17; Luk.24:49; John 6:65; )
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, God anointed Him with the gift of the Holy Spirit of power to carry out His part as Savior in the Ministry of Reconciliation. It was the beginning of His part in God’s ministry as Savior of humanity. This gift of the Holy Spirit was to set an example for any human who is called and sent to participate in God’s saving Ministry. The gift of the Spirit sets the one sent apart and is prerequisite to carrying out the will of God. The Spirit is conferred as the gift upon a person’s repentance and forgiveness. Peter told his listeners, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38).
Dove, Symbol of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s role in the Ministry of Reconciliation – to Sanctify by Personifying God’s Love (Christ) in Humans & Impart Immortality (Wiki Commons)
After Jesus repented for mankind’s sins in the Jordan, God the Father was extremely pleased and anointed Him with the Spirit, saying, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Mar.1:11). In the parable of the sheep where Jesus homed-in on the one lamb that was lost and found, and said, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luk.15:7). Yes, the Father joyfully uses the same compliment articulated upon Jesus at His baptism to every human who follows His example of repentance and forgiveness through the cross. Baptism symbolizes the spiritual reality of a person’s spiritual death and burial of the old sinful self in the watery grave, and the resurrection of the new man in Christ by the Spirit’s power. (Rom.6:3-4)
From what we have seen above, there are three salient features to the Ministry of Reconciliation which Jesus brings. It follows the divine example of the three Persons of the Godhead as stated in John 3:16:
- “For God so Love the World” – The Father’s Love for humanity.
- “He gave His only Son” – Jesus’ Love by repenting for and forgiving human sins.
- “Shall not perish but have everlasting life” – the Spirit’s Love in sanctifying and rescuing man from destruction and conceive immortality in humans.
First, we are given and sent to Love this sinful world because the Father Himself does so and gave His Son to save sinners. We Love the sinner but hate the sins, for the sin-condition is the cause of all human suffering and death, and our sins are many. (Rom.7:23; 6:23) Second, we are to follow Jesus’ example who gave His life so the gifts of repentance and forgiveness so humans may have true life. (1 Tim.6:19) Third, the Holy Spirit is the very personification of God’s divine Love in humans. (Rom.5:5) Herald* (Spirit) comes and sanctifies our human gifts on a day-to-day basis so they are used for Love’s purpose. With this basic three-way foundation established in line with the will of the Triune Godhead, we are given to utilize our gifts to make the Gospel known, and draw people into God’s fellowship of Love. Let us put some spiritual meat to these three aspects of the Ministry of Reconciliation.
Love: As sinful humans, it is impossible to Love our fellow humans because of sin. Love is self-less while sin is selfish. But we know that no human has lived without sin and Loved perfectly except one, Jesus. Therefore, God has imputed Jesus’ sinless life in our place so we can be in right standing with Him. This is the principle of attribution where one takes responsibility for another. Just as God the Father has taken responsibility for mankind’s sins by giving His Son, Jesus also takes direct responsibility for humans by living the perfect human life and dying a sinless man as the sacrifice for sin to save mankind. (1 Cor.15:21; Rom.5:15-19). (You can read about this attributive principle at http://bulamanriver.net/12351). Here, the Father’s Love for mankind is the primary message of reconciliation.
Forgiveness & Repentance: Jesus’ perfect life and sinless sacrifice has been imputed upon mankind so humans can become the righteousness of God (2 Cor.5:21; Rom.4:25; 8:3). The Bible refers to Jesus as “our righteousness” affirming the principle of attribution. (Jer.23:6; 33:16; 1 Cor.1:30) He became “our righteousness” by repenting for us in the Jordan, and dying for our forgiveness upon Calvary. And the world needs to hear this wonderful message of reconciliation, and more so to believe and have faith in its promise. So, when Jesus lives and walks through us we have been given the identical primary task that Jesus performed for His Father: to enable and accomplish mankind’s forgiveness through repentance. Repentance means to change and make a turnaround, a change of course, a U-turn, a change of heart, from our destructive ways (sin) and turn to God’s way of Love. Repentance and forgiveness goes hand-in-hand. So, our first task in the Ministry of Reconciliation is to pray, and never let up praying, for mankind’s forgiveness. Alfred Lord Tennyson famously said, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” In prayer we are inviting and enlisting the divine reality of God to enter and touch our sin-ridden human reality. Second we are to pray for the gift of repentance to be showered generously upon humanity. Third, that we live the life of forgiveness and repentance ourselves by forgiving others and praying for repentance. (Matt.6;14) Paul said, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” Eph.4:32).
“Pray Without Ceasing” – the Essential Part of the Ministry of Reconciliation (Wiki Commons)
That is how Jesus continues His Ministry of Reconciliation in and through us. This is the message of reconciliation we are all given to take to the world. This is an act of Love which started from the Father. This is our part in living the divine Love in our lives. It begins with prayer. There is a saying that goes, “The church moves forward on its knees.” Of course on its feet as well, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph.6:15, KJV). We no longer seek to do our own will, but now we live to serve the divine will of God. Remember, Jesus continues His Ministry from His heavenly office as mankind’s High Priest. (Heb.2:17; Heb.4:15; Heb.5:5-6) That is the seat of power behind the Ministry of Reconciliation. Jesus is the very instrument of reconciliation, which makes Him the very personification of the Gospel. Yes, Jesus is the Good News.
Living Our Gifts in Love Day-to-Day: The Holy Spirit is the most vital aspect of the Ministry of Reconciliation as far as living the Ministry day-to-day. Jesus told His disciples to wait for Herald’s* arrival on Pentecost. The reason was obvious, Jesus said, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luk.24:49, italics my emphasis). Yes, we can’t be sent without His anointing power. Earlier Jesus mentioned why they needed power, “He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk.24:46-47). Yes, without Herald we can’t speak the message of repentance and forgiveness (reconciliation). The Holy Spirit makes it possible for humans to live perfectly by sanctifying our human gifts and talents in the power of His Love. (Rom.5:5; Rom.15:16)
Every person is born with a unique gift which sets him/her apart from the next person. Nobody is born without one. On its own, a gift is futile in the work of reconciliation, no matter how uniquely talented a person may be. The gift of the Holy Spirit directly changes the complexion of a person’s talent and skill in every way, shape, and form. There is an interesting story about Jesus’ encounter with Peter which teaches us how the Spirit works in utilizing human gifts for the Ministry of Reconciliation. When Jesus met Peter he was a fisherman by trade. To be sure, fishing was Peter’s gift. He knew everything there was to know about fishing, and I am sure he heard many a story of the one that got away from up and coming anglers. For Peter fishing was a livelihood. Peter’s fishing business helped him support his family and relatives, and for the most part assisted his village and community. When Jesus called Peter into His Ministry, He said to him, “Let us do something different with your skills (gift), let us fish humans.” Yes, Jesus told Peter, “Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (Matt.4:19). Jesus turned Peter’s life around from a self-centered focus and become other-centered. In like fashion, this is how the Spirit works with our own gifts.
Turning Our Gifts into A Calling to Minister Reconciliation (Wiki Commons)
The Bible tells us, “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom.11:29). That’s to say, by divine determination every human being ever born has a gift that’s divinely bequeathed and inviolable. That means human gifts are guaranteed and undeniable. It is up to humans to turn the gift into a calling to serve both God and man. (Luk.10:27) All human gifts are vibrant and contrasting just as there are people of different color, background, nationality, and origin. In the Ministry of Reconciliation, the Spirit employs a person’s gift as a platform to promote the Ministry. The mission of reconciliation is conducted on the backs of the people’s gifts, empowered by the Spirit. So each person becomes the platform for reaching out to people with the message of reconciliation from God our Father. Just as Jesus was given the gift of healing and Savior as His platform to preach the Gospel (good news) of the message of reconciliation, we have our own unique gift following His example. (Act.10:38; Eph.2:10; Tit.2:14) Jesus Christ becomes the main proponent of the Ministry of Reconciliation for He was the only perfect human who repented for mankind, and died as the worthy sacrifice to make reconciliation possible. That is the core of the message of the Gospel.
However, whether we have taken the all-important second step of turning our gifts into a calling, a mission, for the purpose of reconciliation remains within the purview of the gifted (you). It is unfortunate and regrettable that most of us have become ‘mercenaries’ as far as human gifting is concerned. As a whole, we have utilized our gifts principally for monetary reasons. We have sold our talents to the highest bidder. We call it work, a job, occupation, profession, or whatever name we wish to give it. Whether we are plumbers, scientist, nurses, doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers, shop assistants, pilots, writers, or whatever our profession, our primary purpose has been to use our gifts for our own livelihood. Some have corrupted their gifts by carrying out illegal, criminal activities, and degrading their self worth as a person. They are oblivious to the fact that there is a day of reckoning looming when all will surely reap what they sow. Peter was a fisherman by profession. That is not wrong in its rightful place and context. However, Jesus opened up a whole new reality to Peter he never experienced before. Jesus taught him how to turn his gift into something bigger than himself. In the Ministry of Reconciliation Peter saw his gift evolved into a mission and a calling well beyond what he imagined. It gave birth to his inner authentic humanity he never knew he had, which he would not have come to know and experience otherwise. Jesus does the same with us today. How wonderful it is to look past living in the dark shadows of our self imprisonment in the sin-condition, and for the first time gaze into the light of our true humanity that’s anchored in the care and refuge of His Love. He instructs us on how to use our gifts by turning it into a calling for the Ministry of Reconciliation. Let’s listen to His words,
“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. If you decide for God… it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to Him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt.6:24-34, The Message). (To read my post, “Money and God” go to: http://bulamanriver.net/6444)
A Person’s Gift Can be Traded for Money or God – Which Will It Be? (Wiki Commons)
When we use our gifts for His divine purpose, then He promises to miraculously provide for us in every way. Our sustenance, security, well-being, and self-worth, become His responsibility. The Bible promises, “When the Lord blesses you with riches, you have nothing to regret” (Prov.10:22). Yes, we can’t improve on God’s blessing. So, God emerges as our primary employer. He employs our gifts in His Ministry. His recompense or ‘pay’ is His many promises which is the basis of the miraculous life which only He can bring about to support you and your loved ones. Peter said, “And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (2 Pet.1:4, my emphasis in italics. Also, 2 Cor.1:20). Remember what Jesus said, “Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now” (Matt.6:32-34, The Message). (You may read of God’s promises at: http://bulamanriver.net/11339)
There is nothing wrong with working to: pay the mortgage, feed your family, make the car payment, invest in your children’s education, pay the bills, take a vacation, etc. God will provide His blessing, so long as we do not turn our gifts into idols of worship. (Prov.10:22; Deut.8:18) Gifts are exchanged for money and money serves our self-interest and becomes the idol of worship, replacing God’s work of reconciliation. Idols replace God because they dominate our lives by becoming our sole and entire focus, with no thought for God who holds the key to our true self, who in turn have the answers to true joy and happiness. Peter was doing exactly that until he met Jesus. Here is what Paul adds though, “Servants (employees), respectfully obey your earthly masters (employers) but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free. Masters (employers), it’s the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them” (Eph.6:5-9, parenthesis mine, The Message). Employment is all about selling your gift to the employer who uses it to make money for the company and its shareholders. As we can see God has instruction for both employees and employers about who is the real Boss. What is Paul telling us here?
Paul says that if human talent are irrevocable gifts from a generous God as he mentions earlier (Rom.11:29), then its primary purpose and application is for the true Boss and His calling to save humanity from suffering, corruption, and ultimate extinction. Therefore, the believer is always serving God first before all else, not man’s purpose, not the company’s bottom line, and least of all not for our own self-centered interests. We are never to change the order of priority. First things must come first. God’s calling is to utilize our gifts upon the divine platform of the Ministry of Reconciliation drawing people to God’s forgiveness through the gift of repentance Jesus has made possible. The “chosen ones” are those through whom God receives prayers for reconciliation for unity with the triune Godhead to save mankind from destruction and extinction.
God Is Love (Wiki Commons)
Often we fall into the sanctimonious trap of failing to grasp that when God commands us to Love Him first above all else, including money, it is indirectly aimed at building us up for we reflect Him in His Love-nature. (Luk.10:27; Gen.1:26-27; Matt.22:37-38) Sins, like idolatry, reflects the opposite of God’s Love and tears us down and away from Him. It is a fallacy to think that by looking to our self-interest first, we epitomize how best to Love ourselves. You may think that, as many certainly do, but nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, it is in the dynamic of Loving God first and essentially being thrust into His triune Love-Being, that we actually Love ourselves truly and fittingly as humans were designed to live, as John explains, “God is Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16). Somehow, along the way we have missed the point that by Loving God first and becoming Love ourselves as “God is Love,” we are in the process of Loving ourselves authentically. How can we become Love ourselves in our being as God is, and not Love ourselves best? If we are created in God’s Love-image, then Loving Him seriously is the only way to Love ourselves genuinely.
Because sin has caused us to drift away from God, then the deeper we Love Him, the closer we come to Him and find our true self. The further we leave sin behind us, the nearer we are drawn to God and discovering how to Love ourselves more perfectly. The path to Loving others genuinely is anchored upon Loving God first, for we are all reflections of His Love in each other. (Matt.22:39-40) In human relationships, John states unequivocally how the Love-bond is reflected in our interactions, “If we Love one another, God remains in us, and His Love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12). So, when we utilize our gifts out of Love for our Father and His purpose of reconciliation with our fellow humans, we are honoring the essence of our humanity that’s made in God’s Love-likeness. And because God is Love, and no one can Love more than God does, He fills us with His Love through His Spirit and we become more Loving and discover the divine spark in us as never before. Intuitively we want to use the old self-centered paradigm and hoard Love for ourselves rather than give it away. But with Love it can’t be done. Love’s fruits are spawned by the Spirit to be given away, we cannot hoard something that’s designed to be exposed and generously shared. (1 Cor.13:1-13) Like the fruits of a tree, if the tree does not share its fruits for people to consume, they fall to the ground redundant and ineffective. That is how the divine Love works, generosity begets generosity. (Luk.6:38) Love is the divine spark in our humanity which glows brighter with each passing day when we feed on and surrender to God’s Love. The Love-fruits consist of the Christian’s daily spiritual diet that keeps his/her spiritual life nourished and healthy.
The Bible says, “Give, and it will be given to you…The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you” (Luk.6:38, GNT). Yes, this passage is encouraging us to let go and not hold back the Love the Spirit gives us to share our gifts. (Rom.5:5) It is unfortunate how religion has used this passage to elicit money from people. If you look up the context of this passage, Jesus was speaking about Love – it was about Loving your enemy, and not being judgmental. (Luk.6:27, 37) It was about relationships, not money. The closest Jesus came to mentioning money was when He said, “Woe to you who are rich” – quite the contrary. (Luk.6:24) It is speaking of using your gifts inspired by Love to repair and build relationships. It was about reconciliation. Jesus whole life embodied reconciliation.
Living the Ministry of Reconciliation on a day-to-day basis may not be as complicated as we imagine. When God’s Love is perfected in us we will know what to do. Peter helps us with his answer, “Keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy” (1 Pet.3:15, italics mine). God has distributed talents and skills in all humanity so people are inquisitive when they witness the divine spark (Spirit’s move) in you and ask questions wanting to know more. Truly, our action speaks louder than our words. Paul said, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other” (1 Cor.12:7). But when we are given to speak the message of the Ministry (repentance and forgiveness in Jesus), we do so courteously and never try to force it down people’s throat. We were never called to be judges so we refrain from being judgmental. Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luk.6:37; Rom.2:1). Never complicate life, simplify it. God promises that His Spirit will enable us to use our words fittingly. (Luk.12:12; Act.2:4) Repentance and forgiveness must be presented perceptively that’s tailored to the inquirer’s reality, for people are never alike in gift and circumstance. This calls for discernment, sensitivity, and compassion. Gentleness and respect must the hallmark of our speech. Yet, our most effective tool is simply our example, yes, our actions speaks volumes.
We speak graciously because no one is capable of converting the human heart and mind – only the Spirit can do that. That is His role. That is the first lesson we must learn as a believer. Too often we think we are sent to convert others so we have the tendency to be judgmental toward others, when in truth we are conduits to answer questions about the hope in us so the Spirit will do His part in converting the human heart. No one can perform a task which belongs to another. Paul said, “Because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction” (1 Thess.1:5, italics my emphasis). To convict the heart to repent and activate forgiveness is a miraculous activity which only the Spirit can do, and our words, prayers, and gifts, help in the process. So Paul admonishes, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Col.4:6). We are conduits for the Spirit as one sent so Jesus who resides in us may do His work. (Isa.30:21; Psa.32:8) On the day of Pentecost, 3,000 people was added to the church, but who was responsible for changing people’s hearts? (Act.2:41) Was it entirely Peter’s doing? No, he was largely the conduit for the Spirit, whose miraculous power touched and moved people’s hearts. God wants us to participate in His saving work. But we must know and play our role faithfully.
Most of us are not called to be preachers, much less gifted in public speaking. However, we are all called to be ministers of our gifts and talents. You are uniquely gifted and no one is exactly like you, so God has given humanity a level playing field where we can all play a part in His Ministry. The Bible says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Pet.4:10). No one is left out. No one is superior neither inferior, and no gift is too small nor too great, that God cannot utilize them for His purpose and Ministry. Not a single person can claim he/she has nothing to offer for life comes with its inherent gift. We are all born to have a part in saving mankind through His Ministry of Reconciliation and bring people to repentance and forgiveness. Remember Peter’s words, “tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are,” and do it to the best of your ability in Love, and the Spirit will do His part. We cannot live any other way aside from a life that’s in sync with our gifts empowered in the Spirit’s Love.
Yes, the Spirit is the power of God’s Love who takes up residence in human life and changes human gifts into instruments for God’s peace and reconciliation. (1 Cor.3:16-17) Just as Christ has lived and sacrificed Himself for us, let us reciprocate by surrendering our gifts for His divine purpose. In the end, it is God the Holy Spirit who possesses divine power that will resurrect believers and impart eternal life upon humanity. (John 6:40; Rom.8:11; 1 Cor.15:51-56) So human destiny will not end in extinction but restoration. Mankind will not wind-up in obscurity but immortality. What a privilege each one of you have of contributing to humanity’s liberation and glorious future. God is pleased with you, “chosen ones.”
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or you may email me on email@example.com. You may read many other helpful and uplifting articles at http://bulamanriver.net/. Thank you for visiting.
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”** in the person of Jesus’ “Immanuel humanity.” Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
(Your Servant In Christ)
*Herald: it is the friendship name I have personally call the Holy Spirit.
**“Triune Life” means to inherit human personhood identifying us as true persons with gifts in Christ and living according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27; Rom.8:29) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional attributing life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life in himself (“Adamic humanity”). It means to live in relationship with God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who lives and walks in you (“Immanuel humanity”). Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) This is a life of divine power. You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092, also at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036)
>>> Read about my true-life miracle I shared in my book and post, titled, “Miracle Living-No Ordinary Life!” I hope you find it inspiring and encourages you to receive Jesus and live the “Triune Life.” Go to: http://bulamanriver.net/2634
***Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.net, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, xulonpress.com, and other book store sites where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living”
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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