Greeting Friends! The Bible calls God’s purpose to save and restore humanity to its rightful place in the divine will, 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 from the unfathomable depth of His Love, God has taken the first step to reach out and save fallen humans from the sin-condition under which humanity has been held prisoner to Satan, the devil. (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 word ‘ministry’ conveys a mission, an undertaking, an obligation and responsibility, to complete the task and business at hand. ‘Reconciliation’ 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. In mitigating a state of discord, the passage says, God is “Reconciling us to Himself through Christ.” It means divine reconciliation is entirely different from other forms of restoration common to humans. The common refrain “I am sorry” is a form of everyday conciliation expression most humans know. People appear before a judge in a court case to make reparation for an offense is another common form of seeing that justice is done, and quite possibly, reconciliation. In many customs and cultures people have different and wide-ranging methods of appeasement and settlement that are practiced.
However, in the area of divine mediation God has determined there is only one way of mitigating human sin and rebellion against Him. There is no other means by which humanity can be mediated in the divine reconciliation except through God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. By the same breadth, He is the only conduit by which God’s Love flows to mankind and brings divine accommodation for reconciliation with God. (John 3:16) A person or a group of people may sacrifice as many livestock upon a thousand hills, but their supposed act of conciliation will all be for naught; for God has determined from the foundation of the world, and the beginning of time, that there is but one way and one Person by whom reconciliation with God and the divine will can be done – His only Son, Jesus Christ. (Gen.3:14-15; John 3:16-17)
What is atonement? It is the restitution paid for making peace through reconciliation possible. The price of restitution is the life and blood of Jesus Christ. (Col.1:20; 1 Cor.7:23; Act.20:28; John 3:16) So, Jesus Christ is humanity’s complete Savior, being the only instrument of reconciliation with God. He is our atonement for sin and rebellion when He sacrificed Himself through the shedding of His blood upon His cross. And Jesus did not remain a dead Savior upon His cross, but God raised Him up from the dead so that He can continue His work of mediating for humanity’s peace as our glorious High Priest in heaven forever. (1 Cor.6:14; Mar.16:19; Heb.4.14-16) Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. (Isa.9:6) All of the above encapsulates the finished work of reconciliation God has accomplished for humanity through His Son.
As humans, we do not know what to do or how to be reconciled to God to begin with. Nor do we understand what to bring and offer to God to make recompense and redress for our transgressions. Humans have no clue or guide as far as his interaction and relationship with the divine will and purpose of Almighty God. But then we see God, who is Love in His very Being and substance extends grace and provided for and done all that mankind needs in this regard. Thus, being reconciled through His Son, we see the culmination of the divine will in making humanity His very offspring, possessing immortality. (John 3:16-17; Act.20:28; 2 Cor.5:18; 1 Cor.15:53) So, we see the display of God’s Love in the following aspects:
- Mission – God’s Love and Mercy (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8)
- Reconciliation – Jesus the Son, the Messiah (2 Cor.5:18; Rom.5:10)
- Atonement – Blood and Life of Jesus (Act.20:28; Col.1:20; Lev.17:14)
- Reborn/Offspring – Made Immortal children (John 3:3, 5; 1 Cor.15:54)
- Eternal Mediation through Jesus as High Priest (Heb.4:14)
As we approach the season of Passover and Easter in the Christian calendar, I wish for us to pause and consider these five outpouring heartfelt urgings of God’s Love to reconcile fallen humanity as His continuous mission upon this earth to bring us into His eternal kingdom as immortal offspring.
I invite you to join me in my next post about the subject of “The Cross.” The Cross is the symbol of reconciliation and peace. Paul said, “Through Him (Jesus) to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross” (Col.1:20).
I will close with the following postscript. One of the mission task God gave His Son was to inaugurate a vital blessing to indicate a person’s commitment to God’s mission of reconciliation outlined above. Jesus was to inaugurate the baptismal blessing of spiritual rebirth through access to the Holy Spirit. This was utterly important for the restoration of God’s purpose for humanity which was lost in Eden. (Gen.1:26-27; 3:11, 23-24)
We are receiving this vital link to our Edenic paradisal past through the baptismal template of Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. There were followers who were baptized as John’s disciples, not Jesus’ (Luk.7:18-19) John explained the difference, he told the people, “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be His slave and carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matt.3:11).
John said, “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God” (Matt.3:11). But Jesus was sinless. (1 John 3:5; 2 Cor.5:21) So, what was the purpose of Jesus’ baptism, John explains, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (John 3:11). Only Jesus was given the task by God of introducing the Holy Spirit to humanity. (John 16:7; Luk.24:49) So, Jesus took up the baptism of John for repentance of sin on mankind’s behalf, and above all introduced the baptism of the Holy Spirit through Him as Messiah.
While performing baptism in the Jordan, John recognized Jesus approaching him, and knew he could not baptize Jesus for He was without sin, “But John tried to talk Him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by You,” he said, “so why are You coming to me?” (Matt.3:14, NLT). Jesus answered John saying, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires. So, John agreed to baptize Him.” (Matt.3:15).
Both Jesus and John had separate but related baptismal missions from God to carry out. In Jesus’ baptism, He repented for humanity (for He had no sin), and in so doing, He inaugurated the coming of the Holy Spirit. For immediately “After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My dearly Loved Son, who brings Me great joy” (Matt.3:16-17, NLT) Here, we see how the Holy Spirit was introduced to humanity since the fall of man in Eden, and later poured out upon humanity on Pentecost. (Act.2:1-4) After the fall of Adam and Eve in Eden, humanity was cut off from the ‘tree of life’ which symbolized the Holy Spirit. (Gen.3:22-23) But now, through Jesus’ mediation as the atonement for sin, He is made to come back as mankind’s Helper and Friend. (John 14:26)
When humans receive the blessing of the baptismal ceremony, they are doing so in the template of Jesus’ own baptism wherein the Spirit is inherently conferred as a gift from God the Father. He took up John’s baptism of repentance on behalf of all humanity for all time, past, present, and future, on top of His sacrifice as atonement, paid the final solution to sin. (Heb.9:24-28) Humans cannot be baptized for both repentance and the Holy Spirit except it is done in the template of Jesus’ baptism. Thus, Jesus told John that what they were commissioned to do would “fulfill all righteousness” (Matt.3:15).
And yes, for each and every baptism, the Father joyfully uses the same compliment articulated upon Jesus at His baptism, “You are My dearly Loved children, who brings Me great joy” (Matt.3:17; Luk.3:22) This is not our baptism by virtue of personal choice, no, but in freely receiving Christ as Savior, we are baptized into the template of Christ’s own baptism of the Holy Spirit who brings the power of reconciliation and peace inaugurated by Him in the Jordan for all time.
Through Jesus, the presence of the Holy Spirit gives passage for humans to undergo this spiritual rebirth. That is the major theme in Jesus’ baptism. Jesus tell us about what the Spirit does to human believers, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). Yes, the Spirit gives humanity the passage to enter God’s holy presence at and before His very seat of mercy to petition His goodness.
However, the Spirit cannot come without Jesus’ prior mediation as Savior and Redeemer who absolves all human sin and rebellion, and through His baptism gave passage for the Holy Spirit to come and indwell humans. (1 Cor.3:16) And this takes place at the point of receiving and partaking in the template of Jesus’ baptism where He has taken up John’s baptism of repentance, and “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (John 3:11, also, Rom.6:3-7). Before Jesus’ ascension into heaven, He told the disciples,“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Act.1:4-5).
This is a life of faith in Jesus’ finished work, it is not about what you and I can or can’t do. (Rom.1:17; 3:22; Heb.11:6) Paul said, “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Rom.9:16). Further, he added, “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:21, italics my emphasis). We rest our trust and faith entirely upon God’s profound and abiding mercy.
We are sadly mistaken when we assume the human brain is for cerebral/intellectual activity alone. The brain, whensoever ordained and charged in God’s Spirit, becomes the human mind which possesses a transcendant quality with infinite capacity beyond our knowing and cognizance. General Douglas McArthur said, “It must be of the ‘spirit’ if we are to save the flesh.” Yes, the world does not need us to save it, but more so we need saving so the world can be saved.
Petition: Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus who is our hope and has enabled us to live the Triune Life*. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven seated at His Father’s side, and ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious Immanuel humanity made children of God forever.
You can privately and quietly pray the prayer below in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination, or divisions one may espouse – but into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the holy temple for the holy God, the Creator’s dwelling:
Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant Your promised celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me and all humanity. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”
Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s holy, eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by reading and studying your Bible, and visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects listed in our ‘archives’ that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net. You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.
Personal Blessing: 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”* Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Farewell for now!
Appendix: *”Triune Life”: Relationship with God has no meaning without Love. By its very nature, Love cannot endure in solitary existence. So, when God said “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” He was revealing Himself as existing in His trinitarian existence. That is, His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen.1:26; Matt.28:19; John 14:10, 16; 16:7) The Hebrew word for ‘God’ in the creation account is “Elohim.” It describes God in His plurality, as the Trinity – the Tri-Personal Godhead, which other scriptures attests. (Matt.28:18-20; 1 Pet.1:2; 2 Thess.2:13; 2 Cor.13:14) So, God is Trinitarian in His Love nature. He is also clothed in Freedom. For the three Persons of the Trinity are three distinct and free Persons in the triune Godhead. Love and Freedom by nature is relational as God is in His Tri-Personal Being. Hence, a human being was created a relational being.
Adam was solitary and incomplete until God made Eve. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (solitary). I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18, italics mine). So, God gave Adam a family to raise composed of a father, mother, and offspring, to reflect Himself in His plural Being. The Bible states that the Church’s or humanity’s destiny is to marry Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, in the new age to come which will be an everlasting relationship. (2 Cor.11:2; Eph.5:23-27, 32; Rev.19:7) The Bible is abundantly clear about God’s nature and declaration of Himself in His relational Triune Being from the past, the present, and the future. God has never lived as a solitary Being, but a Tri-Personal Being.
It’s noteworthy to understand that Eve was not created an individual creation from the dust of the earth as was Adam. She was not created apart from Adam as an individualized separate human being, instead, she was taken out from Adam’s side to show she was biologically one and indivisibly part of Adam. Eve was not detached (solitary) from Adam, but intrinsically inseparable from Adam’s innermost humanity. When Adam saw Eve, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen.2:21-23) God created humanity to reflect Himself in His unified Tri-Personal Being (Trinity).
Each one of us was created as an indivisible relational human being incubated and given birth from Adam’s mold as one species, for God created humanity to reflect the eternal likeness in His triunity. We are born for relationships with the divine triune Love as our guiding principle. All this show that humans were created to be indivisibly one to reflect God’s Tri-Personal image of Oneness (Trinity), not solitary separateness. When God sent Jesus His eternal Son, He became human in order to unify humanity spiritually to the Triune Being of God through Christ once for all time. Hence, when the prophet Isaiah proclaimed Jesus’ coming, He was given the prophetic name, Immanuel. (Isa.7:14) The name means “God with us” (Matt.1:23). Humanity is ‘organically’ one with the Triune God through Christ, just as humanity is one with Adam.
Most religions believe God as some solitary being. The true God is not solitary by any means, He is the one Triunity in His Tri-Personal Being. God consist of three Persons in One divine triune Godhead. They exist in One “homoousion” meaning consisting in one substance, or “consubstantiality.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in One hypostatic union, One substance, like Eve was biologically part of and never physically separate, but of one substance from Adam, for she came out of Adam. Likewise, humanity is made of one spiritual substance with the triune God through Jesus Christ who took our humanity upon Himself and joined it to the divine triune existence forever.
The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
***Homoousios: “In Christianity, the key term of the Christological doctrine formulated at the first ecumenical council, held at Nicaea in 325, to affirm that God the Son and God the Father are of the same substance. The Council of Nicaea condemned Arianism, which taught that Christ was more than human but not fully divine. The use of homoousios (Greek: “of one substance”) in the creed produced at the council was meant to put an end to the controversy” – https://www.britannica.com/topic/homoousios).
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love 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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