Monday, July 20, 2015

Restored relationships (8)

Reconciliation: end of conflict, restoration of friendly relations, reunion, bringing together (again), restoration of peace...

This blog series about reconciliation turned out to be a little bit longer than I intended it to be. And even then I barely scratched the surface of this interesting topic. There is so much to learn and read and do and write about it :)

Reconciliation simply means 'restored relationship' and that is the foundation of the Christian faith.

It shows the heart of God: He desires HEALTHY relationships on various levels: Reconciliation between Him and mankind, between Him and Israel, between Jewish people and Gentiles and.... between you and me and the people around us!

God desires friendship with all people. An important Scripture about the heart of God in this can be found in Colossians 1:19-20, For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [that is Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

That is good news. God is not mad at mankind, He reconciled all things to Himself and made peace. The problem is that we are the ones who often refuse to take His kindness as an example. We often hang on to bitterness, anger, jealousy, hatred, slander and gossip. God does not want this. He loves mankind and He wants us to love one another and to live in peace.

Romans 12:18 says: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Is that easy? Nope! Should we try? Yep.

It is not an option. We have received the assignment to tell others about the possibilities of reconciliation and we should desire to restore relationships, wherever we go. Corinthians 5:18-20 says it like this:  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

We all have the ministry, this message, of reconciliation which, by the way, does NOT mean that we should only TALK about restored relationships... of course we must ACT this out as well, on a personal level.

Would the world look different if we did so, what do you think?
Is there a relationship that you could mend?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Restored relationships (7)

Reconciliation: end of conflict, restoration of friendly relations, reunion, bringing together (again), restoration of peace...

'As far as God is concerned, the friendship has been restored' I wrote in the previous blog post. Reconciliation simply means 'restored relationship'. The Bible shows that concept on various levels: God and mankind in general, God and Israel specific.... 

And what about us... how do we relate to one another? What can be said about the reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles (non-Jewish people)? Currently we can see a worldwide anti-Semitism rising up again, with severe hatred in Europe and the Middle East. Have we not understood God's plan of reconciliation?

Why are the Jewish people different from all other people on earth? Did they ask for that? Did they make it up? No! God wanted it that way. In Leviticus 20:24B He says: I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. Israel and the Jewish people were set apart because they would bring forth the promised Messiah. Jesus (the Jewish Messiah) acknowledged this fact in His discussion with the Samaritan woman when He said that salvation would come from the Jews (John 4:22).

Jesus, the Son of God, was born of a Jewish mother. He lived and worked in Israel. He came to bring reconciliation between God and all of mankind, starting with the Jewish people! He said: I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24).

The apostle Paul explains it again in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Until the time of Jesus it was forbidden for Jewish people to mix with other peoples/nations (and in some orthodox circles it is still so). It drastically changed when the apostle Peter began to understand Gods grace through a vision (Acts 10:28). The good news of reconciliation is now for everyone! (Acts 10:34-36).

Through our faith in the Messiah our relationship with God has been restored as well as our relationship with the Jewish people, we are now brothers and sisters of one Father. Romans 10:12 explains it like this: For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

God's specific plan with Israel (also called the olive tree) is still standing. The gentiles (non-Jewish people) are branches that are being grafted into this tree. We will grow together and bear fruit!

Think about it: reconciliation = end of conflict! Wouldn't it be great to see that happening in our world today? It starts with this question: Have you fully accepted His plan of reconciliation?