The topic of reconciliation is central to the doctrine of Salvation, it is also safe to say in my humble opinion that reconciliation is a doctrine of its own. I believe it is the central theme of a relational God who is looking to reconcile His creation back to God’s self. When we analyze the first testament God is looking to reconcile the children of Israel who have been estranged because of their sins, transgressions, and iniquity. They’ve spent 430 years in slavery and had not known the ways of their God anymore. There seems to be a constant clarion call by God to God’s people to stop a-whoring after other gods (idolatry) and to come back to their first love. This is extended to all of humanity in the New Testament as we view many of the old testament books that pertain to the subject of reconciliation as historical documents. God gives us the method of reconciliation by the type and shadows visible in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, this system is central in reconciliation and repentance as it is the only method displayed in the Old Testament. The Old Testament way of covering sin, In my opinion, displayed a God that seemed amorphous and less relational. The God of the Old testament then replaces the Old covenant with a person who would be the new covenant, The Lord Jesus Christ. The method of substitution is a remarkable concept in the act of a new covenantal relationship. God has now chosen God’s own Son to be the epicenter of salvation and reconciliation, once for all sacrificial satisfaction. “ Brueggemann said that the Torah is the 2 source of life, the way in which to be deeply in sync with the creator God who wills forgiveness and reconciliation.”1 The concept of reconciliation is not devoid of forgiveness and repentance. The God of relationship provides the vehicle of reconciliation through the act of substitution. The act of substitution was a paramount type and shadow exhibited in the old testament, that act of substitution still tethered to life and the shedding of blood, but subsequently became a onetime act of substitution that bring reconciliation to all of those who desire to have not only their sins are forgiven but a true relationship with the true and living God. “God Became a man that would be a god.” As a leader and considering the plight of the marginalized and disenfranchised, the question as ministers and leaders are how do we reconcile certain segments of society through the great commission. The Author of the Gospel of Matthew I believe gives us a great example of a parable concerning our care for those that fill these categories that we should be seeking to be reconciled… Matthew 25:35-45 KJV “35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.”
1 Brueggemann, Walter. Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks: Reality, Grief, and Hope. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014, 112. 3
We have a directive if we believe in the words of Jesus written in the gospels, specifically the gospel of Matthew. It also brings me to ponder on the entire council of God and the Word that became flesh to indwell humanity, that although it seems like the old testament God was different the scriptures debunks that statement. The approach and methodology become more relational because the method is a person. It is the explicit reason why Jesus came as a human to be the propitiation for all sin in a total act of reconciliation that is based on love. There is no true reconciliation without love, repentance, and forgiveness, all fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Now the act of reconciling others from a dehumanizing standard or caring for those who may not fit into our social construct from a position of leadership is a feat that must be fashioned by the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. We, I believe have a mandate which I believe is of the Gospel of the kingdom of God. Our research projects regardless of what they are should be focused on the reconciliation of the segments of society we are targeting in these projects. We live in a time where the entire society is divided into many categories. In our churches, we have denominational differences, socio-economic divisions, ethnic divisions, religious divisions, we are separated into these categories. The one thing the coronavirus has shown us that certain situations do not respect any of the categories mentioned above and show the frailty of our humanity, their others that do the same all negative, death and taxes. Why can’t we reunite humanity under the banner of love, why can’t we allow the gospel to bring us all together? Isn’t it why Jesus came, isn’t the gospel of reconciliation all wrapped up in the kingdom and the king of kings? Let’s focus on why God sent God’s only begotten son to earth to reconcile humanity.