Ministers of Reconciliation

MEMORY VERSE: “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and bath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” —II Corinthians 5:19


FOR many professed Christians, believing on Jesus and becoming his followers is largely a matter of being “saved.” But Paul corrected this limited view when he wrote, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” (Phil. 1:29) To suffer with Christ means that one is active in serving him. The point is that Christians are called for a purpose, and that purpose is that they might lay down their lives in the service of the divine plan, which, in brief, is the reconciliation of the world to God.

Mankind became alienated from God because of original sin, but God still loved his human creation, and sent his Son into the world to bring about a reconciliation, and he prepared the way for this reconciliation through Jesus’ death on Calvary’s cross. Our lesson states that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”—vs. 19

The “word of reconciliation” is the “Gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation.” (I Pet. 1:5) But in order for anyone to hear the Gospel it must be communicated to him. Paul wrote, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”—Rom. 10:13-15

Jesus, through his death, provided the basis of peace with God, but the “word of reconciliation” must be proclaimed in order to be heard, accepted, and become a new moving power in one’s life. And it is to this work that the Christian is called—God hath committed unto us the “word of reconciliation.”

What this means, Paul further explains, is that consecrated believers become “ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin [a sin-offering]; … that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”—vss. 20,21

Thus we see that the faithful followers of the Master have a very definite part in the ministry of reconciliation. In the first verse of the next chapter they are described as “workers together with God,” and we are admonished not to receive this high favor of God “in vain,” but to be faithful to our calling.

Then Paul adds, “For he saith [quoting from Isaiah 49], I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (II Cor. 6:2) This text has been misused to prove that there will be no opportunity to be reconciled to God beyond the present life; that this is the only “acceptable time,” the only “day of salvation.”

But Paul is not here referring to the human life span at all, but to ages or periods in the divine plan of salvation. The present age is the age of sacrifice, when the ambassadors of Christ lay down their lives communicating the Gospel of reconciliation as widely as possible. It is the “day” of what Paul describes as the “great salvation,” when those called to be the ambassadors of Christ prove their worthiness of living and reigning with Christ in his thousand-year kingdom.

And this thousand years of Christ’s reign will be a “day” or period when the Gospel of reconciliation will be effectively communicated to all mankind. During that day all evil influences will be restrained, Satan will be bound, and the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Then sickness, pain, and death will be destroyed, and all will be invited to partake of the waters of life freely.


What is the purpose of God in the calling of the true believers of the present age?

What did Paul mean when he spoke of the “accepted time”?

When will mankind in general be reconciled to God?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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