Tag Archive for Ministry of Reconciliation

In Communion with God

Communion or fellowship is the act of sharing: it is the condition of things held in common with others. God’s desire for humanity is that they can share with Him, His divine nature.
From the creation of Man God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” so God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:26, 27).
Unfortunately, the fellowship became tainted because of sin, and man became separated from God (Isaiah 59:1- 2; Rom. 3: 23).
But because of the great love with which He loved us, It pleased the Father to bruise His only begotten Son by whom all things were created, and in whom all things consist, to put Him to grief, by making His soul an offering for sin, so that the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. (Eph. 2:4; Isa. 53:10-11; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15-17).
And now, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these, He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”(2 Pet.1:3-4).
However, for man to have communion or fellowship with God the Father, four (4) things are of paramount importance. They form the prerequisites for communion with God, and the medium by which we share the life of God.
Now the four prerequisites are:-
1. Reconciliation.
To renew the relationship man had with God before the fall of man. A huge sacrifice had to be made to pay the wages of sin, which is death. God in His manifold wisdom and love for humanity, sent His Son in the form of sinful flesh, on account of sin, so as to condemn sin in the flesh, knowing that His death was sufficient to pay for all humanity’s sins, and reconciled them to Himself.(2 Cor. 5:14-15, Heb. 2:14-15; Rom. 8:1-4).
God reconciled humanity to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing or reckoning their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19).
We then have both the ministry and the word of reconciliation.
The ministry of reconciliation is, “The act of service by which we are reconciled to God.” The actual sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and the actual partaking of the bread and wine which Christ left to represent His broken body, and His shed blood. According to the Apostle Paul, “I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (fellowship) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many, are one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10:15-17).
It is the ministry or service of reconciliation that reconciles and unites the body of Christ which is the church as one.
And this communion or fellowship of the saints is also with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).
The word of reconciliation is the word Jesus spoke to His disciples saying, “I tell you the truth, unless you can eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him” (John 6:53-56).
And so the night before He was crucified, He took Bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26: 26-28).
On Christ’s behalf, we implore you to be reconciled to God, because God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).

2. Acceptance of Jesus Christ and believing in Him

Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
There is a practical application to this saying, and Jesus Christ is the one and only Mediator between God and man. He was taken from among men, and appointed as High Priest to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins (Hebrews 2:5, 5:1; 8:3).
It is stated quite categorically that, if we say that we have no sin, or have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word and truth have no place in our lives. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8, 10).

Our boldness and confidence to enter the Most Holy Place is only by:-
a. The blood of Christ, His life, in the form of the wine.
b. His body, the new and living way, in the form of the Unleavened Bread
c. Christ Himself, the word, the truth, officiating as the Great High Priest over the house of God.

Then and only then can we draw near to God with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
The crux of the matter is, God is light; in Him there is no darkness (sin) at all, and if we claim to have fellowship/communion with Him yet walk in the darkness (sin), we lie and do not live by the truth.”
Therefore, before coming to God sin has to be confessed, forgiven, and cleansed. And it is only by the blood of Jesus His Son that we are purified from all sin. (1 John 1:7, 9; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1;14; Matt.: 26: 28).

3. Obedience.
Obedience to God is paramount. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Again He said, “If you love Me keep My commandments” (John 14:23, 15).
Now the test by which we know that we love God is by keeping His commandments. For, “He who says, “I know Him” and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the The truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-5).
It is also important to note that The Holy Spirit, our Teacher and Helper is given only to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32).

4. Holiness.
We are admonished by the Apostle Paul saying, “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
To have communion with God, one has to separate him/herself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. Righteousness has absolutely no fellowship with lawlessness, light has no communion with darkness, Christ has no harmony with Belial (useless things without worth); and the temple of God which is our human body has no agreement with idols” (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
The good and exhilarating news is that, Jesus Christ has made all the provisions for man to have communion with the Father through the cup of the New Covenant. Alienation or separation from the life of God, is as a result of “Ignorance, and hardening of the heart. (Eph. 4:18).
But truly, in the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.I therefore urge everyone to have daily communion with God, and offer the Lord the food for His offerings at the times He has appointed, because our calling is a holy calling.
With love in Jesus’ name.
Lucius Joseph

The Ministry of Reconciliation

Lucius JosephEveryone who has been reconciled to God through Jesus has been given a responsibility, which is, the ministry of reconciliation. Now a ministry is an office, a duty, or times of service of a minister. I am in the view that there are not too many professing Christians who know and understand the difference between one being drawn to Christ, and one being drawn to the Father.
Jesus said quite emphatically, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” This drawing to Christ by the Father was made at the cross, as Jesus again said; “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Humanity was all drawn to Jesus Christ by the Father when Christ died on the cross for the sins of all humanity, giving them an access by which they can draw near to the Father. But for humanity to draw near to the Father it must be through Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life, and the only mediator between God and man, otherwise no one comes to the Father.
There is however a definite process by which Jesus Christ draws a person to the Father. Infact, there has always been a process by which anyone could draw near to God. In the Old Testament for example it was through the law of animal sacrifices, which although could not present the worshiper perfect, yet it was necessary, and so we are told that; “The law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19).
Therefore, the criterion by which one is drawn near to the Father is through perfection, holiness, being blameless in His sight, in perfect harmony with God, for He is light, and has absolutely no fellowship with darkness. And, “This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘ By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3).
For anyone to be drawn to the Father, he/she must be in complete harmony with the Father, holy, and blameless in His sight. So how can this be possible when it is clearly stated that, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” And, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us?”
The only way that this becomes feasibly is by, walking in the light as He is in the light, and then, and only then can we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. And, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The process by which one in drawn near to the Father is called the process of reconciliation, which is the act of reconciling, bringing into harmony, in agreement, and to purify by special ceremonies, through the offering of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and therefore to fulfill this requirement, believers have been given the ministry of reconciliation.
And so we are told that, “We have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
As ministers of the new covenant, our task is to offer to the Lord the food for His offerings, which He has appointed us to offer to Him at its appointed time. For the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time” (Numbers 28:2).
Bear in mind that what transpired in the old testament was a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, because when Moses was about to make the tabernacle he was divinely instructed saying, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” And, it is also stated that, “It was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”
To appear before God through Jesus Christ one must be in harmony with the Father, and what gives us the confidence and boldness to appear in the presence of the Father, is stated quite explicitly by the apostle Paul who wrote; “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.’
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
The irony of truth is, we can only fulfill our ministry of reconciliation by believing the testimony which God has given us concerning His Son, and applying it as ordained.
Copyright © 2012 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

THe Process of Reconciliation

The Process of Reconciliation

The second step towards man’s reconciliation is Christ drawing man to the Father. For he said quite explicitly: “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” There is only one God; and one Mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all men” (John 14:6; 1Timothy 2:5-6).

This aspect of Christ drawing men to the Father is made possible also by three inseparable links.

  1. Jesus Christ officiating as our High Priest

Seeing that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

It is the qualification and appointment of every high priest taken from among men, in things pertaining to God, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; and therefore, it is necessary that Christ himself also has something to offer. Now since he continues forever, and has an unchangeable priesthood, he is also able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

  1. Jesus Christ offering his body as a sin offering to reconcile us to the Father

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Christ, 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. Once we were alienated from God and were enemies in our minds because of our evil behavior. But now he has reconciled us by Christ’s physical body through death to present us holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

The broken body of Jesus Christ which is now represented by the unleavened bread is the new and living way to the presence God, which Christ has consecrated for us in his flesh.

  1. Jesus Christ offering his blood as the propitiation for our sins

It is the blood the purifies, it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul, and it is the blood that purges the conscience from dead works in order to serve the living God, and grants us the boldness to enter the Most Holy place. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean, how much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God. Cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.

The confession we have to hold on to, and called to persevere is simply this; “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good works. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:19-25).

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