Peace and Reconciliation
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” —Ephesians 2:14-16
Picture in your mind a cross with one straight line that goes north to south and another that goes east to west. Above that cross, I want you to picture God, and on the bottom of that cross, man. On the left side is a Christian, and on the right side is another Christian. With that image in your mind, I want you to picture Christ in the center.
Throughout this article, I want you to keep in mind that Christ and His completed work brought peace and reconciliation between man and God and between the Christian and his brother or sister in the Lord.
Many believers are thankful for the peace and reconciliation between God and themselves. However, the issue between two Christians is not that easy to deal with.
The subject of unity has been misappropriated or misaligned over the past few decades. For most, unity is the idea of going along to get along when that has nothing to do with absolute unity.
Unity is not the state of being multiple, but one. It is the idea of two becoming one with no separation between the two parties.
Paul deals with unity between two parties—the Jews and the Gentiles. For reference, there was no love lost between these two factions. The Jews looked down upon the Gentiles, and the Gentiles did not look favorably toward the Jews. Yet Paul explains to his Gentile followers that there can be peace and reconciliation between them through Christ.
Christ has made all men one. All can approach God on the same basis and equal footing. There are not multiple ways to get to God with one path for the Jews and one for the Gentiles; there is one path alone for all.
Paul demonstrates that through Christ and the cross, both Jew and Gentile are on equal standing before the world’s Redeemer and that whatever barrier was between these two camps, Christ tore down the middle wall of partition and brought peace and reconciliation between them.
Not only did Christ remove the barrier between God and man, but He also removed the one between two opposing rivals.
If a person is to have true peace with God, he must have peace with his fellow man. If there is hostility against a fellow Christian, true peace with God cannot be realized in his heart.
We need to read and reread this statement very carefully: There cannot be true peace with God if there is enmity against a fellow believer. This means that we are to constantly apply forgiveness and seek peace with fellow believers, regardless of what has happened between the two entities.
Jesus declares to His disciples that when it comes to forgiveness, believers are to extend forgiveness on an unlimited basis (Matt. 18:21-22) and never hold a grudge toward anyone. Regardless of the situation, the Christian who practices forgiveness understands and appreciates the work of Christ, sees that he has been forgiven so much, and understands the need to forgive quickly.
A Story Of Grace
I will never forget a story my grandfather told in church one Sunday morning. I was a teenager sitting in a congregation, and he was dealing with the subject of forgiveness. I will not go into every detail of the story. Still, there was someone of some notoriety whose sole objective was to destroy my grandfather and his ministry. My grandfather was trying to pray about this issue, and he was asking the Lord to help him to forgive this individual. It was during a moment of prayer that the Lord spoke to the heart of my grandfather and gave him these words: “Show that person the same grace that I have shown you.”
Those words have stuck with me all these years. I realize that God has shown me a tremendous amount of grace and because of that I must show someone else the same type of grace and forgiveness.
The act of reconciliation is just as crucial as establishing peace. Reconciliation is changing enmity to friendship, the act of bringing two parties together to restore.
The idea is that there is a divide between two or more parties and, through specific measures, there is reunification.
Seeing that Christ brought both Jew and Gentile—two antagonistic parties—together through Christ, there should never be hostility between two Christians.
Separation or segregation should have no part within the body of Christ. If there is a division between two Christian parties, the biblical and right thing to do is to come together and try and reconcile their differences.
We are all a part of one body, serving one God, experiencing salvation and forgiveness from one Savior, with one Spirit working within our lives, and heading to one eternal home—heaven.
As Christians, we need to know that the same blood that washes me washes my fellow Christian. The same Holy Spirit who works within me works within my brother or sister in Christ. Blood is always thicker than water.
And, even though there might be disagreements between family, family always sticks together. I am calling for the body of Christ to come together. We are family, and we are one. We might have some disagreements that come up, but we have one goal in mind—the salvation of souls.
We need to practice what we preach, offer forgiveness when necessary, and present restoration where required.
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