My church, like most churches, has different ministries. You can find them listed on the back of the weekly bulletin and on the church website: women’s ministry, men’s ministry, children’s ministry, service ministry, etc. But one ministry I have never seen printed on a bulletin or listed on a church’s website is the ministry of reconciliation.
Yet the Bible tells us, all Christ followers are called to the ministry of reconciliation. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NKJV
One could argue the different ministries within our churches fall under the umbrella of the ministry of reconciliation; but let’s look at this call to be ministers of reconciliation a little closer.
What does it mean to be reconciled?
As used in 2 Corinthians 5:18, reconciled means “to return to favor.” How we lost favor in the first place requires a brief history lesson.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they lost favor with God and passed along their sinful nature to all their descendants (that’s you and me). The Old Testament law was intended to reconcile God’s people to God, but with sin still in the picture, true reconciliation was impossible.
So our loving, gracious God, sent Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice of atonement. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
From sinner to child of God through Christ Jesus is reconciliation. And because we have been reconciled, we are given the ministry of reconciliation.
What is the ministry of reconciliation?
Ministry in this context means proclaiming and promoting religion among men and women. Essentially, we are supposed to share with others the good news of the cross.
Commentary writer Matthew Henry explains the ministry of reconciliation well:
“ it is the great end and design of the gospel, that word of reconciliation, to prevail upon sinners to lay aside their enmity against God. Faithful ministers are Christ’s ambassadors [2 Corinthians 5:20], sent to treat with sinners on peace and reconciliation: they come in God’s name, with his entreaties, and act in Christ’s stead, doing the very thing he did when he was upon this earth, and what he wills to be done now that he is in heaven.”
Therefore, the ministry of reconciliation is the continuation of Jesus’ ministry here on earth—to reconcile people with God.
How do we live as minsters of reconciliation?
Since we are ambassadors of Christ, we begin our ministry by purifying our hearts and developing the very characteristics of Christ himself. Then we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We love others well, speak gentle truth, show people their need for God, and share the power of the gospel.
This is what Jesus meant when he said blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are those reconciling the lost to the Father. Blessed are those who view peacemaking with an eternal perspective.
Yet as we embrace our role as peacemaker, let’s remember, only through Christ can someone be reconciled to God. Our job is to spread the good news, but the Holy Spirit’s job is to move someone into a relationship with Christ.
Now that we understand the ministry of reconciliation, let’s go back to our church website or Sunday bulletin: Does your church work for the ministry of reconciliation? What about you personally? Is reconciliation a priority in your life?
If not, I want you to take time today and think about what steps you can take to become the type of peacemaker Jesus intended us to be.