The point of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection is for mankind to be reconciled to God. Of course, part of that reconciliation is the death of sin, the nullification of its effects upon us, and the restoration of us to our Father. Read this passage of Paul’s to the Corinthians, and I will have some further comments afterwards.
(2 Co 5:14) For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died.
(2 Co 5:15) He died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again.
(2 Co 5:16) Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more.
(2 Co 5:17) Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.
(2 Co 5:18) But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation;
(2 Co 5:19) namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.
(2 Co 5:20) We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
(2 Co 5:21) For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Why do we tend to think that reconciliation is about changing God’s mind/heart to be accepting of us. We tend to think that when Adam fell, Adam ruined all of God’s plans for us, His creatures, and now He has much disappointment, as well as having His holiness violated. Since His holiness has been violated, many Christians today believe that the only way for God to get back His holiness in our eyes is through fear of judgment. I believe this is an immature understanding of God, if not a total misunderstanding of His person.
Reconciliation is all about His love for us, how Father, Son, and Spirit find a way to reach through our blindness and confusion and love us so purely that we, all of mankind, will one day be overcome by that love and willingly praise God for His love and reconciliation/restoration of us. God’s problem is not how can He make us righteous, but how can He restore us, mankind who not only rejects Him but, in fear, runs from His face and hides themselves from Him, just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden.
Just like Adam, we have condemned ourselves and God to us now has taken on the image of our shame, and we now have a god and a religion that reflects that shame. We no longer believe in a God who is love, but a god who is wrath-filled, and vengeful, and one who has to create a place so vile and repulsive (hell) that the most evil people in history would blush at its creation and existence. The god of modern Christianity is one who must seek justice through retribution, not one who seeks to reconcile His creation to Himself.
You see, reconciliation is not about satisfying legal justice, it is about a God whose love can break through our darkness and allows us to know Him. It isn’t about more revelation (more knowledge of Him). Our minds are already twisted and deceived that all the knowledge we have gained of God has done more to separate us from one another than it has to draw us to each other and to Him.
No, I believe the only way of reconciliation is to understand that when Adam fell, God did not become enraged and instantly kill Adam and Eve. He came seeking Adam and seeking to restore him. God, in the Garden, sought Adam to be reconciled to Him, therefore He lovingly clothed Him and gave him His love. Yes, God still judged the behavior of His creature, but through that judgment, God also made a way of reconciliation. We are reconciled to God in Christ, through His atonement. That is the message we should be carrying to the world. Be reconciled to God in/through Christ. The love of God constrains us to do nothing less. Romans 5:18 is a hope-filled passage to keep in mind:
(Rom 5:18) So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life.
This is the reconciliation of God to man. It is for man to come to Jesus and be reconciled.
In Christ’s love,