What is the most important ministry of the church? It is the ministry of reconciliation, that God has entrusted the church with. What is the most important message of the church? It is the gospel, the message of reconciliation. What is the most important role of the church? That of being Christ’s ambassador. It is Paul who tells us this in this text 2 Corinthians 5:17-21:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
These entrustments are gifts of God’s grace to the church and the world. These can only exist if Christ died and rose again to be exalted at the right hand of the Father. They are blessings of Christ’s redemptive work. Without the finished work of Christ, there is no ministry of reconciliation, because it was his redemptive work that made sinful man’s reconciliation with God possible. There is no message because the message is the message of the gospel of the finished work, of the beautiful exchange that took place on the cross of Christ (2 Cor 5:21) when Christ took our sins on his own self and bore the penalty of death that was due to us; and in exchange, he gave us his righteousness to us, so that we have right standing before God.
All persons of the holy trinity were involved in the reconciliation process. The Father initiated the whole redemptive plan. Jesus Christ accomplished reconciliation by his death and resurrection from the dead. The Holy Spirit implements the reconciliation for without his activity and work in the world and through the church, reconciling sinful people to a holy God would be humanly impossible.
These sacred entrustments must be faithfully and diligently pursued and kept by God’s people, because the advancement of the kingdom, the health, growth and survival of the church, and the soon return of Christ are subject upon their faithful discharge.
As followers of Christ and members of the church, we can respond by committing ourselves to seek the reconciliation of sinners to God, by our exemplary lives in the home and workplaces, by our good deeds and kind acts, and by our persuasive sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ. By praying for the lost to know the Lord; by giving towards the church fund so that the church is resourced for outreach and missionary endeavours; and by getting enthusiastically involved in church programs that reaches out to the lost, we faithfully discharge these duties.
Lord Jesus, you came to earth to seek and save that which are lost. Embolden us to follow in your footsteps and engage in reconciling sinful people to God. Give us love to seek, courage to proclaim, and humility to lead people to You. Amen.
This is part of a planned series of writings on the topic, “The A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”. I am writing it alphabet by alphabet. Thus far the others that I have written can be found HERE.