A Final Reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

To be reconciled to someone is to be brought back into a right relationship with them. If the relationship was broken and needed healing, this focus is aimed at the cause of the fracture.

What happens when we have an occurrence that causes a break in a relationship? When it comes to a marriage covenant, the process of healing and restoration requires building trust, changing the behaviors that lead to the failure, or rebuilding the relationship on newgrounds. These grounds are an agreed upon solution that provides a suitable foundation for reestablishing a relationship that needs healing.

Does the process for reconciling relationships sound familiar?

Well, if your familiar with the Bible, you’d see that it sounds a lot like our relationship to Christ as we submit to His authority.

Our relationship to God has been broken. We have offended Him by our sins and thus we have placed ourselves in a position of enmity before Him.

How do we make up for our failures?

Essentially, there is no way to compensate for failure. There is nothing we can do to rectify our sin and restore our relationship to God. The harsh reality of sin is once it’s committed, it can’t be taken back.

If only marriages worked the way God relates to us; we might not see as many death sentences in marriages because of infidelity or some other failure. I don’t want to make light of adultery, it’s devastating, but divorce should be the absolute last option in a marriage. Just like God continues to call out to us in the midst of our sin and failure, we too should be willing to regrow a relationship when the repentant spouse returns.

So how does God restore us?

Maybe we can gain some insight into our own relationships by focusing on God’s order of reconciliation.

Forgiveness

The first order in restoring a relationship is learning to forgive one another. I’m not talking about saying “I forgive you”, just to appease the other, I’m referring to a true heartfelt response that leaves no record of wrong.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Without forgiveness, the bitterness and discord will inevitably rise to the surface. Appeasing the situation just to ‘get by for now’, only shelves the issues for another date.

The beauty of restoration is forgiving when the other doesn’t deserve it.

We can try to deny God’s position as judge, we can even claim sin has no eternal consequence, but our attempts to deny the inevitable reality of what looms ahead only places us in a position as blind fools. If we don’t seek God’s forgiveness, we deny His justice.

Reconciliation

Once forgiveness is given, reconciling the relationship becomes a priority.

How do we make right–that which has gone wrong?

Addressing the core points in a relationship that is broken is to tackle the core reasons for the fracture that occurred. Praise God, Jesus took on our sins and reconciled us back to God by His own sacrifice.

Colossians 1:19-20 “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Because the fullness of God dwelled in Jesus, He was able to complete the perfection of His work for us. The good news is, we are given this same power as believers. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His perfection becomes our perfection. The relationship with God that was broken is now healed. Jesus is our healer.

Sacrifice

To forgive someone and likewise perform the necessary efforts to make amends requires personal sacrifice.

Both parties have to make amends for reconciliation to commence. A jilted wife who has had her heart broken by a husband of infidelity can’t restore a relationship on her own. The husband can’t bring the necessary healing in a broken relationship simply by being a nice guy.

1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,”

The Lord always acts first in a relationship but the expectation of our response is key. Many people think if salvation requires anything on our part, it becomes an act of works. If we had to earn God’s favor, make amends for our sins, or chant some mantra from beads then yes, that would negate God’s grace as being complete.

What is required of us is a heart change.

For us to receive God’s salvation we must first believe in faith. The believer reveals the heart change by their actions after the fact. The Lord first sees the heart and knows the change before anything is ever revealed.

The change of heart is to take a position of humility.

If an unfaithful husband doesn’t recognize his sin, he will never change. You can tell someone who hasn’t changed, they blame everyone else but themselves for their failures. Many marriages that have collapsed are because one person can’t see themself for who they are.

We must recognize that we can’t save ourselves. We must also see the egregious nature of our sin and repent of that sin.

Repentance

The repentant heart moves on in a different direction than from where they came. This active process of moving is revealed in a reversal from the patterns of life that caused the offense. The adulterous husband must change his behavior to begin to restore trust. If he just makes a claim that he is changed, that isn’t enough, true change is reflected in faithfulness.

Luke 17:3 “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him”

In the same manner that Jesus taught His disciples how to treat others, God first exhibited towards us.

Trust

Trusting someone takes time, it isn’t built overnight but requires the patience of observing someone being found faithful.

Psalm 9:10 “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Ultimately, the glaring void in a broken marriage is the lack of trust. The hope for a striving spouse is to rebuild the trust that will never be broken again.

“Make it your goal to create a marriage that feels like the safest place on earth.”

Gary Smalley

If we claim to trust in the Lord and yet live in fear, imagine the position that places God in. The Lord is calling us to relationship and yet we live like He is not trustworthy. The very notion is a slap in the face of a God who has always been reliable.

Jesus has never done anything to break our trust

Just like a broken marriage, our relationship with God is none existent if we can’t trust Him with our lives.

Love

The greatest of these…..

If there is no love, there is no relationship. period.

We can’t say we are committed to our spouse and not show love to them. How do we show love?

It’s not about what you love, it’s what they love. The more you understand that a good marriage is based on servitude out of love toward one another, the stronger that relationship is.

“If homes are going to survive, it will be because husbands and fathers again place their families at the highest level on their system of priorities.”

James Dobson

John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

The love we show the Lord is found in our obedience. We study what is important to Him and then we abide in those decrees. Being obedient to the Moral law(10 commandments), is the measure of our love for God.

In like manner, we find out what is important to our spouse and we live accordingly—this is love. It may not be pleasant for you, but it is for them. Self-sacrifice is to place our spouses priorities above yours so that they might see the love you have for them. When both people live in this manner of a marriage covenant, the joy of expressing love takes on a completely different perspective.

What used to be drudgery, is now a pleasure because you get to witness the elation in your loved ones eyes.

The Finality of it All

The process of reconciliation in a marriage shadows the image Christ presents to the world. Christian marriages that are built on the foundation of God’s principles, reveal Christ to the world.

The world was estranged from God and yet Jesus made a way to bring the world back into a relationship with Him.

As it says in 2 Corinthians 5:19, Jesus has given us the message of reconciliation. This is the message we carry into the darkness, hoping the lost might be found.

One day, all of Creation will be reconciled back to God. All of the curse of sin will be gone, all that will remain will be His own. The call goes out, will you be found among those who love the Lord will all your heart, mind, and strength?

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