…by Chuck Graham
If our churches are still divided in any way along racial or cultural lines, [Paul] would say that our gospel, our very grasp of the meaning of Jesus’ death, is called into question. How long will it be before those who claim to follow Jesus…come to terms with the demands he actually makes? –N. T. Wright
What does it mean to reconcile? The word is mentioned a lot these days, especially when the issue involves races, cultures, ethnic groups, nationalities, and religions. Often it is used in demands for admitting past wrongs, apologies, and retribution.
Some dictionaries now include : to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant . But the primary definition comes from a Latin word which means to make good again, to repair. The idea is to restore something to a good or preferable condition.
Reconcile: to bring into agreement; to restore friendship, harmony.
The beginning quote is from N.T. Wright’s commentary on Ephesians. 1 There the Apostle Paul wrote of the greatest division of people: Jews, a relatively small group, and Gentiles, everyone else on the planet. Each missed the mark in their relationship with God. But…
Jesus is our peace. He destroyed the barrier of hostility that divides us…creating one people out of the two. In doing so He established peace, reconciling both to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. 2
Paul was saying that Jesus brings those who follow Him into agreement that there can be no division among God’s people. The way to friendship and harmony, which God intended from the beginning, was restored. Reconciliation among us. Reconciliation with God.
It is impossible to love God when we choose division.
And why reconciliation among us? Because we are commanded to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.3 That is impossible if we do not love one another. And we cannot claim to love one another when we choose division over friendship and harmony.
Ministries around the world focus on reconciliation. They work hard to bring God’s people together and restore friendship and harmony. One is OneRace, and its mission is simple:
Through prayer and fasting, relationship and collaboration, OneRace exists to displace the
spirit of racism and release a movement of
racial reconciliation across Atlanta, the Southeast,
and the nation.
They will lead a huge event on August 25. And it doesn’t matter where you live, what you do, or whether you plan to attend…You have a critical role to play. Yes, You! (Stop looking around the room). I’ll explain in the next Note of Encouragement. For now…
Take care & be God’s ,
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa , an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching others how to “encourage one another as long as it is called Today!” He is also an author, speaker, teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org .
1. Paul For Everyone…The Prison Letters by N.T. Wright, published in 2004 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (London, Great Britain) and Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
2. Read Ephesians 2:14-18.
3. Read Mark 12:30.
For more information on OneRace, click here OneRace .