Neville Naden Indigenous Ministry Officer
We have just celebrated two important events in the life of our country: that of Reconciliation and NAIDOC week.
Most people I know celebrate because it is the thing to do. Many are influenced by the wider community, and while there is nothing wrong with celebrating reconciliation, the church’s focus should be on promoting a biblical understanding of reconciliation. This reconciliation says we can be one because of the work of grace done in the life of a person (or individual) by God.
Biblical reconciliation levels the playing field. In Christ, all people are viewed as sinners in need of saving. In Romans 3:23, Paul writes to the church in Rome, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Every person that has ever lived has a sinful nature, without exception. Sin affects the whole human race.
Sin separates us from God. A picture of this is depicted in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve were removed from the garden and the presence of God because of their disobedience. Prior to that removal, mankind experienced a sense of oneness with God – meaning that there was no division.
The rest of the Bible is a story of how God was going to reverse this sin problem.
In Genesis 12, we see God’s plan to address the problem of sin through Abraham’s offspring. It is possible to trace this lineage from Abraham through to the arrival of the Messiah. It is through Christ that we can be made right with God. It is through Christ that barriers are broken down.
Reconciliation from a biblical perspective says, it’s not what I do for you or what you do for me that makes us one, it is what Christ has done for both of us. It is the removal of human influence that makes us one. It was God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. (2 Corinthians 5:19).
A relationship with God is possible by believing in God’s son. God by His grace places within us faith – faith in the finished work of the cross of Christ resulting in us being right with Him.
Just one other point, reconciliation does not necessarily mean unity. The disciples were one because of their relationship with Jesus but they were not always unified.
We are to be ambassadors for Christ. Telling people about Jesus. It is believing in the work of the cross of Christ that we can have a relationship and a right standing before Him and with others.
Reconciliation is a positional truth. Reconciliation places us in the body of Christ and our standing before Him is the same as everyone else.