Repent, Restore, Reconcile and be Saved.
"Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 2 Corinthians 7:1 ... dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
I am a retired pastor of
the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.
Repent, Restore, Reconcile and
We accept that we all have committed sin and we must repent for our sins for forgiveness and so on. John the Baptist started to preach to repent for the kingdom of God. Jesus Christ also did the same. The first pre-requisite in the "kingdom of God preaching" is repentance. You may look at this link for more details on repentance: "Repent". We must repent to depart from our sins, repented people must restore and compensate for the sins we repented for, we must reconcile with people as well as reconcile with God, so that we may be saved.
Repentance is a very important first step towards the kingdom of God. But the tragedy is that our preachers considers it as the only step. As soon as a sinner repents, preachers gets excited because they have added one more to church, and that is it. But, even repentance is not complete until they do some necessary restoration."Exodus 22:1 Who If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep." So, if the sinner has done some damage, it has to be compensated. "Leviticus 6:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; ... 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:" So, a sin is against God as well as against the victim. Perhaps preachers may push it aside saying that it is the old testament and it is not for us. "Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." So, God tells us to take care of the victim first. "Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house." As Zacchaeus promised to restore others, Jesus Christ includes Zacchaeus into the family of God. "Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him." If you are hurt by others, some biased evil preachers and wicked Christians may twist a few scriptures to victimize you more, saying that we have to forgive them, reconcile with them and so on. But, if the offender did not repent and apologize to you by restoring the damages, etc, don't let the bullies exploit you more, by improper use of scriptures. God's word is on the side of the righteous, and it is not to exploit the vulnerable. If you are a bully, don't aggravate the victims, don't add more misery to them in the name of reconciliation, leave them alone and stop being evil.
Christians misunderstand the meaning of reconciliation. It is to restore to friendship or to harmony or to resolve differences, among the brethren, who are the children of God. It is not to advise Abel to go to Cain again to get killed again. Stay away from such evil, wicked, crime loving people, even if they are brothers. God is not advising you to get beat up again. "Matthew 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Evil preachers use this verse to accuse victims. But, it is to warn bullies, but not the victims. If you are a bully, repent and apologize to your brother first and then come to God.
A very strong principle is emphasized in the verse below. The love of Christ is the driving force or power. Since he died for us, we will all consider that we are all dead. And now, we must live as he lives in us, that is we must live in his place, as he would live. So, from now on we are no more us, individual flesh beings, but as one corporate Spirit of Jesus, and we must live as he lives. "2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." This is what they venture to do to bring others also into this group. And this is the ministry of reconciliation. "18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; And, whoever come to this union, will live like Jesus, since Jesus died for them. "19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Now they are the ambassadors of Christ. The word of reconciliation is like the "Terms of Contract." As ambassadors, their work is to sign up the world into the contract, to enroll them to live his righteous life. "20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." This is a literal mission that he died for us and so we live in his place. But Christians use these words as clichés, which is religious chants, with no practical meaning to it.
Let me pick it up from the above. Jesus took the first step of reconciliation, by dying for all of us. We have the ministry of reconciliation, to bring people to live for him, which is the second step. For those who took the second step, it is reconciliation, but if we do not take the second step, then it is wrath (Romans 5:9 indicates that if we did not go through, then it is wrath). "Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Again we see that the reconciliation has two parts. One is to make ready for reconciliation, and the other is actual reconciliation. We were all sinners and so we were considered enemies. But, God loved us, who were sinners ("we were yet sinners" indicates that we are not sinners now), and so Jesus died for us. Notice, this is important. Verse 9 says that we are justified by his blood, justified means that we are made (converted to be) just, which is righteousness. Please click this link to see: "what is to be justified by his blood." Verse 10 says that we are saved by living his life. That is, by the grace of God we live his life (verse 10), then our past sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus (verse 9), it makes us justified. That is, the first part is that we are no more enemies to God by the death of Jesus Christ, and the second part is completed when we live his life. Here, verse 8 to 10 are given as one incident, yet Jesus first died for all, then many lived his life, and they are saved (have eternal life). "They" say: "we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son." Jesus died for all, but all are not saved, so also all are not reconciled. But, the reconciled are saved (have eternal life).
"Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh." Here, Jews were accepted by God as his people and the Gentiles were not considered as the people of God. This is the context. The body of Jesus was crushed on the cross and the blood of Jesus was shed. It is a big event. Look carefully what happened. The commandments regarding ordinances are made void. Jews and Gentiles are brought together as one for salvation. So, the great news is that Gentiles are included as one with Jews for salvation. But nobody is saved. Gentiles were strangers before, and now they are no more strangers. Here, the death of Jesus brought Jews and Gentiles as One, so that God may reconcile them (in the future). We saw that living the life of Jesus Christ will reconcile with God. Jesus dies first, for you to walk his life, then he reconciles you with God.
"Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;" Verse 21 says that we were all sinners and so enemies. Verse 22 tells the first step of his death and the purpose of his death. It is that he has died to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable. It is called "saved from sins." Verse 23 says, that it will happen if we obeyed the gospel preached by Jesus Christ and apostles, which are the commandments of Jesus Christ for people to obey. The angels preach to every creature (Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.) So, the death of Jesus Christ is the first step that he has done, then the second step is that we must live the life of Jesus Christ in return for his death for us. This will complete the contract of reconciliation and by it, we will be reconciled by the clean washing of the blood of Jesus Christ and be saved. Details are in this link: "Forgiven by Blood."
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God Bless You