Advent Week Four: Sinner and Sinner Reconciled!

Christmas heightens our senses to relationship.  The messages are clear - we’re supposed to be with people and be happy about it.  It’s the subject of countless Hallmark Movies and even the Grinch ends up with people – a changed man/thing carving the roast beast for all the Whos right in the middle of Whoville. 

Divorce, death and disagreements leave many with a sense of dread having to be with people they don’t like and especially people they’re at odds with.  On a side note – if this isn’t you – there are plenty of people around you for whom this is real life.

How do we handle the family gathering or even the work party when we know there will be people there, we can’t stand the sight of?

We hear the nearly ubiquitous Christmas carol - “Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the new-born King! Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Is it possible we can be good with God but at odds with people? 

God and sinners but what about sinners and sinners?

Colossians 1: 13-20 teaches us some important things about what Jesus did and who He is.

WHAT JESUS DID: “13 For He (Jesus) rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Jesus has given us new life, new identity and even a new citizenship status through His death burial and resurrection.  He has given us the forgiveness of our sins.  All this comes to us by placing our faith in what He has done for us. 

WHO JESUS IS: “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him…”  Jesus is God incarnate.  Paul sought to give us an idea of Who Jesus is in all His authority, power and position – the result is that He is deserving of first place in our lives.  This leads again, to what He has done for us.

WHAT JESUS DID:  “20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”  Jesus has reconciled us to God the Father through His sacrifice on the cross.  We are able to be in relationship with God the Father through Jesus.  Scripture reminds us that the love of God was the motivation – not our abilities, good looks, nationalities, skin color or bank account status’ – sheer love caused God to make the first move in sending Jesus.

God loves you and made the first move –
How would it look if we followed Him in doing the same?

1 John 4: 20-21, “If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”  For the Christian, this teaching is non-negotiable; we are to love our brothers and sisters. 

Again, can you be OK with God and not with others?

Scripture is clear, we’re all sinners; none of us is perfect. We must be gracious, compassionate and merciful to those who offend, disregard and slight us.

If you’re OK with God you don’t need to worry about anyone else; this is the essence of false religions – get it right with God – who cares about others. Common sense tells us that it doesn’t matter how good a person thinks they are with God, if they sin against others - they’re not right with God. Christianity holds to the same view. You can’t be good with God and at odds with your family, friends and others.

Christ is saying through His teaching, “We’re good now go and make it good with others.  How you treat one another is a reflection of your love for me.”  Jesus taught that he would rather we postpone our worship of Him in order to get things right with others.  Matt 5: 24 teaches Christians to leave their offering and go make peace with their brother whom is offended.  He is telling us that sinner and sinner can be reconciled!

So, following Jesus’ example of making the first move… think of who you are odds with today and offer to meet, talk or even text…

·       Send that text message.

·       Make that meeting.

·       Make that phone call.

·       Ask for forgiveness as necessary.

They might not take your call.  They might reject your hand.  They might wait for a 2nd reach out.  It’s OK because that is how many of us were with Jesus at one time?  He didn’t give up on you.  Sometimes making peace takes time.  Jesus took that time with you; and it was worth everything.

You know the way you feel.  The person you have fallen out with probably feels the same way.  Question is who makes the first move?

You know if you do nothing – it will remain the same.  What if you took that step – imagine what could happen.  You could have a healed relationship with your family and friends. You can drop the dread feeling of seeing family during holidays because you cleared the air and made things right between you and them. God is telling you it is possible for sinners and sinners to be reconciled; and it’s glorious!

This Christmas Could Change Everything – Adding to the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Vince Armfield