If you are a believer in Christ, you have been given a ministry. Did you know that?
According to 2 Corinthians 5:18, you have been given the ministry of reconciliation. So what is the ministry of reconciliation?
The ministry of reconciliation is the ministry of reconciling people to God by proclaiming the good news that Jesus has paid the penalty for sin. God is not holding people’s trespasses against them and right standing with God can be experienced by faith in Jesus.
Jesus has taken the sin of the world onto Himself. Justice has been accomplished. The debt for sin has been paid. God in His wisdom, has made a way to righteously justify you so that you can be free and without shame in relationship with Him.
The word “reconciliation” is talking about making peace. God is no longer holding our sins against us and our guilt has been taken away. Our sins were imputed to Jesus on the cross. Jesus has paid the full penalty for the sins of the entire world.
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2
Jesus became what we were so we could become what He was—the righteousness of God.
Jesus has given His righteousness as a gift for those who receive it by faith. Nothing could be better news! Righteousness draws all the blessings of God into your life. The ministry of reconciliation is proclaiming this news.
Righteousness means right standing with God. Do you know what this means? You can be in perfect relationship with God simply by believing what Jesus has done for you.
Who is a Minister of Reconciliation?
If you are a true follower of Christ, you have been made a minister of reconciliation. This ministry is not just for the “super Christians”. It is for every born-again believer.
The American Heritage Dictionary states that to reconcile means “to reestablish a close relationship between; to settle or resolve”.
This is saying that for a relationship to be restored, or reconciled, whatever was causing the problem between the two people has been taken out of the way.
As a minister of reconciliation, it is your honor to let the world know what has been done through the work of Jesus.
What was causing division between God and man has been taken away. Sin has been dealt with!
Friendship and good standing with God has been restored. God is not mad at people, He is madly in love with them. Jesus came to show us the true, accurate character of God.
To be reconciled is to be restored to friendship, restored to good standing with God. God delights in you now and you can freely delight in Him. There is nothing causing dissension in the relationship.
God’s view of you is no longer based on your actions, but completely based on what Jesus has done for you. This is really, really good news and as a minister of reconciliation, you get to partner with God in sharing this reality with mankind.
Not Imputing Their Trespasses to Them- What Does This Mean?
Before Jesus came to earth as a man, there was wrath from God against mankind for his sins. It wasn’t the full extent of wrath, though. Even in the Old Testament, we see God’s mercy and grace toward people all the time.
But the Old Testament Law was a ministry of wrath (Rom. 4:15, 2 Cor. 3:7 and 9). People’s sins were held against them. They could not be fully cleansed from sin until the final sacrifice had come.
When Jesus came, He showed us the truth about God. He showed us that it is not God’s heart to hold sin against us. This is exactly what 2 Corinthians 5:19- 21 says:
that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The sin that had brought hostility, shame and division between man and God has been dealt with in the work of Jesus. God is not imputing sin to you. David prophesied about this in the Old Testament.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32:2
It’s nearly too good to be true news. In fact, that’s what the word gospel means. It’s nearly too good to be true!
Jesus has taken your sin and given you His righteousness as a gift. You have been reconciled to God. You have complete right standing with God, both now and for eternity. Receive what He has done!
Nothing can ever separate you from God. Nothing can ever make you displeasing to Him. Your righteousness is of God- it’s His righteousness, given to you as a gift.
Your belief in what Jesus has done allows you to receive this gift of righteousness.
What is a Minister of Reconciliation?
A minister of reconciliation is one who continues the ministry of Jesus- of not imputing people’s trespasses to them and pleading with humanity to receive what Jesus has done and be reconciled to God.
The word “reconciled” simply means to bring into agreement or to make the same. We have received the ministry of reconciliation. That means that we are in the ministry of reconciling people to God.
Much of what people teach about Christianity today is actually keeping people alienated from God rather than reconciling them.
In 2 Corinthians 5:19, Paul said that the way Jesus was reconciling the world unto Himself was by not imputing their sins unto them.
that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19
A minister of reconciliation should be ministering to the world in the same way Jesus did – by not imputing people’s trespasses to them. We should be focused on God’s grace and the reality of what He has done for us.
As a minister of reconciliation, we should never be focused on people’s sin, but on Jesus as their answer for sin.
Did you know that sin isn’t even an issue between God and people? Why? Because our sin is not being imputed, or charged, to our account. It was charged to Jesus’ account, and He has completely paid the bill. One drop of His blood is worth more than all the debt of sin.
The job of a minister of reconciliation is to announce the good news, an accomplished fact, that sin has already been dealt with through the work of Christ.
A true minister of reconciliation will be saying, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God! Change your mind and believe the Gospel so that you can experience what has already been done on your behalf!”
What is Reconciliation?
The term reconciliation means more than not having our sins held against us. It actually means that God is pleased with us. We have been re-created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24).
Reconciliation removes a consciousness of sin so that we can be restored to our reality as a child and friend of God. We can know and experience His delight in us. This is what it means to be reconciled to God.
If you’re always conscious of your sin, then you don’t understand that your sin has been paid for and you have been reconciled to God, or restored to right relationship with Him.
Sin consciousness has been ground into us by religion and by the world. The world does not operate by grace- it operates by performance alone. If you do good, you get rewarded. If you do bad, you get punished. But this is not how God relates to us in the New Covenant.
Most Christians don’t have a good understanding of their righteousness in Christ. The effectiveness of our faith is directly related to our understanding of all the good things that are in us in Christ. We have to understand who we are in Christ and how God sees us.
that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:6
God is not counting your sins against you!
God is not pouring out judgment on you, and He never will. All judgment fell on Jesus when He was on the cross. You have been made perfect in God’s eyes!
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7
What Does it Mean to Impute?
The Greek word translated “imputing” is an accounting term meaning to lay to one’s account. Sin is no longer added to your account.
Even when you sin in your actions, it is not imputed to you. It’s not put on your account. All your sin- past, present, and future has been obliterated at the cross. It has been put away from you as far as the east is from the west.
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
Not only can sin not be imputed to you, but righteousness has been put on your account. Wow! Righteousness apart from works has been imputed to you.
just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: Romans 4:6
Imputed righteousness was predicted in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament. This righteousness is described in the Bible as:
- the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:13, 9:30, and 10:6),
- the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- the righteousness of God without the Law (Romans 3:21)
- Christ Jesus being made righteousness unto us (1 Corinthians 1:30)
- Christ as righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 10:4)
- everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24)
- the LORD our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
- the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17)
- the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10)
- being found in Him (Philippians 3:9)
We could never become righteous by our own efforts. If you think you could, you don’t have a clear understanding of what righteousness really is. It was absolutely impossible for fallen humanity to obtain righteousness by our own works.
Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He was completely sinless and pure. He became our spotless sacrifice for sin and then offered us right standing with His Father as a gift.
Jesus died for us, bearing our punishment, and now offers us perfect relationship with God through our belief in what He did. His righteousness is imputed to those who believe!
For more about righteousness by faith, read Salvation by Faith: Exactly What it Means.