“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the
ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though
perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die, but God shows His
love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more
shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were
enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,
now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
There are four key words that help us understand the nature of the
atonement and what Christ accomplished. Those words are reconciliation,
propitiation, sacrifice and redemption. Here is the word reconciliation.
The Bible clearly teaches us that man by nature doesn't want
anything to do with God. Man by nature is a fugitive. Religion? Man
doesn't have a problem with religion, man is incurably religious. No
matter where you go in the world you'll see that man has religious
instincts. But at one and the same time man, the sinner is a deliberate
suppressor of the truth, Romans 1. To better understand why every
person, man, woman, boy, or girl who is born into this world is
rejecting God, suppressing the truth of God, we have to understand what
Paul will say in Romans 8. He tells us that every man has a heart that
is at enmity with God. Even though most sinners would adamantly deny
that, that's the truth of the matter.
But again we were reminded
in the Sunday school hour that reconciliation takes us right to the
heart of the cross, and forces us to grapple with our plight as sinners.
Notice in Romans 5:10 the word reconciliation is used twice, it is not
used that many times in the New Testament (I think, 5 or 6 times). But
here it's used twice and again it addresses the fundamental problem that
we have; we are alienated from God by nature. Sort of like a bridge
that's been blown up by a bomb or a hurricane storm and there's no way
you can get across, no way. There is one way because God has provided
that way. And the only way to get back into right relationship with God
is by the cross, by the blood of Jesus. We are reconciled by the blood
of Jesus. The very moment you believe, the very moment you believe on
Jesus you are reconciled.
I want you to think of all of the
wonderful words that are now used to describe the child of God in terms
of the reconciled relationship. Think of them. Here are some of them:
friend, God is your friend, husband, father, brother. Beautiful,
intimate family terms except the word friend. But friend, husband,
father, brother. We are reconciled to God because of the cross. You are
as close as you can get to God. You can get as intimate as you can with
God, because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Christ is our
elder brother, God is our Father. God is put under the image of a
husband, Christ is put under the image of a bridegroom and God and
Christ put themselves under the image of a friend.
It really is
one of those things that should never, ever cease to amaze us. I think
that was something John said a couple of times, “It should never cease
to amaze us what Jesus accomplished by his cross.” God is now my father,
my friend, my husband, my brother; Jesus is my brother.
As we go
to prayer, we shouldn't forget the intimacy and the transparency now
that we can certainly bring to God by way of prayer, because we are
coming to a father we are coming to a husband, we are coming to a
friend, That's why we can put on our lips that very word that Paul talks
about in Romans 8, “Abba father.”
I would argue this, the
better your relationship with God, your divine husband, your father,
your friend, elder brother, the closer will be your relationship with
flesh and blood husbands, friends, brothers, and fathers. I know there's
going to be exceptions to the rule, I realize that, but your vertical
relationship with God should impact your horizontal relationships with
your brothers, sisters, husbands, wise fathers and mothers. So the
closer you get to God the better husband, you should be, the better
friend you should be, the better brother you should be, and the better
sister you should be.
And it also explains again why our prayers
should be marked with intimacy, transparency, and honesty. You can bring
anything to God, your father, your friend, all your cares, all your
fears, all your joys, and all your sorrows. I think if we really grasp
that Brethren, it should make us more excited to pray and to go to the
throne of grace.