Reconciliation, Sanctification, and Hot Glue

I just completed repairing a table for someone. It was a good time because I like doing things like that. It was a fairly easy project. I just had to drill out the old dowels, sand off the old glue, cut new dowels, re-glue the seams, and clamp it all together. All in all, it was an uneventful project except for what I felt like God was saying to me…

One of the reasons I like doing little projects like this is because I often feel God speak to me during them. Not in an audible way but in my soul. Some of my biggest revelations about God and myself have come from one project or another. For some reason, God chooses to speak to me through my physical actions. Maybe it’s because I am a bit thick in the head and when I am working on something I am a little freer to hear from Him.

As I was sanding off the old glue I was getting pelted with hot glue bits because apparently a Dremel will melt glue and shoot it at you. This is a good tip for the future but as I was being assaulted with hot glue buckshot I understood something about God and myself on a deeper level. In going to the cross Christ took my sin and that sin was costly, and it hurt. It was brutal, and while my hot glue barrage does not compare but it did make me think. He took that pain because I needed that sin removed. In order for me to have the ability to be reconnected, or reconciled, in a proper and fitting way like the table legs the old had to be stripped away and it did not come without a cost. Now I know this because 1 Peter 1:18-19 among other verses tells me this but it is one thing to know it and another to understand it. We always have to remember that it was for our benefit that Christ died. He was perfectly fine before the incarnation, but He desired us. He desired to reconcile us to the Father. It was that desire and the will to carry it out that gives us life. Jesus desired us so much it moved Him to participate in humanity and literally put some skin in the game.

Now the second thing is that it hurts me too. If the wood could speak (and had feelings) it would tell me that this burns and it is painful. It would probably ask me to stop because this process is uncomfortable, however, because I know what it takes to reconnect the legs in a permanent way I persist. It might be painful for a moment, but that moment will pass, and it will be stronger than it ever was before but first, it must undergo destruction of the old. We are being conformed to the image of the Son and don’t think for a second that is not a painful process. Old things from you are being stripped away and torn off. It is painful and that is OK. God is trying to make you fit where you belong. He is trying to make you fulfill your purpose, but you have so much junk on you that cannot stay that way. Sure, He could patch you up and send you along, but He would rather do things the right way. God prefers to sanctify us. Yes, there is an instant part of sanctification but there is also this ongoing process of maturing and setting apart (sanctification).

I know the Bible says that our righteousness is like filthy rags and I agree but God still created you and built you for a purpose. You are handcrafted and on your own, you cannot do it, but He can. You cannot clean yourself up and make yourself fit with Him. He needs to remove all that sin and selfishness, so you fit like you should. Both Christ and we have skin in this process. That is not something that can be understated.

I am so glad that Christ took my sin and I am so sorry that I still fall short and sin. But I know that He has not given up on me. I know He is working to accomplish His good pleasure in me. I know that He has work for me to do that He has predestined for me to do. I know I am not worthy of it and I don’t even know what it is, but I trust Him. Let’s let Him clean us up. Let’s let Him rebuild us into what we were made to be. Yes, it is painful but never forget it hurt Him first.

Just a thought,

Mike

Reconciliation and other fancy words

Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do. – Mark Twain

I like that quote because it reminds me as I study new things to not to use the words to sound fancy.  However these words exist for a reason, and there are places and times for them.  There seems to be a general consensus that we need to dumb down everything in order to be easy on those that do not know.  To which I reply somethings are inherently difficult to comprehend and refusal to express them to appease those that refuse to learn is ludicrous.

Now that I have given a rant on to the topic.

I love the reconciliation.  I love reconciling my checkbook, and most importantly I love being reconciled to God.  I have been reading a book by an author I will not name and I must say that while I have gleaned a few things from it mostly I am frustrated with every word I read and page I turn.  Why am I doing this to myself you ask?  Am I glutton for punishment?  Do I enjoy wanting to throw a book?  No, it is because I want to better understand his (in general the larger movement) point of view.  I find that the most frustrating thing is not the ideals that are being espoused but the manner in which they are communicated. I have also noticed that the manner in which these particular ideas are communicated is indicative of the movement as a whole.  Chiefly it is arrogant, condescending, and overstating of their opponents views.   I will not name the movement because the very nature of how they label themselves is absurd to me, and I will not name the author because it would start an argument I do not wish to have.  I will however talk about reconciliation.

Again this is a bigger word than I typically like to use but it is very important.

The movement I am referring to likes this word and the 5 verses that contain it very much.  I agree, however as Inigo Montoya said “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

So what is reconciliation?  Reconciliation is the element of salvation that refers to the results of the atonement.  John calvin describes it as the peace between humanity & God that results from expiation of religious sin.  D.M. Loyd Jones says of reconciliation God & man are no longer at war.  Two great verses on reconciliation are 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 (below)

namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

From the verses about I will draw out a few important items.

God has reconciled us to Himself – God is done with the issue on His part.  He was the offended party and has said I forgive you, lets move on.  That is a done deal no questions asked (on my part).  The verses above and others (Rom 5:10-11, Eph 2:14-17, Col 1:19-22) are very clear that God has reconciled the world to Himself and placed all things in Christ.  That is not something I can or wish to argue.  The wall of separation has been removed, and now we can access the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.  No arguments here.

Reconciliation is not relationship – This one is very important as well and cannot be missed.  As we read above, God is reconciled to us but that does not mean we have a relationship with Him.  Some of of the writings I have read will not say this but imply it.  That should not be.  God is no longer counting our sins against us but that does not mean that we have fellowship with Him.  Instead we can have a relationship with Him because He has reconciled the world to Himself.  How about an example.  I have a brother I have never met.  I know he exist, and he knows I exist.  Yet I have never spoken to him, and do not have a relationship with him.  We are reconciled as in there is no hostility there.  If he were to reach out to me (I do not have contact info for him) then I would welcome him with open arms.  One leads to the other but it does not equal the other.  Reconciliation does not equal righteousness (or relationship) as Romans 5:19 points out.

Reconciliation is not sanctification – This is one that gets hot but again they are not synonyms.  They are not the same thing.  Sanctification is both a one time event and an ongoing process.  Quick definition time; Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy.  It is being set apart.  We are at the moment of accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ sanctified (set apart, and looked at a holy) in the beloved.  But we must also continue to sanctify our lives as we grow more like our Saviour.  This is what I believe Philippians 2:12 means.  I have seen in my own life how it has become and how I have become different because I have continued to sanctify my life to the Lord.  It has been a process of continual growth and maturity one which I am confident will not stop (Phil 1:6).  Think Romans 12:2.

Reconciliation is not removal of rules – This is the one that might cause the most outrage among my friends.  Some will shout “He’s a legalist!” or “Pharisee!” or possibly (and quite likely) “I am under Grace not Law!”.  Well calm down already, I am not promoting legalism, or some sort of mixed grace message.  What I am saying however is there are certain shoulds and oughts you are supposed to adhere to.  Not for earning or keeping salvation but because you are saved.  For example, love the Lord, love your neighbor.  Thinks these don’t apply?  Jesus disagrees.  He said “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:16.  What does that mean?  Well He leaves that up to you to for the most part.  But generally speaking don’t be a jerk, help people when you can, treat God with the respect He deserves.  You get the general idea.  Two last points on this one.

First I have been told this analogy a few times.  You do not do things for your spouse (and children) because you have to, you do it because you love them.  I see the logic in that and believed it for a minute or two.  The problem is that it is wrong.  You do things for your spouse (and children) because you love them and are obligated to.  For your spouse, you took a vow to love, honor… sickness, health.. you get the idea.  It is because you love them you keep the vow to love and serve.  Your children come with an implied and legal obligation.  You do it out of love, but you must do it all the same.  It is still something I should and ought to do.

Secondly some claim there is no law that applies to them but yet they confess they still sin (at least on rare occasion).  This I do not understand.  1 John 3:4 defines sin as the breaking of law.  If there is no law there is no sin, therefore you do not sin, therefore cheating on your wife is OK, being a drunk is OK, murder is OK, and so on.  You cannot have one and not the other (as I understand it).  If you sin you break the law, if you break the law there is law.

The question is not is there law, and it is not how do I keep this law, and it is not should I keep this law.  The question is even though I break it what is left for me.  The answer is Jesus.  Jesus came in Grace and Truth.  He is bigger than my ability to fail, and by His working in me I find a removal of desire to sin.  I live by the faith of the Son of God, not I but Christ in me.

Reconciliation is part of the bigger picture.  When I look at a motorcycle, I see many parts working together to create a thing of beauty.  The wheels, the motor, the handlebars, and so forth.  They all work together to make it a motorcycle.  Reconciliation is part of a bigger picture called Salvation.  Lets not put God in a little box and say this is who God is instead lets unwrap His presents and enjoy each of them.

Just a thought,

Mike