God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ is holy—He is different and separate—because He is our reconciler to God. Through Christ, God “reconcile[d] all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross. . . . He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” (Colossians 1:20, 22). That word “reconcile” means a change in a relationship from hostility to harmony.
We see pictures of reconciliation all around us. A husband and wife mutually decide to separate, but after several years they come back together. Or a father and son are alienated for years, but they come back together. Two business partners have a disagreement and split up, but after years of bitterness they both admit their failure and come back to start a new business together. That is reconciliation.
The Bible says that after Adam and Eve sinned, there was a break in the relationship between God and man. The reason Christ came was for the purpose of reconciliation. But the word Paul uses in Colossians 1 for “reconcile” is important. This word doesn’t refer to two people who have mutually agreed to end a relationship and then mutually agreed to come back together. Instead the word describes a person who has unilaterally chosen to break a relationship, and the offended party woos that person back. For example, imagine a wife decides to leave her husband for another man. The husband has every biblical right to divorce and to remarry if he wants to. But suppose instead of that, the husband decides to try to win her affections back. And after a period of time she agrees to come back into the relationship.
That is a picture of what God has done for us. The Bible doesn’t say we both, God and man, decided to end a relationship, and then we both have been reconciled. Did you know the Bible never talks about God being reconciled to man? It is man who is reconciled to God. We sing the Christmas carol “God and sinners reconciled” as though two people broke up and then decided to come together. That’s not what happened. The Bible says we are the ones who left God. He didn’t leave us. We left Him. And God had every right to leave us alone to suffer the eternal consequences of our sin; but instead the Bible says Jesus humbled Himself and came to die for our sins. And the way He reconciled us to God was not through His birth in a manger; it was through His death on a cross. First John 4:10 says it this way: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The Bible says we were lost in our sin. We were so lost that we couldn’t find God. So He found us. And that’s what makes Jesus unique.
Today’s devotion is an excerpt from “Have a Happy Holy-Day” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.