Regarding Christ and the Ministry of Reconciliation

by Mike Ratliff

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 ESV)

People who are genuine Christians are Born Again. Their hearts have been regenerated. They are New Creations. That means that their hearts now regard Christ spiritually rather than through the flesh. This is an important point for there are growing numbers of people calling themselves Christians who refuse to surrender to the Lordship of Christ in all areas of their lives. They regard Christ via their Human reason rather than spiritually. By this, they prove that they are simply religious converts rather than regenerated disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, these pseudo-Christians are spiritually blind, yet they believe they are legitimate because they love Jesus and are involved in their “ministries.” However, they preach not the truth because they don’t know the truth. They pick things from scripture they like, but refuse to submit to the parts they don’t . The Jesus they love and “serve” is another Jesus, not the one we see from scripture when it is studied exegetically.

18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21 ESV)

Today if we proclaim a call that is bound by the necessity of obedience to God in all areas of our lives, then these same pseudo-Christians will cry foul claiming that we are causing disunity in the body of Christ. They claim that we are divisive. They say we are spiritually arrogant because we claim to know the truth and refuse to accept their version of the truth. Look at the passage above. Paul tells the Corinthian Church and us that it was God, through Christ, who reconciled himself to Christians and, along with that, gave the ministry of reconciliation to them. The prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ, was born as the Angels proclaimed peace on Earth and goodwill to men. (Luke 2:14) This peace and goodwill is between God and those whom he reconciled to Himself through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross. Therefore, the peace that Christians have is between them and God.

14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14 ESV)

The believers who obey God will also be those who draw near unto God. That means they seek Him because they love Him. They delight in Him. They live for His glory. In return, the spirit of God fills them. This life of being filled with the Spirit is a continually growing one of submitting to those God desires they submit to. In return, they grow deeper in their love and delight of the Lord. (Ephesians 5:17-6:1-9) This life of being filled with the Spirit is one of striving for peace with everyone along with one of personal holiness. These cannot be separated. Personal Holiness, which is an obedient life in the eyes of God, is both born from and is a catalyst for being filled with the Spirit. Neither of these things are purely experiential. Instead, the experience is a product of an obedient life.

Yes, we are to strive for peace with everyone, but are we to compromise or make peace with professing Christians who refuse to surrender and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? We should always be ready to tell them the truth and pray for their repentance, but we must not compromise the truth. However, we are also not to be hypocritical in this. We must make sure that we never attack others or publicly rebuke anyone from the foundation of feelings, emotions, or any other motivation other than following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:1-6 ESV)

In Matthew 7:1-6 we read that we are not to judge others according to a standard we ourselves are not upholding. That would be hypocrisy. However, we also read in v6 that we are not to give that which is holy to dogs nor are we to cast our pearls before pigs. What does that mean? If we are dealing with people who hate the truth, if they react in anger, resentment, and outrage when the truth is given to them then we must judge how far to go in sharing the truth with them. If we continue and there is no repentance then we are in danger of being trampled along with the truth as their rage burns against us. This is not a violation of the command to submit to our enemies as Christ said in Matthew 5:44. We obey Christ in not giving what is holy to dogs and pigs because of our respect and love for what is holy. We must treat the truth, the gospel, and all other commands from scripture for us as holy. When we share it and people respond as dogs or pigs then we must obey our Lord by moving on.

14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10:14 ESV)

That may sound harsh, but we must obey. We learn God’s will by responding to how He providentially provides for us or not. If people refuse to believe the truth then we know they are in rebellion against God. If God does not change their hearts then they will never believe. We must continue to preach the truth to all, but when God pushes us away from people then we must obey and minister to those whom God gives us.

Powered by Qumana

14 thoughts on “Regarding Christ and the Ministry of Reconciliation

  1. Mike,

    Thank you, thank you…thank God!

    My heart is full of love for my Saviour, and love and respect for His word. I want so desparately to be in His truth that it consumes me. I cannot hardly tolerate when the flesh is so obvious leading others or myself. The thought of the Holy Spirit grieving, grieves me….my heart literally aches within me! I live and long to be with my Maker and cannot wait to enter into His rest.

    If I lose a friend(s) because of this love, so be it! Yes, I may hurt because of a broken friendship, but that hurt compares not to the hurt I feel for not standing firm in truth, for not standing firm by my Saviour…for grieving the Holy Spirit!

    We serve an amazing LORD! Mike I have been so blessed to come upon your website. I have no doubt that the Lord has His hand in this. He has provided great comfort and guidance through you. The timing, well it was of God, so therefore it was perfect!

    In Christ,
    Sherry

    Like

  2. We often forget that Jesus Himself said He came to bring a sword. That sword represents the inevitable conflict which arises over…Him. A true follower searches the Scriptures to gain more of a view of who Jesus is as revealed by the Spirit. He will not view the world and its circumstances and mold Jesus accordingly, no, He will follow and preach the true Christ.

    And a mature Christian will recognize that his flesh has a tendency to alter Christ’s image to suit his own perspective, but knowing that he will be open to Biblical correction. Any believer that has not accepted and actually embraced Spiritual correction and repented of his former view is straying.

    You are right, Mike, we cannot but call the emergent church to correction and even rebuke because they have significantly strayed and are leading others. Our journey is one of constant prayer and conforming to God’s Word (Son). Where is the exact mix of humility and boldness? Forbearance and correction? Grace and truth? No one will arrive at the exact mix this side of heaven, but if we stop striving to attain it we will ultimately fail and bring discredit to Christ.

    And as you said, conflict is unpleasant, but infinitely more pleasant than the cross!

    Like

  3. totaltransformation,

    I don’t agree with your statement. Genuineness in Christians is obvious by their fruit which is a product of their regeneration.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Like

  4. Sherry,

    If any good came to you through my ministry it is by the hand of God. We can do nothing good unless we are doing what God wants us to do and then He works through us as we obey. So, I agree, if you are blessed by reading these posts then praise God. I rejoice that God is blessing you.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Like

  5. I woulnd’t disagree with you if it wasn’t for my own experience as someone who did all the right things for all the wrong reasons. To any observer I appeared to be on fire for God- the reality of it was an entirely different story. Was the Spirit working in me at the time? I can’t say it wasn’t, but I can say that I barely acknowledged Christ in any of the things I did.

    Thank goodness God knows our hearts and judges us beyond our appearances.

    Like

  6. totaltransformation,

    Ah, you see you and most Christians look at the wrong ‘fruit’ for this. The works we do that would qualify for fruits indicative of a regenerated or Born Again heart are very different than religiiosty.

    Here’s the list: Love for God, Repentance from Sin, Genuine Humility, Devotion to God’s glory, Continual Prayer, Selfless Love, Separation from the World, Spiritual Growth, and Obedient Living. Those things you listed in your comment are not on this list.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Like

  7. I would like to comment on the giving what is holy to dogs and pigs. Sometimes we want people to know the truth so bad that we think we can convince them of it when that is impossible without the Holy Spirit opening their eyes. I have found it much more peaceful to share the truth with someone and continue to answer their questions until they have had enough. If they get angry, I let them know that that I’m not trying to convert them for that isn’t my job but the job of the Holy Spirit’s and I only give the Good News so that they know about salvation. This usually takes them by surprise and they settle down and start asking more questions. I have never brought anyone to the Lord, but that doesn’t matter because it is all in His time…my concern needs to be about sharing the Good News.

    Like

  8. Sarah,

    I think we should continue to give what is holy to people until they start blaspheming. Then we shake the dust off of our feet and move on. We have planted seeds. If they are to repent and turn to the truth then God will grow those seeds. You are right, we save no one.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Like

  9. Mike and Sarah,
    You are right. We cannot save anyone nor can we persuade anyone of the wrongness of the rabbit trail they have choosen to venture down concerning wrong doctrine. I have tried to convince my own child about the truth of salvation only to be met with anger. I have tried to convince my friend of the wrongness of the Word of Faith doctrine only to be met with coolness. I am powerless to change their hearts, only God can change their hearts. I have spoken the truth to them and now I can continue to pray to my Lord for them to be saved and rescued.
    God bless you
    Faye

    Like

Comments are closed.