THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
BY: CHARLES W. WELLER
What does the word “reconciliation” mean? It may bring to mind the idea of being brought back or gathered together. Mostly we understand this word to be used in reference to someone else, rather than to ourselves. Whenever a person is saved he is brought back. This we will refer to as an external reconciliation, because it is happening to someone else. When reconciliation happens to you in a personal way we will refer to it as an internal reconciliation.
The idea behind this type of internal reconciliation is in personal relationships. Jesus said: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother has aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
Here we have a cross relationship going on: one is vertical – man to God, and the other is horizontal – man to man. The word “reconciliation” goes both ways. It is from man to God, but it also means being reconciled in personal relationships with others.
Now some people think of the word “reconciliation” in reference to the doctrine of God bringing the entire universe into Himself in the ages to come. When they come to this understanding, they think they have it. However, this is precisely where the true understanding of the word is overlooked. This is where we should internalize it and bring it down to this earth plane that our inner-personal as well as our inter-personal relationships would be healed and reconciled.
We need to be able to be reconciled to our husbands, our wives, our children, and be able to say, They, I made a mistake” or “I really blew it and I ask your forgiveness.” When you are reconciled to God you have the security of opening yourself up and letting even your children tell you that you are wrong. I let my children tell me that, because I am wrong. “Dad, you just don’t understand” I have to be able to look harder at the situation and be able to deal with it. I am not experienced, and my teenagers are not like others, so I have to listen to them.
The problem that I have found with most people is that they understand the God-ward aspect of reconciliation but fail to even consider the idea of being reconciled one to another. How can God reconcile the world if people cannot get reconciled to one another. Real understanding of the doctrine must be brought to a personal level.
Colossians 1:20 states: “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” As we look at these verses we see that the reconciliation is total. It doesn’t say “some” things but “all things. It also relates to your body, soul and spirit. It has to relate to all three aspects because you are all three aspects. Your emotions, which run your body, have to be brought under control. Your thinking has to be brought into subjection to the mind of Christ, and your spirit has to be directed and led by the Holy Spirit of God. The spirit that is in you is God’s spirit, but that spirit can be controlled by your soul. The spirit within you must be allowed to have pre-eminence and come under the yielding influence of God to bring the soul out of its dominance. This will rejuvenate or change your mind and give you the mind of Christ. When you cut off the food to the carnal mind it will die. God will then allow the new mind of Christ to grow and take its place.
There are times when individuals believe the doctrine of reconciliation, that everyone is going to be saved, and they have a tendency to cop out. Some will say, “Well, if they are all going to be saved anyway, let’s not worry about it; God is going to bring them in.” The problem is not with God bringing them in, the problem lies with people not letting God use them to do it. For you see if He doesn’t use you to bring them in, He’ll use somebody else and you’ll forfeit the blessing. God could do it all Himself, but He has chosen to involve man in the ministry of reconciliation. God uses people to bring in people. This is a principle that He will follow. If you believe that God is going to reconcile them, and you don’t have anything to do with it, then you won’t get reconciled and neither will the world. You will have to go by way of the woodshed, because God is going to deal with you.
The truth of reconciliation has to be exercised and made manifest. If God has given you understanding of reconciling people, then you have to be able to perform this ministry. And how can you reconcile them, if you can not reconcile your own family? It has to start with you. You’ve got to be reconciled to God in every one of your thoughts, in very one of your actions; you have to come to a personal relationship with Christ, and be totally renewed throughout.
Total reconciliation is glorious! It’s tremendous to think that God will deliver all of creation from the bondage of corruption. I enjoy that truth and to me it is exciting. Nevertheless, I must bring my world, where I live in my mind, into reconciliation first. 2 Corinthians 5:18 states: “And all things are of God, who bath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” Paul said he was given the ministry of reconciliation. What was that ministry? To bring them back to God. Paul would reconcile himself to all others, even if they disagreed with him. He became all things to all men that he might by all means save some. (1 Cor. 9:22) He did not appease men, but he reconciled himself to God first and then to the brethren.
Let us begin our study by looking at how reconciliation starts. Revelation 13:8 says: “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The word “from” means from before. In the very beginning, the Lamb was slain from before the foundation of the world. So, we could ask, “When was Jesus killed?” Was He Willed 2000 years ago? No, not really. He was manifested 2000 years ago. Let us pursue that point even further.
Turn to Romans 16:25, 26: “Not to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was }kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” This scripture is saying that this secret, this mystery that Jesus was slain from before the foundations of the world was not made manifest until this point. Paul says that it is now made manifest for the whole world to see. This mystery is no longer a secret. The secret was made manifest when Jesus was slain literally and physically before the people 2000 years ago. God the Father however, had done this way before things began.
The next question that we can ask ourselves is: Was Jesus slain before or after Adam was made? Spiritually He was slain before Adam was created. This is a great premise – from before the foundations of the world. Most denominations have what I call a “Band-Aid theology. it goes something like this: Adam was doing well in the Garden until he sinned and God had to come up with a solution, since He didn’t know that Adam was going to sin. Therefore God had to send His Son to handle this thing, and it took God 2000 years to solve the problem.
If God did not know that Adam was going to sin, then how can we call God all-knowing? The God I serve is omniscient, and HE IS IN CONTROL. It is not that Adam had the ability to do what he wanted and that God had no control in the situation. In returning to Rev. 13:8 we see the key – that Jesus was slain from before the foundation of the world. How much then does that blood cover? It covers it all! Completely! Does the blood cover those people even though they don’t Know it? Yes it does. God’s grace has allowed all of the corruption that we see on the earth. Why? Because if His blood didn’t cover this corruption, then we would all be judged, right now, all of us. Ever since the beginning of creation we would all have been totally judged, and God’s righteous judgment could have fallen at any time, but His grace abounds.
Why is this so? It is because the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin, and although there is wickedness and corruption in the world, it’s God’s shed blood of His Son that allows the corruption to continue in order that grace may more abound. NOT that sin may more abound, but that grace may more abound to give humanity a little longer time to come to the knowledge of Him. Romans 11:32, 33 and 36 sums it up. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
I was told this true story, which f rather illustrates this principle of grace and Judgment. A man who was a good man and a very good teacher told his first math class on their first day that on September 30 they would have a test. On October 30 they would have a test and the same on November 30. On each of those days they would have a test which would be based on a paper that they were to give him on that day. That would mean that they would also have a paper due on the 3Oth day Of every month for the next three months. He asked if everyone understood, and they all said that they did.
So the first 30 day period came, and he called for the papers to be turned in. Of the 150 students in the class, about 125 gave him papers. The other 25 didn’t have theirs done. After hearing all sorts of excuses he said that was fine, and that he would give them an extension. The next 30 day period came around and he had even less than 125 papers turned in to him. He told them as well that they could have an extension, and they really appreciated that, for he was really a great man.
However, when November 30 came around 75 students turned in papers, and the other half did not. He said, “That’s it, all of you who did not turn in papers get an “F”, because they were all due today.” Of course, the ones who did not get theirs done asked for an extension, and he said, No. I told you at the beginning of the year that this was the way it was. I gave you the rules, I told you the way it was going to be and I’ve given you grace up to this time, but grace ends today.” One of the students started to complain a little and the teacher said, “Now, do you want me to change the grade on that second paper you turned in late, too? You deserved an “F” on that one as well, but I gave you a “B”.” Now, do we understand this principle a little better?
God has a certain law and principle set up in this world, and He has allowed grace to work. We all deserved to die, but He has allowed grace or reconciliation to work in order that He may gather us to Himself. A lot of corruption is going on in the world, and a lot of us are taking advantage of the situation as well. What happened in that class? The longer that grace was allowed, the more they took advantage of his good nature. That’s the same thing going on in the world right now. But thank God for the ministry of reconciliation, the idea of covering sin from the beginning with the blood of Christ and allowing grace to work in order that the people can be brought in to the Father.
Another scripture that can be considered is John 1:1 which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” We then know that Jesus was the first born of all creation. Didn’t He say, “Before Abraham was, I am,” and “I am Alpha and Omega“? He was before everything, and everything comes in through Him; therefore, He is the First and the Last. This brings us to a rather radical thought, which can be simply stated as this: the first thing that God did, even before the creation of the world, was to create His Son.
But Jesus the Spirit-man, that is, before He came down to this earth 2000 years ago, and Jesus the flesh and blood man who walked this earth are far different than the Jesus we now know. Now Jesus is a Spirit and one with His Father; He knows all and sees all as His Father does. If we think back to the time that God created His Son as an entity before the world was created, we see that He has a specific purpose to accomplish, and it is written for us to read in John 3:17. Everyone is familiar with John 3:16, but there is beautiful truth in the following verse which reads: “For (God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”
It says here that the world, the cosmos, the universe is going to be saved and come into the knowledge of God through His Son. Now, that is exciting We also see more verses to support this idea in 1 John 2:1 and 2 which reads: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
With those scriptures in mind and the ideas of Jesus existing before everyone else and being slain before the foundations let us look in John 1:3 where it says: “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” Why does this world hold together? Everything that lives, lives because Jesus Christ is the substance that holds everything together. Now by everything we mean both good and bad, Christian and non-Christian. A non-believer lives because Jesus lives, whether he trusts Jesus or not. If Jesus removed Himself out of creation, nothing would exist, because everything that was made, was made by Him and holds together by His power.
We do clarify, however, that He is not IN everything, but He provides the canopy or covering that allows everything to come forth. In John 1:6-9 we read about John the Baptist’s relationship to Jesus. John came to bear witness of the Light, Who is Jesus. “He (John) was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that comes into the world.”
We read here that Jesus gives light to every man who comes into the world. His spirit is in every man, but not every man is awakened to that spirit within him. Even the unsaved have a spirit, but it is dominated by a carnal mind. It takes being born again or the changing of your mind in order to put on God’s mind and let the spirit have pre-eminence. It is the spirit in the man that cries out for God in its own way. The world is looking for the true Cod, but it is going about it in the wrong way. It looks for God with a carnal mind without enlightenment. We know that when we were found by the Lord, for we were lost – not He, that it satisfied that longing of our spirit from within. Even so shall all creation return to the Lord, because it is all covered by His blood.
Quoting now from Romans chapter 5, verses 15-19: “… For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift By grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, math abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
When Adam sinned his sin fell upon the whole world. Jesus died to save us from our sins so that the whole world would be reconciled and delivered. Reading further the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 15:22 we state something that is stated very plainly. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” That expresses the prod fund love of God. The “all” means just what it says – “all.” If you understand that truth of the reconciliation of God, then you should have reconciliation working in you. Do you know anyone who loves you not for what you can do but for who you are? (God’s love is like that). Is that the way you minister? If it is, then you are ministering reconciliation.
Be reconciled one to another and love each other without seeking to change the other: Allow God to deal with and change the other person. That’s the ministry of reconciliation. There’s great freedom in that type of love. Jesus said in John 12:32 that “if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.” The key here is that He must be lifted up for all men to come unto Him. As we lift others and show them a better way instead of judging them to hell, we are lifting Jesus higher. That’s a kingdom principle. It can be used with any group of people. Wives, as you lift up your husband, Jesus will be lifted up. As men lift their wives and encourage them as they walk together, then Jesus is lifted up as well. When you lift up that person, you make them feel like they are somebody important and worth something. And you know what happens to that person? They desire to become what you see in them, and they begin to change. You are lifted up also, and there is a positive situation going on there and Jesus is glorified.
True reconciliation is going down to where the gates of hell cannot prevail against you and taking a captive away from that plane of living. It is never done by preaching “I told you so”, but by loving that person enough to see them the way that the Lord does, without condemnation. Love covers a multitude of sin. As we said before, God’s judgment could destroy all of us for the way we are, but His grace and mercy was extended to us while we were yet sinners. Should we not be as benevolent to others as He was to us? Remember the parable of the man who was forgiven for his large debt but could not forgive one who owed him a mere pittance? It is found in Matthew 18:21-35. The Lord dealt harshly with him, because he showed no mercy to his fellow servant. True reconciliation covers the other’s weaknesses with the love of God. It isn’t that you allow these problems, but you see the real person behind the problem. You love unconditionally as Jesus would, without holding grudges and without saying anything.
Paul gave us some good advice in Ephesians 4:25-32. Parts of it will be quoted : “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
As these verses imply, we need to get problems, especially between husbands and wives, rectified before going to sleep at night. Do you know why the war can go on for days? Because you are being selfish, feeling sorry for yourself and feeding your ego. All because the carnal you doesn’t want to be reconciled. Sometimes it takes admitting you were in the wrong first, even though you felt it was the other person’s fault. God honors the peacemaker, not the person who thinks he is in the right. First get yourself reconciled to God by giving these hurt feelings to Him and letting Him deal with us. Then it is much easier to forgive the other as the scriptures instruct you to do.
Do we wonder why churches don’t grow? It is be cause the people in the church are not reconciled to each other. Do we wonder why there is so much turmoil in the homes of every land? It is because we chose not to be reconciled, spouse to spouse, children to parents, children to children.
For reconciliation to flow you have to become vulnerable and open yourself up to those who have hurt you or to those you have hurt. Love is vulnerable. Jesus’ love, His reconciliation was so great and vulnerable that it killed Him. Can you open yourself up to such a death? That is the ministry of reconciliation.
I hear many people running around with these great truths and these great doctrines and revelations, and they have got all the understanding that Jesus died for our sins and He has reconciled the whole world and they will all be saved. But these people have all the understanding in their heads, and they are not living it. The problem is not with their knowledge; it comes down to living reconciliation in your life. We should all be working and getting everything reconciled to God.
Another scripture that speaks of all things coming to the Father is in Philippians 2:10-11 which states: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father ” With the above scripture you need to make a note in your Bible of 1 Corinthians 12:3, because this explains the verse in Philippians. “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” So, none can confess Jesus is Lord except they say it through the Holy Spirit, and one must be saved to so proclaim. Yet, the whole earth – above and below and the things in heaven shall state Jesus is Lord. What a love God has that in the fullness of time He shall be totally victorious.
In the past these scriptures have not been interpreted correctly. I have heard it preached that Jesus sets up His Kingdom and conquers everything, and that the people have to bow their knees to Him out of f ear. But that is not what these verses are saying. You can not call Jesus Lord unless He is Lord of your life. The spirit of the person has to be conquered for true submission to take place. True submission comes from the dealings of the Love of God through Jesus Christ. Thus shall all the world be saved.
1 Corinthians 15, which we read before, states in verses 23 – 29: “But every man in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
Christ is the first one who goes back to God. He was the first man raised f row the dead and thereby the first one that goes to the Father. Then the firstfruits, those who are born out of season that come into His image, are the next ones gathered in. They rule and reign with Him, however, when the end comes, He put an end to all rule and authority and power. When this thing is consummated, nobody is going to be ruling and reigning because everyone’s going to be brothers. The lion and the lamb will lie down together. All will be in the nature of God, and all will be reconciled. Death has an end. The reason why is because Jesus shed His blood before Adam’s death. (Rev.13:8) The rule of Adam is within the covering of Christ’s blood, inside the life of God. Adam’s death has reigned so far in this world, but it will end, and when it does, everything will be in life. Time exists only when there is death. When there is no more death, there is no beginning nor ending because everything “is” in Him.
In Exodus 40:15 in the KJV it said that Aaron’s priesthood would be everlasting. Then we read in Hebrews 8 that the new covenant replaces the old. What is the meaning of everlasting in reference to Aaron? Aaron’s priesthood would last an indefinite time, but as far as they were concerned, it would go on forever. Neither Aaron nor any of the priesthood knew when it would end, but God knew that it would in the fullness of times when His Son would show the more perfect way. The word “olam” in the Hebrew shows that the end point or vanishing point is concealed. It goes on for generations to generations to an unknown point.
This brings us to another thought when we talk about Jesus reigning until. What does that tell you about His reign? It means that it will end as well, because everyone will have entered into God and He is all in all. The need for the blood has been fulfilled, because He has become the finisher of everyone’s faith. Salvation is complete.
All of this begins with you being reconciled internally to God, to your spouse, to your family and to all who are around you. Each day is a clean slate in which you can start over. The dawning of the day is a new day in Him. That is the ministry of reconciliation.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
The concept of God saving everyone has been in the scriptures since the beginning because everything that was created came out of the Lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world. Religious systems have hindered the glorious truth of God’s grace and sovereignty working daily in the lives of man to accomplish the plan of the ages.
Other materials on reconciliation can be procured from our ministry and many others. If you wish to research on your own, you will find volumes on the subject with proper effort. Conventional Christianity will not assist you.
But our concern above all else is that such a truth would not be a doctrine, which in and of itself is death. Rather we would have you experience the ministry of reconciliation in your whole being. Be a reconciler. It is a high calling that produces much fruit after much pruning in your life.
Reconciliation is a lifestyle, a way of living, which is gracious, slow to anger, forgiving and always seeks to establish the life of Christ Jesus in the other person at the expense of yourself, even as our Lord did for us. This is life. All other things are death.
Our prayer is this: “Father grant to the reader of this small booklet the spiritual quickening which will establish Him who is the Reconciler within this saint and that the manifestation of Yourself through this person will cause him to be reconciled completely to you and others drawn to Your visage in him.”
RECONCILIATION, MINISTRY of [Charles W. Weller] 1