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STUDY 7 Reconciliation (Romans 5 v11).
Bible passages to be read: 2 Corinthians 5 v14-21, Romans 5 v8-11, Colossians 1 v13-23, Luke 15 v11-32, Ephesians 2 v16.
There is an Old Testament story, which provides an illustration of what the word reconciliation - a change of standing with another - a restoration to favour - really implies. David (1 Samuel 29), in order to escape from the vindictive pursuit of Saul, had fled to the court of the Philistine King, Achish. When the Philistines were ready to invade the land of Israel Achish wished to take David with him, but the lords of the Philistines protested, saying, “Let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? Should it not be with the heads of these men?” They feared that in the face of a common enemy Saul and David would come together, and be at one in fighting against them. Reconciliation means being made ‘at one’ with God.
2 Corinthians 5 v14-21, is one of the great reconciliation passages of the New Testament. Read this passage carefully.
1. Would you say from this passage that the basis of reconciliation with God is the Cross? Do you think that verse 15 provides the explanation of the meaning of verse 14? Comment on this suggestion.
Look particularly at verses 16-19. God has embarked on a new creation altogether. Compare these verses with Galatians 6 v12-16. It is not, in this new creation, the man Jesus, as He was when He walked on this earth, whom we know and serve; it is the crucified, risen Saviour, who lives for ever upon the throne of God. At the gateway of this new creation reconciliation stands as an open door for sinful men.
2. Sum up in your own words the teaching of verses 18 and 19 about this.
3. This passage ends with verses 20-21. Picture yourself as an ambassador for Christ; and show how these verses could be used in advising a friend seeking salvation.
Romans 5 v8-11 tells us more about the reconciling love of God.
4. Comment on the suggestion that God not only provides the means by which we may be reconciled to Him, but also provides the power and provision that we may live as His children.
Now we can turn to Colossians 1 v13-23. This is a passage which greatly exalts the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Do you find in this passage the means mentioned by which reconciliation with God has been secured? What, from this passage, would you expect to see in the life of the man, who is reconciled to God?
Luke 15 v11-32, provides us with a wonderful picture of reconciliation in action.
6. What strikes you as possible confirmation in this story of the statement that there are two sides to reconciliation - God’s reconciling love reaching out to sinful man, and man’s response to the drawing power of that love? Do you find in the story any hint of God’s full provision for the returning sinner?
7. Read Ephesians 2 v16, in this context. Would you agree that reconciliation with God also sweeps away many of the barriers between men? Comment on this thought.