William Andrew Dillard
RECONCILIATION AND NONSENSE
The subject of reconciliation is heard across much of the religious world today. But it appears to be as much secular as religious, and in some cases outright nonsense. Think with me a minute.
Just what does the word mean in the context of current usage? Largely it is calling upon churches to apologize to the black community for the sins of fathers three or four generations ago when slavery was common. The hoped for outcome is peace and acceptance with others who harbor ill feelings over the actions of that era.
The truth is that those who harbor such feelings are wrong to do so. They were never wronged, and the present generation never did wrong to apologize for what they never did, and are unable to do for what past generations did. Moreover, history reveals that many black people owned slaves as well. Additionally, the Bible never condemns slavery as a way of life, rather presents it as the ideal of relationship of man with God. The term “doulos” meaning bond slave, is an oft repeated New Testament term of obedient man’s relationship with God. Furthermore, One may repent of his own sins, but he cannot repent of the sins of another. The same is true of apologies. So the whole thing is a farce!
The New Testament presentation of reconciliation is that of man being reconciled to God which is possible only through repentance and faith on the merits of Christ Jesus and the truth of His Word. If one is to enjoy the blessings of God in growing in knowledge and grace, he must be submissive, that is, reconciled to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in connective terms of the Holy Word. Reconciliation measures one against the pattern set down in Holy Writ, and only that which matches is acceptable.
Reconciliation is not some high and lofty rule to which man always fails to attain, neither is it burdensome as some ascetics may indicate. Rather it is a state which is beyond man’s reach entirely, but perfectly attained by the Man, Christ Jesus. Thus faith in Him, His Word, His Person, His work, will bring the spirit of a wayward sinner into the spiritual state of reconciliation with the Holy God. It is not that we achieve a level above all sin, but that our faith is counted as the Faith of Christ Jesus who did just that! Beyond that, we are given the blessed privilege of reconciling our day to day life to God through understanding and application of the faith once delivered to the saints; hence, the apostolic plea, “. . . as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20.
The theological presentation of reconciliation is beautiful, but as so many other terms and ideas. it may be twisted out of context and presented in a way never intended. Such as that is not the presentation of the harmonious scriptures, but the nonsense of a religious world that thinks it can deal with God’s Word anyway it wants.