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THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: Announcing Part 4

Hello everyone. Hope all is well. I completed Part 4 of this series and will likely be posting it on Monday morning, March 29. It is entitled Spiritual Resurrection. There are many Biblical facts within it that some may not be aware of so I hope it will be interesting to you and fill in some gaps in your understanding. I wrote it on Thursday and it turned out to be five pages but I think it reads well. Because it’s been several days since I posted Part 3 I am making this announcement to make you aware it is on the way and to prepare for it.

The Lord Jesus greatly desires reconciliation with everyone and has done all He can to make that happen. When we do our part it does happen. The following is the central passage in His Word revealing The Ministry of Reconciliation:

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [2Corinthians 5:18-20]

Thanks to all of you who have read all or parts of this series so far, and thanks for the many excellent comments that have added to our understanding of the subject matter. You are all appreciated. If anyone wants to read parts they may have missed I have added links and their titles below. Be blessed. See you on Monday.

3/11: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

3/14: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

3/17: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

3/29: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4) Coming Monday

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

There are two types of Christians in the world—those who desire and choose to have an actual relationship with God, and those who are content to pretend they have one.

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Thanks to everyone who read and enjoyed Part 1 of this series. In Part 2 we will learn the applicable New Testament English words and their Greek counterparts relevant to this study and also the verses where they occur. This will get a tad technical but I will keep it as concise as possible. It is important to gain a better understanding of the original Greek words and their meanings. As you read consider the apostle Paul as he dictated the NT letters from which we derive this study. Think about the original copies he created by the Lord’s inspiration and the rounds they made to the many groups of Christians in the various cities of that time.   

BIBLE VERSION

Those who follow this blog know my Bible version of choice is the New American Standard 1995 Update. This is an excellent version and likely the most literal. It is extremely important when doing NT word studies to use an accurate version faithful to the Greek and limited to its original transmission. The three translated English words used here are from the NASB95. They are (1) reconciliation, (2) reconciled, and (3) reconciling. The next section gives us a brief overview of each.

WORD STUDY

RECONCILIATION

The word reconciliation occurs four times in the NT. Each one is translated from the same Greek root word. Three of these occurrences are applicable to this study.

The Greek root word is katallagh. It is pronounced kat-al-lag-ay’. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#2643):

(1) exchange (1a) of the business of money changers, exchanging equivalent values (2) adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favor (2a) in the NT of the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ.

The following are the three applicable verses in which this word occurs:

And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. [Romans 5:11]

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, [2Corinthians 5:18]

namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. [2Corinthians 5:19]

RECONCILED

The word reconciled occurs seven times in the NT and is translated from three different Greek root words. Five of these occurrences are applicable to this study and are translated from two Greek root words.

Four of these occurrences are from the Greek root word katallasso. It is pronounced kat-al-las’-so. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#2644):

(1) to change, exchange, as coins for others of equivalent value (1a) to reconcile (those who are at variance) (1b) return to favor with, be reconciled to one (1c) to receive one into favor

The following are the three applicable verses in which this word occurs:

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. [Romans 5:10]

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, [2Corinthians 5:18]

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [2Corinthians 5:20]

One occurrence is from the Greek root word apokatallasso. It is pronounced ap-ok-at-al-las’-so. The following definition is from Strong’s Concordance (#604):

(1) to reconcile completely (2) to reconcile back again, bring back a former state of harmony

The following is the one applicable verse in which this word occurs:

yet 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 1:22] 

RECONCILING

The word reconciling occurs once in the NT and is also translated from the Greek root word katallasso as is the word reconciled (See the preceding).

VERSES IN CONTEXT

The title of this series is The Ministry of Reconciliation. The phrase ministry of reconciliation appears only once in the NT, in 2Corinthians 5:18. There are three epistles where Paul refers to this ministry: Romans, 2Corinthians, and Colossians. Regardless of the book of Romans appearing first in the NT among Paul’s letters, Paul wrote his Corinthian letters before he wrote Romans. Of these three he wrote Colossians last. According to New Testament scholars Conybeare and Howson,[1] Paul wrote 1Corinthians in the spring of 57 and 2Corinthians in the autumn of that year, both in Ephesus. He wrote Romans from Corinth in the spring of 58. He wrote Colossians in Rome in the spring of 62.  

From this we know he first revealed the Ministry of Reconciliation in 2Corinthians. Also, of the nine applicable occurrences of the three English words of our study, five occur in the three verse segment of 2Corinthians 5:18-20. Thus, we refer primarily in this study to Chapter 5 of that book, notably to verses 17-21, as the definitive passage of Paul’s teaching:

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [2Corinthians 5:17-21] [2]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] The Life and Epistles of Saint Paul by W.J. Conybeare and J.S. Howson

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4)

 

IF HE CALLS HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN AND ENDS UP IN HELL IT’S HIS OWN FAULT

Blog Pic 10.11.19

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          He didn’t read the fine print.

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            The New Testament is the fine print. It includes anything and everything one must know in order to secure one’s heavenly eternity. It includes primarily the unabridged original teachings of the Lord Jesus. It also includes the first Christian history book explaining in full detail exactly what it means to be a real Christian by seeing Real Christianity in action. The New Testament includes as well several preserved letters of correspondence and teaching explaining in great detail the actual teachings of original first century Christianity, most of which were written by Paul the apostle, who was also the best teacher of the early Christian Community.

         The early believers paid close attention to the Lord’s teachings. In their mature state they followed them to the nth degree. But this did not make them legalistic like the later dogmatic DAs of Unreal Christianity who, like the Pharisees, loved legalism and forced indoctrination. They majored on the letter (though they didn’t follow it) but disdained and rejected the Spirit. Paul said this:

         Our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [2Corinthians 3:5-6]

         Those who major on the letter refused to be filled with the Spirit as per the Lord’s command. They will not walk in the Spirit, teach the Spirit, or be empowered by the Spirit. Consequently they walk around like religious zombies in new suits while deluding the world into following the dead faux forms of Christianity which the world is deceived into believing are the real thing. They also work very hard at attempting to make the real thing appear illegitimate.

         Some people, however, can see right through religious camouflage. Apparently, most people cannot. Thus, most Christians in the world do not follow the Lord Jesus; they follow their own pastors, ministers, reverends, denominational hierarchies, and etc. The more of a following the substitutes get the more powerful they become and the more easy it becomes to spout their false Christian teachings.

SO WE ARE WHAT WE ARE WHY?

         There are a few people, and only a few, who manage to discover the roots of their particular denomination. If they remain loyal to their denomination that’s as far as they go. If one is a Protestant, that is, a religious descendant of those who fiercely protested against the Roman Catholics, his roots go back about five hundred years at the most. If one is Catholic, his roots go back to Constantine in the early fourth century. That’s about seventeen hundred years ago. Of course, the Lord Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago. Wouldn’t it be smart to just keep going back until arriving at the source?

          “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” [John 5:43-44] [1]

         Of course, the vast majority of Protestants and Catholics have absolutely no idea of their actual denominational roots, nor do they care to put any effort into discovering them. Denominational lifers are what they are for various reasons, none of which has anything to do with actually following the Lord Jesus. Why? Because when one actually begins following the Lord Jesus one will intently read all of His teachings and then begin studying His teachings in-depth. When one does this he will find discrepancies between the Lord’s teachings and those of his church or denomination. He will then seek answers for why this is so. His innocent queries will inevitably lead to the leadership. The leadership will then downplay such questions and attempt to further circle the wagons around the straying sheep in an effort to get him back into the denominational corral. This often works. Those who succumb are doomed to being longtime members of a mere religious club who care more for social inclusiveness rather than the Lord’s truth.

         Though they start out great following the early truth trail they get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse.

        They then become denominational Christians in which their own denominational teachings always trump the pure teachings of the Lord. Whenever questions arise they never ask “What did Jesus teach?” Instead, they ask, “What does my church teach?” Or “What does the Pope teach? Or Martin Luther, or John Calvin, or John Wesley, or Fatboy, or Smiley. Or “What does my own pastor teach?”

          Of course, all of these people are mere men but judging by their fawners they are worshipped as deities. They are never questioned. Questioning one’s pastor is the new unforgiveable sin. It only works in that tiny location, however. When you walk away and shake the dust off your feet you get to be “saved again” and discover the Lord still loves you. You also rediscover cool things like eyesight and liberty and sunshine and places where seldom is heard a discouraging word.

         For a New Testament illustration regarding what happens to people who actually question the leadership or particular church doctrines, there is that which happened to the Lord and pretty much all of His early followers: If one was a member of a local synagogue and everyone there did everything they were told to do by the leadership and believed everything they were supposed to believe, then all parties, especially the leadership, were all smiles. It was a quasi-contented and quiet place though there was likely a massive cloud of fear just under the surface. All the good guys—the no power or influence members who desired truth and love—were scared spitless to speak or act or move in any such way which may be rendered religiously incorrect because they knew their entire lives were built on being members in good standing. And that meant following the controllers 100%. There was no independence of thought or seeking of truth. There was certainly no liberty in the Spirit. There was only a sad and spineless kowtowing to “the leadership.”

       When one stepped out of line, those beautiful contented costumed clergy boys were suddenly transformed into stark raving mad lunatics who wanted to abuse, maim, and kill. They always had rocks very handy at their disposal.

         Does this sound familiar? Because it also accurately describes roughly 90% of Christian “churches.” It used to be that they would disfellowship a person in a nano second but seeing the error of their ways and that it too easily revealed themselves as the Christian Pharisees they were, they reverted to the tried and true Silently Disparage, Gossip About, Reject From Fellowship and Communication, and Treat Indifferently Method. This works just as well and allows the good members thereof to practice world class Holier-Than-Thou smugness. You know, just like the Lord did.

SOMETIMES, TRUTH IS SO INCONVENIENT

         The reason so many of these kinds of Christians are so apathetic toward the Lord’s teachings is because it doesn’t matter anyway. They are all told what to believe. They can only legally believe what they are told. If they divert from that they bump up against the edges of their party boundaries. Many therefore refuse even an attempt to seek further Biblical truth because they may inconveniently discover greatly discomforting facts which depreciate the investment in their chosen religious culture. This could in turn cause a weakening of one’s personal foundation and social standing. What then?

            In the words of Luke Skywalker, “NO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O…!”                       

            © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.