The Cross is the Basis for Real Reconciliation

by | Jun 28, 2022

Human beings are not very good at nuance. We think we are. We like to imagine ourselves as perfectly balanced in all our thinking, able to dispassionately apply the Scripture’s wisdom without bias or corruption. But none of us do that. We are all flawed in our thinking, which is why Scripture tells us that there is wisdom in many counselors (Proverbs 15:22). We have posted articles in the past two weeks which speak critically of a just preach the gospel and racism will go away approach. The goal of this article is to provide a complementary perspective on the basic for real reconciliation.

After rising from the dead and before ascending to the Father, Jesus told his followers:

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19–20 [CSB])

Notice the all-encompassing nature of the message Jesus commissioned his followers to teach. To be faithful to Jesus in sharing his message, we must teach not only faith in him as Savior but obedience to him as Lord.

According to Jesus, Christian obedience is not inconsistent with a gracious salvation. So when we advocate for greater obedience to God on matters like racial justice, we do not downplay the grace of God given in Christ.

Quite the opposite. The cross is our hope.

The central message of Christianity is reconciliation—first with God then with each other as redeemed humanity (2 Corinthians 5). In order to overcome the worldly barriers which have separated humans since we left the garden, we need the grace of Jesus Christ to renew our hearts. The redeemed heart is soft to obey the commands of God which means that God’s people are marked by love, joy, peace, patience, and other fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).

Only in such an environment is Christian reconciliation possible. Laws may change human behavior, and laws which make society more just are good laws. But laws can never change human hearts. For that we need the gospel.

The family of God is the place where we can have the highest hopes for ethnic unity because we have something which can overcome every human barrier. God’s power is greater than racism’s hold. The cross is our hope because the cross is the basis for Christian reconciliation. Others who do not know Jesus may find unity, but that unity will lack the life-transforming power of God.

This side of glory we experience foretastes of the perfect unity Jesus bought for his people. We are not yet perfected. Our hearts still cling to our preferences. We aspire to the humility of Christ but none of us can claim to be without sin. Yet our hope remains.

We can all point to examples in our lives where someone in the family of God has wronged us. But the truth remains that God promises to provide family beyond anything we had before on our way to eternal life (Matthew 19:29). And the basis for this hope, this family, this life eternal is the cross of Jesus Christ.

 

Published: September 28, 2021


Prayer Requests

  1. Pray that God’s people would reflect the unity Christ prayed for (John 17).
  2. Pray for a heart soft to obey the commands of Jesus.
  3. Pray that God’s people would be encouraged and strengthened in their fellowship in our specific local churches.

 

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Author

  • Austin Suter

    Austin is the executive director and editor for U?WP. He is a husband, father and seminary student at RTS Charlotte. Austin is a member at Iron City Church in Birmingham, AL. @amsuter

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