For a few posts I have been addressing this question: “What does this Gospel do in us and for us?” But I’d like to ask another now, specifically, “How does the Gospel work through us?” Quite frankly, these are questions we ask simultaneously throughout our spiritual journey; but for the sake of this discussion, let’s investigate the latter one individually.
I’ll get right to the point. One word describes how the Gospel works through us: Reconciliation! And the best passage that describes it is in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.
As a doctrine, reconciliation is the act of God in which he, through Christ, removes the enmity that is between us and himself, brought about by our sin, and instead brings us back into fellowship with himself and establishes peace between us.
As an event, reconciliation happened on the cross, and it happens in our life when we believe in the Gospel.
As a word, it is not a legal term (like justification), but rather a relational one. We go from enemies to family; from strangers to friends.
Further insight into reconciliation is found in the previously menioned pasage; truly these verses explode with depth by showing us that . . .
. . . God initiates reconciliation solely,
. . . Christ provides reconciliation sacrificially,
. . . God shares reconciliation expectantly,
. . . all because man needs reconciliation desperately.
There are at least three specific aspects to reconciliation that I’ll discuss in a future post, but it is important first to understand something fundamental about reconciliation from these words of God through the Apostle Paul: The Gospel assumes and assures we will extend what we have experienced; that we will reach out with what we have received.
Truly, the Gospel message knows nothing of a pond-like experience where it trickles in and stagnates. Instead, the Gospel always runs along like a flowing river, coming in and surely going out. As Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4, “The water that I will give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (v. 14).
Let us first cement this fact: The question should never be, “Does the Gospel work through us?” but only, “When and how?” Indeed, it’s a raging river that cannot be dammed once it enters your life. Hallelujah!