Pastor Dave continues our Weak is Strong series with a sermon from 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. Download the sermon guide (Book 3, Week 16) at fouroakschurch.com/guide.
2 Corinthians. The title of this series is “Weak is Strong.” To be honest it has been something of a brain bending study so far because one of the things we are learning, as we get deeper into this epistle of 2 Corinthians, is that it describes life in two seemingly incompatible experiences. We started out in chapter 1 finding where Paul talks about comfort in suffering. In chapter 3 he talked about glory manifesting through shame. In chapter 4 it was about life working through death. In chapter 6 we are going to discover riches through poverty. In chapter 12 we are going to look at power through weakness. It is like 2 Corinthians just reaches right down into the center of human existence and just kind of fiddles with all of our categories and that is a good thing. God wants to make some adjustments in our thinking and in our heart and I know that is going on for me as I study this and I trust that you are having the same experience.
This morning we are in 2 Corinthians 5. Just three verses today, verses 18, 19, & 20. The title of today’s message is The Ambassador’s Appeal. Lets just jump together right into verse 18.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Let’s pray. Lord, there are undoubtedly two different categories of folks here this morning. Lord, there are those who have been reconciled to you through Christ and those you are pursuing for reconciliation to you through Christ. Lord, my prayer is this morning, as we delve into this important passage, that you would reach all of us in some significant and personal way, through our time together. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
The other day we had a family from church over for dinner and as they were leaving I showed them one of my few earthly prized possessions, apart from my wife and children. It is a frame excerpt of a sermon that was preached by Charles Spurgeon. You might recall, Charles Spurgeon 19th century famed London pastor known as the prince of preachers. The reason why this sermon is framed is because portions of it are in his actual handwriting. It was a gift to me from Pete Greasley, remember Pete, he is the pastor from Wales, he has preached here a couple of times. Once, Charles Spurgeon was asked by some people who were visiting his church about the secret of his success. They asked, “What is the source of the extraordinary power that you appear to have as a preacher?” He replied simply and without hesitation, “My people pray for me.” Spurgeon was emphatic about this. Spurgeon wanted there to be no misunderstanding that the secret of his success and the potency behind his power and his ministry was God. To this point, thus far, much of the letter we have been studying together has been dedicated to Paul’s defense. As you probably recall, there are false teachers that have infiltrated the church and they have launched an attack on Paul’s credibility, requiring him to defend the authenticity of his ministry. Last week we saw how Paul clarified the distinction that he saw between them and him. He said that they are about appearance and I am about the heart. They speak for men, but I speak for God. They love themselves, but the love of Christ controls us.
Now, he is at a place in the letter where, having said these things, he wants to answer the same question that was posed to Charles Spurgeon. In other words, what makes all of this possible? What is the source behind the power that allows a man to be able to say he is controlled by the love of God? What allows a man to be able to stand before others in defense of himself and say that he is driven by heart rather than face or appearance? To be honest, this is another place where we encounter something that is entirely unexpected. Paul locates the source of these realities in the doctrine of reconciliation. If that is not a word that you are familiar with, don’t be intimidated because we are going to talk about and explain it in just a second. But, in order to get there I want to describe for you, from this passage, what is the connection that Paul is making between transformation and reconciliation. What is the connection? That is where Paul is going. After talking about how his life has been transformed, he is now talking about the source, the power, behind this transformation. I want to give it to you in three different “A’s” beginning with the Author of reconciliation.
The question of authorship is behind this power and the question of authorship is really resolved within the first five words of the passage we read this morning. This is how Paul starts, “All this is from God.
In other words, to the question of the source of his power that makes him a new creation and the source of his power that allows him to love and be controlled by love, he says that all of that, all of it, is from God. Now, at a first glance that almost hits you as an almost patently simple statement. Almost makes Paul appear like thanks a lot Captain Obvious. Thanks for making that very general and generic statement that this is all from God. It almost seems super spiritual. But, see, Paul is getting to something specific here because he knows something about himself and he know something about God and God knows it as well. That is that there is always this kind of guerilla warfare in our souls over the credit for the changes that happen in our life.
Paul is talking about these extraordinary changes that have happened and he wants to make sure that everyone is clear on the source of those changes and that there be no mistake; that it was not simply that he determined to change himself or that he decided one day that he would employ himself in a particularly brilliant way so that he could have these changes result within him.
Part of the reason why it is so important to realize the significance of this statement “All this is from God is because there is almost a predictable trajectory that we can have as we walk with Christ. It goes something like this. We are converted. We have this experience with Jesus where the Spirit of God comes into our hearts, he renews us, and we love Jesus in a new way. Then the Spirit empowers us so that change begins to happen within our lives. When we begin to change towards God, that which was typically bad fruit in our life becomes good fruit in our life. Then, along with the fruit comes this other thing that just begins to creep in behind it and that is pride. Something within us begins to shift the responsibility for why we have changed from God to us. From something in God to something in us. The fact of it is that God, who was very big for us at conversion, begins to shrink smaller and smaller and smaller.
It is almost like what happens when you are working on your computer. After you work on the computer, your computer goes into a sort of sleep mode. The computer is still there. It is still on and working but it isn’t working in the same way at present. That is how we relate to God sometimes. He did the hard work at conversion, he was with us in a real strong way when we were banging out the document, but then he kind of goes on sleep mode and we take over. Paul says no no no you don’t understand. All of that and all of this is from God.
Now, what happens in the passage, the “this” in the statement, “All this is from God” gets unpacked through this idea of reconciliation. This word reconciliation is used 5 times in the passage. If you count verse 21, which is the last verse in the chapter, it is used 6 different times. By the way, Paul is the only New Testament author to use this word. The word reconciliation means “to change” but particularly in the standing between two people or the standing of relationship from one being to another being. In Greek social circles it meant a change between different parties. In Greek religious affairs it meant a change between the deity that the person worshipped, and the person themself.
We notice from this passage that there are various uses of the word of the term being used. In verse 18 Christ reconciled us to himself, the ministry of reconciliation is used and then it also says reconciling the world to himself, then it says the message of reconciliation and then he cries out be reconciled to God. I want us to understand that although there are these different uses, there are some fundamental commonalities or things that are uniform within the passage that are applied within all the uses of those words. When you use the word reconciliation, this is implied.
1) It implies there was a former friendship or relationship. This term always assumes an earlier alliance. You never reconcile people who don’t know one another. You never reconcile people that didn’t have a relationship in the past. What the term is doing is catapulting us back to the Garden of Eden. You remember the story. Just picture it in your mind. You have this place of joy and beauty and these two beings, Adam and Eve, who are living a life of in one sense, deep satisfaction, because each and every day they are walking with God. They are walking alongside of God and there is nothing in their relationship with God that has divided them. There is nothing in their relationship with one another that has estranged them or alienated them. They are together in the garden, God and man, in the beauty of this environment. They are naked, which by the way, when it is used in Genesis 1 & 2 that is not a sexual thing. That is symbolic of a life that is uncovered before God and before one another. That signifies the transparency and depth of relationship, that there was nothing that stood between God and man and there was nothing that stood between man and woman, not even clothing.
Now, all the sudden, there is a hiss in the garden, and sin slithers in, and man and woman choose autonomy over relationship with God and fellowship with God. Relationship was broken. Its not that it was broken and that is the only implication, but all of the sudden, between God and man, there was this hostility or enmity that arrived, because the fellowship they had, the friendship they once shared was broken. They had this former friendship. Reconciliation implies a former relationship or a former friendship.
2) Reconciliation implies that enmity (don’t be intimidated by that word, it just means a kind of hostility or a broken relationship) exists on both sides. There is a very small problem in this and that is that the man had enmity and the woman had enmity towards God. But that wasn’t the only problem and that wasn’t the biggest problem. It wasn’t just that our craving for independence was ignited, and it blinded us to God so that we reached out and grabbed our own way. Our alienation from God was indeed serious, but it is actually only a small symptom of a far bigger problem. It is like the person who lives unaware that they have a fatal form of leukemia and they are walking up the steps one day and they get a little winded. You think, that isn’t a big deal if someone walks up the steps and gets a little winded. That is a problem in the life of every person over 40. Winded is typically a small problem unless winded is a symptom of leukemia. You see, our enmity with God is like getting winded because we have leukemia. It is a small symptom of a bigger problem. The leukemia is God’s enmity with us.
What happened in the Garden of Eden, yeah, there was a small problem that man became separated from God and man pulled back and felt hostile towards God. That is a small problem. But, there is a far bigger problem that scripture describes, and that is God’s enmity towards those that break his law. That is why verse 18, the second part of it says “who through Christ reconciled us to himself” he reconciled us to himself. Not him to us like we were the party that really needed to be reconciled with. See, here is the point I’m trying to make. In reconciliation, God is the aggrieved party. God is the aggrieved party. This leads me to my third implication.
3) Reconciliation makes God the reconciler. Again, listen to the way the verse goes “who through Christ reconciled us to himself.” Us to him. Lets just slow down for a second. This is where it gets truly amazing. The one who is aggrieved actually becomes the one who reconciles. He is the author of reconciliation. Which means, we are the recipients of reconciliation. When you hear that word, reconciliation, you have to keep in view that it is not something we do, but it is something we receive. It is not something we allow, it is something we accept because God has brought it our way. Its not like one day we just decide to stop rejecting God and say, “Hey, I’m just going to bury the hatchet here. Come on God, let’s be friends, come on back into my kingdom. Get back over here God, you crazy God, come on over here.” That is like a man getting so angry that he kills another man and then he turns to his grieving widow and says “You know what? I’ve actually forgiven him for my anger towards him.” He has no moral ground to talk about forgiveness because his sins against the man he killed and his sins against the widow are astronomically greater than any sin the slain man had against the one who killed him.
You know what is so amazing about reconciliation? I want you to think about this. The one who was most sinned against does all the work to reconcile. I want you to think about that. Stop and ponder that. This is another point that we arrive at where the gospel just feels audacious. Certainly out of step with the world. Let’s be honest. The one sinned against is the one who gets to be most offended. The one sinned against is the one who gets to be the most unentreatable or most entrenched in their bitterness. Politically speaking the one sinned against is the one who gets the most power. They derive power from the aggrieved status. They grab the high ground of victimization then determine policy because they are the aggrieved party. But, in the kingdom, it is completely different. I think God uses passages like this to get us thinking. There is a time coming up, probably even later today, where someone is going to sin against you. Someone, perhaps in this very room, is going to sin against you. Maybe someone in your family, maybe even an enemy. What we have before us is a claim to us through the gospel where the one most sinned against does the work to reconcile. Are you beginning to see why Paul would bring up love and reconciliation in the same breath? True reconciliation requires a kind of extraordinary love. The reason why he is able to say love controls me is because he understood what it meant that Christ died for him.
That completes the first “A” which illustrates for us the author of reconciliation. Which leads us next to the second one, which is the aim of reconciliation. If we are simply following the passage we see that Paul drops us a little deeper into this connection between transformation and reconciliation. How did he reconcile us to himself? That is the question he answers next. How did he do that? Look at 19 again. “that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” So for God to reconcile us to himself, he had to find a way to not count our trespasses against us. See, the naked truth of scripture and God’s word is that trespasses had to count.
There is reason why this doesn’t say he made it so our trespasses were dismissed on a technicality or thrown out on insufficient evidence. No, there is no way to uphold justice and righteousness and spring a sinner from the responsibility of their sin or spring a sinner from the responsibility of being punished for their sin. God’s law could not bend or be circumvented or compromised. The penalty must be paid! The punishment must be delivered! The cost of sins must count against someone. Someone has got to pay for sin. It is only right. It is only just and moral and ethical.
A judge is not moral or ethical if there is no penalty for crime. I don’t care who he or she is. If you have criminal after criminal arriving in their courtroom and they say, “you know, I’m aware that you raped or stole or murdered, but you seem like a nice guy. Why don’t you go home and not do it again?” No one is going to rise up and say, “I bless that man! He’s very wise for the way he handled that!” or “Listen to her compassion!” No! They are going to feel like some profound perversion of justice has taken place. Wow! How much more must a holy and righteous God uphold his holy and perfect justice for those who broke his holy perfect law?
This is what he did. HE found a way to make our sins count, but not against us, against him. God said I love them so much this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to organize a swap. I’m going to arrange a substitution. I’m going to come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and I’m going to live the life that they should have lived. Why? Because that perfect life would have accomplished what Adam did not accomplish. That perfect life would be able to maintain a relationship with the holy God. Would be able to maintain the friendship that man and God started out with in the garden. That perfect life would be deserving of eternal life. God says I’m going to come in the person of the God man. I’m going to walk the walk that they should have walked. I’m going to live the life that they should have lived. I’m going to obey the law that they should have obeyed. That will make me deserving of eternal life and then this is what he does. Once I earn all of that, once I make that statement, once I live that life, I’m going to make a swap. I’m going to do a substitution. I’m going to substitute myself in their place and have their sins count against me. I’m going to die the death that they deserved and in so doing I am going to sacrifice myself and put myself under the penalty that their sins deserved. I am going to endure the punishment for the law breaking that they did.
Talk about amazing love! There is a reason why the holy and just God does not count our trespasses against us. It is because it was counted against him. Paul is bringing that forward that they might understand and that we might understand as well, that there is a connection between all of that goodness and Pauls’ defense. There is a connection between all of that goodness and the power behind Paul. There is something that happens in the life of a believer when their sin is not counted against them.
For instance, it means that you are, we are, approved by God. Approved, not tolerated, approved by God. Do you know what it means to have God’s approval? It means that you can live this life, be in this church, in this small group, in your marriage, in your family and you can be honest about who you really are. If you want to understand truly how Paul could boast in his weakness, how this dude could defend himself using the strategy of sharing how weak he was, and confessing his sin, it was because he knew his sins were not counted against him, they were counted against Christ. Therefore, he was approved before God. Paul could acknowledge the reality of his sinfulness. He could acknowledge the reality of his weakness without feeling like he needed to be the most super spiritual person in the group.
The one that seeks to get the leverage by mentioning these supernatural experiences they have had or how much they have prayed that day? The works of God can kind of be thrown out there to build our own equity or to build our profile in the eyes of others. You want to have a great relationship with another believer? In fact, I believe this works with unbelievers too. You want to have a great relationship with another person? Drop the illusion of perfection. Drop it. Just leave it behind. In fact, tell them you are a sinner. In fact, tell them how you sin. Let’s be honest. Everyone already knows you are a sinner. Why don’t you just remove the speculation on how you do it?
One of the clearest evidences of pride in a man or a woman is their inability to talk about their weakness. It is that they just can’t go there, and I know there because I have done it, they just can’t go there because there is a perception of ourselves that we want to protect. To bring in our own weakness or our own sinfulness would change the way people might think about that. That is how Paul basically defends himself against these idiots. Not the Corinthians, I’m talking about the false teachers. What Paul says is you think I’m weak? I’m weaker than you can imagine. You think I’m a sinner? You don’t know half of the ways I’ve sinned. They just do not know what to do with that because they cannot tolerate, nor do they understand the security that comes from a man or a woman when they understand what it means that they are approved by God.
Let me just speak for a second to those here who are leader, man or woman, and also those who may do counseling in the world in which you run. So much of my ability to help people, to the extent that I am able to do it, springs not from my dissimilarity to them, but from my similarity to them. In other words, when they are acknowledging some challenge that they are experiencing, I see myself in that struggle and I can make the connection between some area where I have met God and I can import that into the conversation. That doesn’t mean necessarily that I can identify with every sin confessed to me, but it does mean that I can identify with every sinner confessing to me.
That principle of identification where we see in the perfect high priest, who sympathizes with us in our weakness, is at the center of gospel-centered leadership. It is near the core of gospel centered counseling. You are staring from a position where you realize I have been approved by God, therefore my sins are not counted against me, therefore, I can be in this conversation and I can be a real person. Husbands, your wife needs to see a real person. I appreciate your desire to be strong, but do they know your weakness or is that something you are trying to kind of manipulate around or never talk about? True strength is Pauline strength. It means we derive it first from the gospel and we stand on the security of that. Then we speak of the reality, not just of sin, but also of the incredible love of God.
Here is the second application. Where sin is not counted, we are free to love. That is the reason Paul was able to say in verse 14 that the love of Christ controls me. He is free to love. He is saying this to these Corinthians. They are a funny group. A Corinthian is basically a Christian who doesn’t get it. You got anybody like that in your life? Don’t roll your eyes too quickly because there are other people who are thinking about you when that is mentioned. Someone who just doesn’t get it. The danger we all have with Corinthians is that there is a way that they live and there is a way that we behave where we end up kind of positioning ourselves so that we are always counting their sins. They are always out there and out in front. There is a way they live where some men’s sins go before them. That is the Corinthians. There is a lot of sin to deal with. In the way we relate to them we end up thinking more about their sin & talking more about their sin.
Most teenagers are like Corinthians. Parents can be always thinking about their sin and talking about their sin and making their sin the center point of the discussion. There may be people in this room who have avoided membership in the church because they felt their church was full of Corinthians. Yet, here we have Paul, among the Corinthians, knowing all of their baggage, adding his own baggage to their baggage, and able to say the love of Christ controls me. There is something about this whole sin counting thing. There is something about the way that Paul is aware his sins have been counted against Christ so they aren’t counted against him. It releases him from being in relationship as a sin counter.
You ever have anyone like that in your life where you just know that when you do something wrong, that is not only going to be counted in the moment, but it will be counted against you in the future. The idea that God throws your sins away and buries them in the deepest sea, these folks are always fishing and pulling in catfish and pulling in carp of old sin. Maybe that is you. Maybe that is really hard to understand or admit, but your kids see you as a sin fisher casting that line. What did you do last night? No, what did you REALLY do last night? It’s not that we shouldn’t be discerning, because as Christians, we should be the most discerning people on earth. It’s that if our children live more aware of our suspicion than our love, then there is something about the gospel that we are just not getting. There is this sense where, because Jesus paid the price for the sins of other believers, we don’t need to live counting their sins because he lived and died counting their sins.
See, what the gospel does is it reminds us that at the cross I didn’t get what I deserved, so I’m not going to live my life holding you hostage until you get what I think you deserve. I received the forgiveness of Jesus Christ for all of the things I deserve and that positions me now, not be a sin counter, to not be a sin fisher, but to be one who is able to love and to let the love of Christ control them. It is how Paul applied reconciliation. Where sin is not counted, he was free to love. That is the second point. The “A”, the aim of reconciliation.
The final one is the ambassador of reconciliation. This is where the reminder of this passage takes a fascinating turn because what really happens now is that the reconciled are called to be reconcilers. Just listen to the way Paul says it. He says, “entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ,” (and then he defines that) “God making his appeal through us. (and then he brings the pathos that is behind that) “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” One of the things that I love about this passage is that it is really easy to exposit. There are just three specific facets of what this means to be a reconciler. That is that we are entrusted with a message, we are made an ambassador, and we appeal for reconciliation. That’s it. That is a breakdown of that passage. We are entrusted with a message, we are made an ambassador, and we appeal for reconciliation. Let me comment briefly on each on of them.
We are entrusted with a message. Of course, the message is the gospel. The old old story. In other words, we are not in a relationship, we are not in our community or in our family seeking to be original or seeking to be inventive. We do not add to the gospel nor do we take away from the gospel. It is not a new story, it is an old story. A very old story that has been entrusted to us. The message of reconciliation that we might re-speak it to other people, but it is an old story. Are you familiar with that hymn “Tell Me the Old Old Story”. It is written by this single woman back in 1866. She is suffering, she is alone, she is bedridden, and she needs hope. She needs a way to look forward. She needs some kind of inspiration in the moment so she takes out a pen and she begins writing a poem that eventually becomes a hymn that goes:
“Tell me the old old story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply,
As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
And helpless and defiled.”
Brothers and sisters, we are entrusted with a message, but it is an old message. It is an old message for broken and weary sinners, but it is an old message that brings new life, not only to unbelievers, but to believers as well. So we are entrusted with a message. That is the first point. And we are made an ambassador.
An ambassador, it is interesting, for Paul that reconciliation in his mind is not simply about the Corinthians, or for the Corinthians. It is not just this churchy thing where reconciliation is about me and God, then it is about me and the brothers and sisters in Christ. Reconciliation talks about being united to God, united to each other, but it also makes an appointment for us. It appoints us into a role where we are called to go into the world. This word ambassador is a perfect, intentional word because an ambassador is appointed by a nation and sent to another land to represent that nation. He or she does not speak for themselves, they speak for the nation that sent them. The ambassador does not demand their own way or act in ways that is inconsistent with the ways of the nation that has sent him or her. They are called to live in a foreign land among a people that are not their own, speaking a message that does not come from them. They are speaking a message that is authorized by another person. God says that is you! You are my ambassador on earth.
By the way, you are in the country you are supposed to go to, so for the majority of us, like 99.5% of us, we are right now, right where we are, in the country that we are supposed to be an ambassador. We don’t need a special ceremony of appointment. We are not waiting for something from God to begin the work of being an ambassador because most of us are already in the nation we are called to.
In the world of Presidential politics it is understood that the appointment of foreign ambassadors is like a 70/30 ratio. 70% are selected based upon their competency and ability to do the job. Then there is this other 25-35% that are basically about political favors or political appointments or a way for the President to express whatever he wants to express, which is how the ambassadors of Norway, Argentina, and Iceland ended up being appointed without ever having visited the nations. That is not our problem because we are already there. We are in the nation where we are supposed to be an ambassador so think about that as you drive to work tomorrow. Think about that as you visit family members this weekend. Think about that as you go to Market Square or Governor’s Square Mall that you are already in the area where you are supposed to be an ambassador and that Christ has reconciled you. Christ has sent you. You are an ambassador. You have a message. You are already in the land in which you are supposed to go.
We are ambassadors of reconciliation, which means we are entrusted with a message. We are made an ambassador. Then finally we are called to appeal for reconciliation. Listen to these words. “God making his appeal through us.” (and then this little addition) “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” You can almost feel in the words what is at stake here. The ambassador is not tucked away in some embassy separated from the people, but, like Jesus, he or she is among the people with this message of reconciliation. There is compassion in their heart imploring them to be reconciled to God. Reading these words reminded me that Friday was the 60th anniversary of the martyrdom of the five missionaries to Ecuador. One of which was Jim Elliot who left behind his wife Elizabeth and her ten-month-old baby. This had taken place after months of preparation work. They had gone in, circled the plane over this tribe that had never been touched and never been reached. They were dropping notes and dropping gifts until it seemed like they had established some sort of credibility or some sort of relationship. They landed the plan in the jungle of Ecuador seeking to reach the Aucas with the Word of reconciliation. Auca means “savages” and they were true to their name. Shortly after landing, five men were savagely attacked with spears. All of them were lost. Elizabeth Elliot grieved the loss of her husband Jim but she refused to leave Ecuador. Shortly thereafter, one day she was in her home and there was a knock at the door. Two women were there. Both of them Aucas. Both of them needing her help. With a heart of reconciliation, being controlled by the love of God, Elizabeth Elliot opens her home and they move in with her. This establishes an even stronger relationship of trust between these two women and the tribe so that only months later, Elizabeth Elliot is able to follow the five men who died back into the tribe. She then went and lived for the next couple of years, which then began a series of events which through a life of reconciliation and the word of reconciliation many many of the Aucas came to Christ. In fact, the son of one of the martyrs, Nate Saint’s son Steve Saint, ended up travelling the world with the head of the Auca tribe. He was the very man who speared his father to death and they would go throughout the world preaching this message of reconciliation. Elizabeth Elliot died this past June. Kim and I once had the privilege of sharing a meal with her and her husband Lars. Now she belongs to the ages.
This is no trifling business this thing of reconciliation. This is not something we can just breeze over. The stakes are real. The stakes are urgent. They are eternal. The power is real and urgent and eternal as well. It is the kind of power that makes new creations out of savages. I understand if you don’t necessarily feel the need to appeal, the passion to appeal, the kind of feelings that have to be generated for us to feel like we want to implore. I can relate to that. I want to close today and invite you to join me in praying that God would fill us with a heart that sees, not just the need to appeal, but has a passion to implore, because we know what it means to be separated. We remember the affect of being separated and we want to be able to say to others the very thing that was said to us which is how this section ends, “be reconciled to God.”