For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…[and] if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (ROMANS 5:6, 10-11).
We, who have believed on the Name of Jesus Christ, are reconciled to Jehovah God…reconciled…We have resolved the differences between us and Him by acknowledging His authority over us, and by choosing to follow Him rather than our own sinful natures. We are brought into harmony with Him because we acknowledge our sin and repent. Restored, we are made to be like Him, so that our lives are consistent with His. (see the definition of reconcile at Merriam-Webster.com).
All of this is true for us as individuals, but reconciliation also (1) is the larger story of Creation, Fall, and Redemption of mankind and (2) provides a template to helps us maintain healthy relationship with the LORD and with others. Today we will briefly discuss the first part of this, as we can see it in the Bible, and we will leave the second part for next time.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam,who was a type of the one who was to come (ROMANS 5:12-14).
In the Beginning, Man was in harmony with the LORD, today we might say “they were on the same page”; he was reconciled to God. Adam’s sin brought about the Curse (Genesis 3:8-24) and the Curse changed the way men and women relate to their environment, to each other, and to the LORD. Sin brought separation and discord, rather than the unity and harmony that reigned in the Garden. Unity and harmony with the LORD were restored by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who atoned for, or made right, what was wrong. His obedience atoned for Adam’s (and our own) disobedience. Jesus paid the price for our sin, He reconciled our account with Jehovah God, bringing us out of debt to sin.
The reconciliation of man to God through Jesus was foreshadowed in the relationship between Israel and Yahweh. The LORD brought the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage to be His people (Exodus 20:2). They were told, “You shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine” (Leviticus 20:26). They were given the Law and the system of sacrifices in order to maintain relationship with Yahweh, and to keep them mindful of Him, and of their absolute need for Him (and to show their ultimate need for a Savior).
Throughout their history, Israel would come near to Yahweh, and then, when life was good, they would fall away and seek after other gods. Israel would then experience separation from, and judgement by God. Overwhelmed by the consequences of their sin, they would cry out to God, and come near to Him again, and experience restoration of relationship, or reconciliation. This cycle is distinctly detailed in Judges and is often referred to as the Sin Cycle, but we see it clearly in Kings and Chronicles, and through the warnings of the Prophets, all the way up to the time of Jesus.
Can you relate your own spiritual walk to the history of Israel? Have you ever found yourself chasing after things that draw you away from the LORD? Have you felt the need to cry out to Yahweh because of your sin? Have you experienced the peace that comes from reconciliation with Jehovah God, through Jesus? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have lived the same “Sin Cycle” that we see illustrated in the Scriptures.
The “Sin Cycle” led to a lot of guilt and disappointment in myself, for many years, when I saw myself walking through it again and again. Like the Israelites, I seemed to fall into the same sin, repeatedly. As a Christian, I was bitterly discouraged by my lack of progress toward godliness. I want to give you some hope if you ever feel that way too.
Remember what I said about Israel: They were given the Law and the system of sacrifices in order to maintain relationship with Yahweh, and to keep them mindful of Him, and of their absolute need for Him (and to show their ultimate need for a Savior). Next time we will discuss how we can turn the Sin Cycle into the Reconciliation Cycle in our own lives and, very importantly, teach it to our children. When we focus on maintaining relationship, with God and with others, rather than dwelling on sin, we can experience freedom from the Curse and peace.