by Jack M. Lane

We hear about reconciliation between the races, between husbands and wives, between God and science, between evolution and creation, detween Democrats and Republicans.  In this article we are going to look at ways in which we, as Christians, are reconciled to God and to each other.  And we can apply many of these principles to our lives, our relationships with others, and our situations at work and at school.

To reconcile is to re-establish a close relationship, as is the case when a husband and wife, or two friends, or two nations, come back together after settling their differences. It also means for two things to become compatible or in agreement, as when an accountant reconciles the books of a business and makes all the mathematics agree.

When two people reconcile, they re-establish their friendship. They make up; they reunite. Issues are resolved, upsets are settled, things are smoothed over, and problems are straightened out. So reconciliation has to do with the ending of conflict or renewing of a friendly relationship between disputing people or groups (such as the reconciling of the races, or political parties). It is also involved in the making of two or more apparently conflicting things consistent or compatible (like trying to reconcile evolution with a belief in a Creator God).

Now, if one of the offended parties is God, and the other one is us, how do we go about reconciling the relationship between us and God? That is definitely an important area to consider when thinking about reconciliation.

As we go through this topic, and the related scriptures, perhaps you will be able to spot something, in some area of your life, where you might need to be reconciled to a spouse, a child, a neighbor, a co-worker, a member of your congregation, a member of another congregation, or any number of areas in your life where you might need reconciliation with someone.

The problem is: We live in a fallen world. We all sin. The human race, the children of the first Adam, is under the penalty of sin, and that penalty is death. The solution is: God’s Son, the one who lived a sinless life, the one who is called the last Adam, became sin for us, and died in our place, taking on himself all the sin of all the people of all the world, and paying the price for all of us.

Here’s how we can take advantage of this wonderful help: Believe, repent, be baptized for the forgiveness of sin, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and change how you live your life through the power you receive from God’s Spirit. It’s really quite simple. It isn’t easy, but it is simple.

In the Old Testament, with the Levitical priesthood, the animal sacrifices gave people a covering for their sins. The sins weren’t forgiven, just covered. Not until the crucifixion of our Lord were sins actually forgiven, taken away, obliterated, cancelled, and completely forgiven. In the New Testament, there are several words used to describe this wonderful forgiveness of our sins. One of the words is “reconciliation.” It’s a big part of the gospel message.

Who Needs Reconciling?

The first thing you need to know about reconciliation is that God does not need to be reconciled to us. We need to be reconciled to God.

Back in the days when cars had bench seats rather than bucket seats, I read about an older couple driving along the highway. The wife, sitting by the right door, remarked how nice it was when they were younger and sat close together as they drove. The husband, from behind the steering wheel, said, “Well, dear – I haven’t moved.”

We have to realize that God hasn’t moved. He’s still in the driver’s seat. Mankind moved. We started off together in the Garden of Eden. But we blew it. If Adam and Eve hadn’t been the first ones to sin, someone else would have been right there to do it. We all sin (Romans 3:23). We all want to hide from God so He doesn’t see our nakedness. So that’s the first thing to know. We need to be reconciled to God.

But right behind that is our need to be reconciled to each other, to other people. Sometimes it isn’t possible. But to whatever extent it is possible, we must be on good terms with the people around us before we can stand before God with a clean heart.

In Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV), Jesus was telling his audience of Jews that reconciliation with a brother was even more important than the Levitical sacrifices. He said:

23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

In Luke 12:57-59, he was explaining that it is a good idea to try to be reconciled to an enemy before he gets you into court:

57 "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?
58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.
59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."

Paul spent some time addressing the divisive issues of “the Jewish/Gentile thing” in the early church.

Ephesians 2:11-22:
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)—
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one [He has made Jew and Gentile to be one in His family] and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. …

What law are we talking about here? I’ll get to that in a minute. …

His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them [both Jew and Gentile] to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

If we wanted to see when this reconciling of the Jews and the Gentiles got started, we can look at Acts chapter 10.

Acts 10:1-29 (New Century Version):
1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, an officer in the Italian group of the Roman army.
2 Cornelius was a religious man. He and all the other people who lived in his house worshiped the true God. He gave much of his money to the poor and prayed to God often.
3 One afternoon about three o'clock, Cornelius clearly saw a vision. An angel of God came to him and said, "Cornelius!"
4 Cornelius stared at the angel. He became afraid and said, "What do you want, Lord?" The angel said, "God has heard your prayers. He has seen that you give to the poor, and he remembers you.
5 Send some men now to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is also called Peter.
6 He is staying with a man, also named Simon, who is a tanner and has a house beside the sea."
7 When the angel who spoke to Cornelius left, Cornelius called two of his servants and a soldier, a religious man who worked for him.
8 Cornelius explained everything to them and sent them to Joppa.

9 About noon the next day as they came near Joppa, Peter was going up to the roof to pray.
10 He was hungry and wanted to eat, but while the food was being prepared, he had a vision.
11 He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a big sheet being lowered to earth by its four corners.
12 In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds.
13 Then a voice said to Peter, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat."
14 But Peter said, "No, Lord! I have never eaten food that is unholy or unclean."
15 But the voice said to him again, "God has made these things clean so don't call them 'unholy'!"
16 This happened three times, and at once the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While Peter was wondering what this vision meant, the men Cornelius sent had found Simon's house and were standing at the gate.
18 They asked, "Is Simon Peter staying here?"
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Listen, three men are looking for you.
20 Get up and go downstairs. Go with them without doubting, because I have sent them to you."
21 So Peter went down to the men and said, "I am the one you are looking for. Why did you come here?"
22 They said, "A holy angel spoke to Cornelius, an army officer and a good man; he worships God. All the people respect him. The angel told Cornelius to ask you to come to his house so that he can hear what you have to say."
23 So Peter asked the men to come in and spend the night. The next day Peter got ready and went with them, and some of the followers from Joppa joined him.

24 On the following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him.
26 But Peter helped him up, saying, "Stand up. I too am only a human."
27 As he talked with Cornelius, Peter went inside where he saw many people gathered.
28 He said, "You people understand that it is against our law for Jewish people to associate with or visit anyone who is not Jewish. But God has shown me that I should not call any person 'unholy' or 'unclean.'
29 That is why I did not argue when I was asked to come here. Now, please tell me why you sent for me."

Then Peter went on to preach the gospel, and the Holy Spirit fell on these Gentiles, showing everyone there that God Himself broke down the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles so that God could reconcile the world to Himself. As one source says, “The lesson in all these passages is that in virtue of God's own reconciling work in Christ, we sinners who accept God's reconciliation should realize that this implies reconciliation with one another in all the estrangements of human life. We are thus to devote ourselves actively to the task of mutual reconciliation” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).

Living the Life of the Reconciled

Paul gave further instructions on how to live this new life of being reconciled. For example, we could look at Romans chapter 5.

Romans 5:1-11 (NIV):
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Do you realize that if Christ had died for our sins, and then just remained dead, we would have no hope for the future? Oh sure, our sins would be forgiven. But we would have no life. It’s only through Christ’s resurrection that we have a hope of being resurrected. That’s why Paul said, in verse 10, that we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, but it’s through His life that we are finally saved.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15 that, if Christ had not been raised from the dead, our faith would be in vain, and we would be most miserable, because there is no resurrection of the dead unless Christ rose from the dead.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21:
14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Colossians 1:18-23:
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Romans 11:13-27:
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry
14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people [the unbelieving Jews] to envy and save some of them.
15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in."
20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.
21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

So even the unbelieving Jews will be unbelievers only for awhile, as part of God’s plan. So who are we to criticize and condemn anyone, Jew or Gentile, who does not believe? We can take this approach to life and apply it in other areas, to other people. For example, since we’re in Romans, let’s look ahead to chapter 14.

Romans 14:1-21:
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
2 One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.
8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.
11 It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"
12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.
15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, [or maybe by how we talk about what we eat, or how we expect the people around us to eat the way we eat] you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.

We can actually chase people away and earn a bad name if we aren’t careful how we treat others who might eat differently, dress differently, look at life differently. Why would we want to discourage someone from following The Way because they might have a different understanding about something than we do?

16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.
21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

Many years ago, at a church men’s meeting, we had a break to have some coffee and cookies. One of the men had brought some Oreo cookies, with that delightful cream filling in the middle. In those days we were awfully self-righteous about what foods we would eat, so, just to have some fun, I said, “Say, don’t those cookies have lard in them?” The man was just about to take a bite of one of the cookies, but instead, he stopped, put it down, and said, “If it offends you that I eat this cookie, then I will never eat one of these cookies again.” And he walked away.

My attempt at humor was turned on me, and I felt like an idiot! (Rightly so, I might add.) “No, wait,” I said. “That’s not what I meant. I was just …” But I couldn’t think of what I was just! He got me! He used this very scripture to help me see how foolish the whole lard thing was, and how small these food ideologies were, compared to what was really important. I owe that man a lot for his quick interruption of my stupid thought process.

This passage of scripture, and my experience with the cookies, shows the enormous responsibility we have as ambassadors for Christ, as those who have the ministry of reconciliation. You see, God has been perfect and sinless all along. At one time, we had not yet come to repentance. Then one day we did. Since that day, we have learned to live in a godly fashion, much as a child learns how to crawl, then walk, then run, then ride a bicycle, and so forth.

At any time along that road, someone could have discouraged us, criticized us, condemned us for something we hadn’t overcome just yet, or said some careless remark that offended us. What if that had happened? Would you have just given up, taken off, gone away? Would you have given up your hope of salvation because of a thoughtless word someone may have said? It has happened. God forbid that we have ever done such a thing to a newly minted Christian, just a baby in the faith, learning how to walk.

Matthew 18:1-7:
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2 He called a little child and had him stand among them.
3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.
6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
7 "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

If you’re going to be an ambassador, you want to measure your words carefully. An ambassador speaks for the country he represents. We speak for the Kingdom of God. We have to watch what we say, how we phrase things, what our attitude is when we speak to others. There's an old saying:  “Be careful of the words you say; make them short and sweet. You never know from day to day which ones you’ll have to eat.” This was
written long ago by someone named Anonymous (who I think has written some of our greatest literature).

But here is an interesting change that takes place in people when they become reconciled to God: the change in their personality, so that they no longer want to be alienated from God. You know how a lot of people today resist God, and anything that has to do with God, for one reason or another. When we are reconciled to God, we lose that anger, that hostility, that resistance to God. As it says in 2 Corinthians 5:

14 For Christ's love compels us...
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 

In this way, we are restored to relationship with God. We have a Father/child relationship that is real, not just a doctrine of some church. Since we are back in relationship with our Father, we can correct our relationships with those around us, seeking reconciliation with people we have offended, and with people who have offended us.

Now, we want to stay safe. We don’t want to put ourselves in any harm trying to patch up old quarrels. But by being a different person, by being available to talk over the situation, by being more Christ-like and godly in our behavior, we can open channels of communication that may have been closed for years.

Of course, some problems may never be fixed. Some people may not accept our overtures to restore relationship. That’s to be expected. But if we have done our part, we can at least go away with a clean conscience that we tried. We probably won’t be able to patch up every relationship we’ve ever lost. It’s part of the human experience. But if our relationship with God is correct, and He has made us new, that’s the best part. Any effort we put out to patch things up with another person must come from the love of God being shed abroad in our hearts. We won’t always be successful. Nor can we expect to change sinners into believers. But we will be in relationship with the One who can raise us from the dead at Christ’s coming. That’s the important thing.

The Prodigal Son

Let’s look at a passage of scripture that gives us a glimpse into what God might feel like as he patiently waits for us to come to our senses and return to Him: Luke 15:1-24 (New Century Version):

1 The tax collectors and sinners all came to listen to Jesus.
2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to complain: "Look, this man welcomes sinners and even eats with them."
3 Then Jesus told them this story:
4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep but loses one of them. Then he will leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the open field and go out and look for the lost sheep until he finds it.
5 And when he finds it, he happily puts it on his shoulders
6 and goes home. He calls to his friends and neighbors and says, 'Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep.'
7 In the same way, I tell you there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes his heart and life, than over ninety-nine good people who don't need to change.
8 "Suppose a woman has ten silver coins, but loses one. She will light a lamp, sweep the house, and look carefully for the coin until she finds it.
9 And when she finds it, she will call her friends and neighbors and say, 'Be happy with me because I have found the coin that I lost.'
10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner changes his heart and life."

Then comes the story of the Prodigal Son.

11 Then Jesus said, "A man had two sons.
12 The younger son said to his father, 'Give me my share of the property.' So the father divided the property between his two sons.
13 Then the younger son gathered up all that was his and traveled far away to another country. There he wasted his money in foolish living.
14 After he had spent everything, a time came when there was no food anywhere in the country, and the son was poor and hungry.
15 So he got a job with one of the citizens there who sent the son into the fields to feed pigs.
16 The son was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 When he realized what he was doing, he thought, 'All of my father's servants have plenty of food. But I am here, almost dying with hunger.
18 I will leave and return to my father and say to him, "Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son, but let me be like one of your servants."'
20 So the son left and went to his father. "While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him.
21 The son said, 'Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
22 But the father said to his servants, 'Hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 And get our fat calf and kill it so we can have a feast and celebrate.
24 My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!' So they began to celebrate.

We know this as the story of the prodigal son. So, what does “prodigal” mean? Does it mean “the guy who moved away”? No, “prodigal” means wasteful, reckless, dissolute, profligate, extravagant, uncontrolled. The dictionary says a prodigal is someone who is given to wasteful luxury or extravagance. But this prodigal young man runs out of money, and with nothing better to do, he realizes that he’s nothing without his money. Which means, since he has no money, he’s nothing.

What about the father in the story? He’s spending his days sitting, waiting, hoping, longing for his son to come back. It’s an added benefit that the son comes back humbled. I think it’s a good description of our heavenly Father, and how He waits for His children everywhere to come back, to come out of Babylon, and be ready to be a simple servant in the Father’s house.

What about the other brother? Here’s a guy who had it all together. He never ran off and spent his inheritance. He always stayed at home and did what was expected. So, was he being overlooked? Not a chance. Nobody threw a party for him. That’s because he stayed and behaved. He was one of the 99 sheep; his brother was the lost one who was found.

Can we try to be so unselfish about God’s extravagant grace that we can rejoice when a lost sheep is found, when a lost coin is found, when a lost brother is found? We’re talking about a found sheep being reconciled to the other 99. We’re talking about finding that dime so we have a whole dollar, and not just 90 cents. We’re talking about a brother who was lost, but who came back, and was reconciled to his family. We’re talking about a sinner who is grafted back into his own tree, where he belongs. We’re talking about life from the dead.

That’s what reconciliation is about. It’s about reunion, bringing together, resolving differences. It’s about you and me being together forever in God’s happy family. And if we can play even a small part in extending God’s grace to other people by our actions, our behavior, our attitude, our forgiveness of other people’s shortcomings, because we have been given a part to play in the ministry of reconciliation, then we might be able to look around as we rise in the air to meet Christ, and see so many of our friends and family members rising to meet him in the air, too. And wouldn’t that make the whole effort worthwhile?

John 3:16-17 (NKJV):
16 For God so loved the world …

Not “the Jews,” not “Israel,” not “the church”!

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Reconciliation is a large part of the gospel message. In Adam, we have fallen; in the last Adam, we are restored. In Adam, we die; in the last Adam, we live. In Adam, we lose; in the last Adam, we win. The whole human race, restored to a right relationship with God.

Picture the family reunions in the forever future. God at the head of the table, and all His kids sitting down both sides of the table, and the table stretches on for miles and miles. And yet, since we’re spirit, we’re all sitting next to our Father, enjoying a special fellowship with Him and with each other, the likes of which we can scarcely imagine.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NIV): “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”

As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:20: “We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.”