Tag Archives: Reconciliation

The Gospel According to Lord Birt (and the Apostle Paul)

22 Apr

Hands up who remembers a pseudo Welshman who wore outrages shirts with huge cuffs called Laurence? Right, you’re banned from ever commenting!

Changing RoomsFor those who didn’t raise their hands, Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen was a pretty big deal back in the 90’s. He was made famous as an interior designer on the reality home-makeover show, Changing Rooms. The premise of the show was to take a boring old room and spruce it up again, make it sparkly and new. The show was such a success that it spawned a whole host of copycat shows which persevere to this day. Shows which essential break down into three vital elements: The Before, The After and the Star of the Show.

The before is always an attempt to show how run down, tired or old something was. Be it a room, a house, a business or even a person.

The after is always an attempt to show how wonderful, fresh, new, beautiful and exciting it has been made.

And nearly always the Star of the Show is the one with the expertise, the know how, the gifts to make the transition a reality.

But it’s not a new formula. It’s one the Apostle Paul used to good effect when he wrote the Christian’s in Colossae, writing to remind them what they were BC, Before Christ, and AD, after the ‘Star of the Show’ had worked salvation in them.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.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

See it?

He lays bear the state that we are all in before (or outside) of Jesus. People entirely separated from God, cut off from Him, aliens. A people hostile to God in our thoughts and our actions. Living and breathing as if we’re at the centre of the Universe not Him.

He also shines light on our state after Jesus has reconciled us. Not holier than thou but His, belonging to Him, and set apart for Him. Perfect in His eyes just as Jesus was.

How could such a difference come about? What made for such a contrasted before/after? Jesus, His death, which reconciles.

Often we understand our status before God as guilty, but we forget that has repercussions. That that guilt brings separation from God. Likewise we understand that in Christ, because of Jesus, we are innocent. But we also forget that has repercussions too. That our innocence allows for us to be brought near to God, adopted even.

When Jesus died He didn’t simply make the guilty innocent, He reunited an alien people with their God, He reconciled.

The Gospel according to Paul (in the style of Changing Rooms) is we were a separated people who now are set apart because Jesus reconciled. That’s a good gospel, that’s great news.

Rejection that brings Reconciliation

20 Mar

“My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me?”

My God My God why have you forsaken me

These words are particularly significant  because as we see Jesus’ greatest agony, we also glimpse the Crosses greatest promise.

That cry of abandonment came from 3 hours of darkness that had spread across the land. As Jesus bore the sins of the world on His shoulders, as He who knew no sin became sin for us, darkness came and with it, God’s right judgement. God’s utter holiness demands His utter revulsion to sin. So it’s little wonder that Jesus, in our place, should face that revulsion and judgement. It’s little wonder that this was His greatest agony.

Yet for the Christian, it’s one of our greatest comforts. The darkness, the judgement that we deserve came…and went. Darkness came, and then the light. Many still fear that God’s wrath is waiting for them if they slip up but the certain hope we have as a result of the Cross is that Jesus paid it all. “No condemnation now I dread” is how Wesley chose to put it. Jesus experienced the darkness so that we should never. The light came and it is in it that the Christian lives, with confidence.

Moreover, Jesus’ very cry speaks of God the Father withdrawing from God the Son. Many Christians fear the same. Many Christians feel the same. Yet the glorious truth is that Jesus was forsaken in our place. As the Father rejected the Son He was reconciling His people to Himself. So we, who trust in the completed work of Christ, need never feel that God has abandoned us. We know with certainty that He draws near those in need. Whether we feel abandoned or not we can know that we are NOT abandoned, because Jesus was forsaken in our place.

[listen to the whole sermon here]