The church has the true message for reconciliation in this world: the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church has the true model for reconciliation in this world: the one new humanity found in Jesus Christ.
The name Benedict Arnold is forever associated with treason. What most people don’t know is that Benedict Arnold was an accomplished general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Frustrated by the way he saw the war progressing, and offended by what he perceived as a lack of recognition for his military sacrifices, Arnold switched allegiance from the Colonies of America to Britain, and offered to surrender West Point to the British for 20,000 pounds. His plans were intercepted, he was labeled a traitor, and his name became a byword for betrayal and treason.
In American history, it could be argued, no one was more treasonous than Benedict Arnold. In annals of redemptive history, however, Arnold’s treason pales in comparison to the cosmic treason of Adam and Eve.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, they not only rebelled against God; they also betrayed his goodness and denounced his rule. It was the ultimate act of treason. Adam and Eve turned God into the enemy as they surrendered themselves and the world to sin. By doing so, they created an enmity between them and God, and passed that enmity to all who would come after them. The apostle Paul tells us that in Adam we all sinned (Romans 5:12), and therefore we were all made enemies of God (Romans 5:10).
Consequently, in order for anyone to be in right relationship with God, the enmity must be removed. The relationship must be reconciled. What Adam and Eve lost in the garden must be mended and restored. When the Bible speaks of reconciliation, this is the primary meaning (2 Corinthians 5:17). Salvation is God ending the enmity between himself and us through the life and death of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10). In a word, reconciliation is the gospel.
Gospel of Reconciliation
There may not be a more illustrative set of words used to communicate the sum and substance of the gospel than reconciliation and reconcile. Reconciliation is that aspect of the gospel where the separation and enmity between God and humanity caused by sin are ended, and peace and renewed relationship are forever established, through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The message and ministry of the gospel is the message and ministry of reconciliation.
The gospel is the message of reconciliation. “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). The gospel message is about God pursuing sinners to save them from sin and unto everlasting joy through Jesus Christ. It is about God tearing down the wall of hostility that existed between him and the sons and daughters of Adam, and restoring the peace that Adam lost. This peace comes through the reconciling blood of the cross of Christ (Colossians 1:20).