“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 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. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor 5:17-21
If you were to ask most Christians what their primary marching orders were a great number would rightly answer with (Matthew 28:19-20) a.k.a “The Great Commission.” However, I have always thought of (2 Cor 5:17-21) as our best example of how to go about doing that. Think of it this way, the Great Commission in a sense can be compared to a vision statement, which sets clear goals for the future whereas a mission statement focuses on the ways and means of reaching that vision. Therefore, our end goal is to make disciples of every tongue, every tribe and every nation but we are to do this by first imploring them to be reconciled to the Father through the person and work of Jesus Christ, i.e the Gospel.
So then what does reconciliation mean? The common definition of reconciliation as it relates to relationships is 1) The restoration of friendly relations. 2) The action of making one view or belief compatible with another.
We see from this definition that the words restoration and compatible are part of reconciliation. However, the root of reconciliation is the word conciliation, which is the action of stopping someone from being angry. When we have reconciliation, it means that we restore our relationship to one that enables us to be compatible and friendly with one another again.
In the Old Testament the word reconciliation is the Hebrew word kapar, pronounced kaw-far. This is one of the most theologically significant words in the Bible. In addition to reconciliation, kapar is also translated into English words such as forgive, purge away and merciful as well as a few others. By far, the most commonly translated word for kapar is the English word atonement.
When the word atonement is broken down to its historical parts (a-tone-ment) it means a condition without tension. When Christ died on the cross for us, He removed the tension between us and God (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21.) His shed blood, reconciled the conflict between us and the Father. With this in mind, reconciliation has its Biblical foundation in the atonement of Christ.
Friends if there was ever a verse that encapsulated the heart of this ministry it is this one. We implore, beseech, plead and sometimes beg these boys to be reconciled to both God and their families. Through prayer, mentoring, counseling and teaching we show these boys what it means to be forgiven, what it means to be accepted and what it means to be loved.
Every single one of our boys comes to us with a history of broken relationships and every single parent leaves them here with the hope they will find forgiveness, peace and restoration in our Lord Jesus Christ. However, make no mistake the road to this program was paved by pain, disappointment and even anger.
I have never been more reminded of this fact than this past week at our Father and son campout. A weekend designed to reconcile relationships through Christ but within the context of a fun, nonthreatening environment. As I watched the weekend unfold the tension which was so obviously present between some families slowly but surely disappeared as Father’s and son’s put aside the things which brought them there and simply enjoyed their time together in an amazing setting deep in the Washington wilderness. There was worship, the preaching of the Word, breakout sessions designed to get families talking, snowboarding, campfires, snowmobiles, atv’s, skeet shooting, hiking and a host of other activities all intended to relieve the hostilities between Father’s and son’s. For the boys either who have no father in their lives or whose dads were unable to attend we had more mentors than mentees ready to jump in and fill the void.
Overall, it was the perfect ending to a month, which witnessed two boys giving their lives to Christ and one rededication! This is why we are here friends this is why we exist. I cannot begin to thank all of you enough for your prayers and financial support. It is through your generosity and your continued faithfulness that my family enjoys the awesome privilege and responsibility of being His ambassadors on your behalf.
Please keep us in your prayers as we have been battling sickness as well as exhaustion with Trish’s pregnancy.
P.S the weather here is crazy but we have tapped our inner Eskimo and have survived the worst of it.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.
In Christ, the Wagner’s