Our ministry

ReconciledAs far as I can tell, our ministry in Christ is two-fold. It’s about identity and reconciliation.  And we cannot do the latter with the right heart without seeing the former.

Both have everything to do with connection–a life embraced, to embrace.

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he contrasts the Mosaic old covenant Law that produced death with Jesus’ new covenant of grace that transforms and gives life through the Spirit.

He speaks of a veil that remains over us when we don’t see Jesus’ finished work on the cross. Today, this veil is a religious construct–seeing an unresurrected Jesus through a lens of man-instituted laws that hold us in bondage with obligation, insecurity and fear. But as soon as we turn to Christ’s finished work, our eyes are opened and we begin to walk out into freedom (see 2 Cor.3:12-17).

So this veil must be removed first. For we cannot properly minister what we don’t see ourselves. Nor can we properly represent His heart as His Kingdom ambassador until we see ourselves in Him.

Otherwise, we will preach a veiled message of death–rules-based righteousness, behavior-based holiness, to guilt people with conditional acceptance and love.

Beloved, we cannot afford to bypass this first ministry, for this is where our real life is hidden (Col.3:3). Here’s what Paul said about it (bold-type added for emphasis)…

“But we all, with unveiled face,
beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from glory to glory,
just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Therefore, since we have this ministry,
as we have received mercy,
we do not lose heart.” (2 Cor.3:18-4:1 NKJV)

 Who do you see when you look straight into a mirror? You see yourself, right?

Likewise, when when we see our own reflection in the Father’s affections, like the Ugly Duckling, we finally find out who we really are. I talked about this in my post about your treasure and His precious pearl.

The more we behold, the more we see ourselves in Him–from glory to glory!

Do you see it now?

This is our primary ministry. Everything else we may do must flow out from this place of rest. This is where transformation takes place.

The second ministry is reconciliation. I’ve talked about this before, that our ministry is declaring Jesus’ finished work on the cross for our freedom. Here’s what Paul says later on in this letter (bold-type added for emphasis).

“All this is from God,
who reconciled us to himself through Christ
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them.
And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
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.” (2 Cor.5:18-20 NIV)

Do you understand what he’s saying here? We had nothing to do with what God has already done. God reconciled (literally, exchanged) us to Himself through Christ–not through our moral behavior or foolish promises to reform ourselves. And certainly not by our good deeds.

So this ministry is to announce that God is not holding people’s sins against them anymore. I say this because, traditionally, the church has been obsessed with the opposite message!

And I respectfully submit that we’ve done so precisely because we don’t know who we are and therefore see Moses with a veil instead of Christ crucified.

Beloved, our ministry is not to rub people’s sin in their faces but to represent the Father’s heart, which was demonstrated in Christ finished work–to declare that every single person who lives, and who ever will live, was forgiven on the cross 2,000 years ago. For the writer of Hebrews tells us it was once and for all, forever (Heb.7:27; 9:12; 10:10).

That means that God’s forgiveness is not an ongoing deal. It’s a done deal!

You might ask, what about passages like Acts 3:19, where Peter told them to repent so that they might be forgiven? Actually, the Young’s Literal Translation gives us a better rendering of what he actually said (bold-type added).

“reform ye, therefore, and turn back,
for your sins being blotted out,
that times of refreshing may come
from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 YLT)

First. notice that the point is to be reconnected–refreshed in the presence of the Lord. Because the “blotting out,” correctly rendered past tense, is already done. So repentance is turning from our love of ritual sanctification and self-justification to believing it’s already done…so that we can be embraced, to embrace.

You were forgiven. Period. Whether you want to believe it or not.

Now, I don’t believe in universal reconciliation. Love requires free will to choose; thus, God will not force anyone to accept His free offer. But I do believe we’ve foolishly preached “another gospel” for too long by mixing our own humanistic impurities into the beauty and wonder of God’s pure grace (see Gal.1:6-9; 3:1-5).

It’s not about legalism or license.

And your choice is not about behaving but believing.

Our problem is, we’re instinctively such grace-haters and so entrenched in guilt-empowered Christianity, we can’t see our way to accept this scandalous message of reconciliation. So we put our own veil over it…because our own heart is veiled.

And this is why it’s not really good news to anyone, but fear is an unrelenting taskmaster, which is why Paul warned us not to get ourselves entangled again in this religious yoke of slavery (Gal.5:1).

Beloved, God is not holding your sins against you anymore. There is no gulf between us and the gate is wide open on His side. Like Adam, we are the ones hiding. So we should be preaching the right message. But we won’t see it rightly until we see ourselves in Him, letting Him transform our judgmental heart and make it like His.

Photo credit: “Return of the Son” by Dick Vos (modified) | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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6 Responses to Our ministry

  1. Planting Potatoes says:

    Reblogged this on plantingpotatoes and commented:
    good message I would like to share with my friends!

  2. Reblogged this on meanlittleboy2 and commented:
    Man can,t live on potatoes alone?

  3. whosoeverbelievesjohn316 says:

    Hi Mel as usual so true. I remember years ago having a conversation with a friend and I was so fixated by wanting so much to hear God saying well done good and faithful servant to me. I was really trying hard :-). And this friend of mine asked me ” what had Jesus done when at His baptism the Lord spoke and said ” This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”.
    I scratched my head trying to figure out which miracle or sermon Jesus had given before that point, ( I wasn’t very well versed in the bible then). So when He told me Jesus hadn’t even begun His ministry then and God The Father was already pleased with Him I was confused and a bit scandalised. At first it was a hard pill to swallow because I was so conditioned to believe that I will and can earn everything I get, especially to gain approval. It took me years to understand what my friend was saying.

    What I am getting at is when we first start realising that God loves us, we want to pay it forward so that we can feel we deserve that love.

    Another thing this friend of mine said to me was, “don’t minister out of your pain, find the rest of God and abide in Him and your ministry won’t wear you out”. Man this guy might as well have been speaking French to me because I just didn’t get it. I wanted to earn my stripes. So God let me try it my way and boy did I crash and the impact I made was very shallow if any at all.

    When we want to reach people for Christ it can’t be a because we want to dutifully perform and prove our worth but rather because we are joining the “family business” as I call it. We don’t know we are sons and daughters until we ourselves find who we are in Christ and we only find who we are in Christ when we learn to be still and know He is God and we won’t be still when we are trying so hard to earn God’s approval. Its like a vicious circle/hamster wheel.

    I recently started a blog after many months of running away from it because I was more afraid of what people will accuse me of rather than doing what I see my Father do. However I find that as I walk with my Father and write my blog even I learn something once the blog is done. I find a treasure in my own blog post because my Father shows me more, when I am about His business and abiding in His rest, I find even more rest. If I had started when I was still on the hamster wheel I would have pat myself on the back after each post and say I have done what I was suppose to do but I would find nothing in it for myself but cold, hard duty.

    This is Ayanda by the way

    • Mel Wild says:

      Great comments here as usual, Ayanda. And way to “step out of the boat onto the water” on starting your blog! Yes, you can trust Papa God. As the song goes, He makes us brave! 🙂 That’s awesome. I will definitely check it out. I’m sure you’ll have great insights there. Blessings.

  4. whosoeverbelievesjohn316 says:

    Reblogged this on whosoeverbelievesjohn3v16 and commented:
    Here is a re-blog In My Father’s House. It touches and expands on the subject of my previous blog. Enjoy and remember God loves you so much and He desires that you know you can freely come to Him.

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