18 Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
If God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, then no one is too far gone for Him. Given all the people who have been reconciled to God over the centuries, this should not surprise us. You were reconciled to God, weren’t you?
Consider how far you have come, from where you were as a sinner in rebellion against God, to a believer saved by grace. You used to be God’s enemy. Now you are his friend. You used to oppose God and hated His rule over the universe. Now you crave His guidance and direction for your own life. Were you beyond reconciliation?
Now consider those in your life that you believe are beyond hope. Who have you met in your travels whom you are certain not even God could save? You may tell yourself that you were never that bad, or that cruel, or even that evil. Now I believe that in part at least, everyone’s evil comes from somewhere. I don’t believe people are born genuinely cruel. I think it is a learned behavior. That being said, I also believe that once people are exposed to cruelty, it is possible for them to genuinely enjoy it. I’ve no doubt you’ve come across people in your own life that are genuinely evil. But can God still save them? Yes. And God wants to.
For God reconciled us to Himself through the death of His Son Christ Jesus. It was announced at His birth, “Peace on earth, and goodwill to all people upon whom His favor rests.” This invitation is open to all who qualify as people. That even includes evil people. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all people will respond, but the invitation is there.
So why does God give us the ministry of reconciliation? Because that’s what we do when we share the gospel. The gospel itself, the good news of Jesus Christ is the invitation. This Jesus came and died for you, died for your sins so that you could be reconciled to Him. Could God melt the heart of stone with this love? All I know is that he melted mine, and continues to do so.
If you have one of those people in your life, may I suggest that you continue to pray for them? If they will not listen to your voice, or care about your opinions, they certainly have no defense against your prayers. And prayer can be the first act of real love. You will have irritating people in your life. Pray for them. Let God do His perfect work. I’ve found that the harder the heart is, the more profound the experience needed to change it. It may be you and it may be someone else who says the right word in season to change their hardened heart. But I have this confidence that God wishes to save as many as will come, and God’s patience is long. God’s love is strong. And God’s will, though not irresistible, is still extremely persistent.
Praise God that you have this ministry today to share with others this amazing story. Jesus is alive! The baby born in the manger is the risen Lord who died on a cross, all of this for your sake; all of this to save you.
Praised be the name of the Lord.