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The Importance of the Ministry of Reconciliation For REPENTANT SINNERS in the Church

There's a statement that the church is not a museum of saints but it's a hospital for sinners.  The statement can be very misleading because what kind of sinners is the church a hospital for?  Isn't the church also a museum for the righteous saints that have gone before the forgiven sinners who are still alive in this world?  The statement might be best said as, "The church is both a museum for saints who's gone before as while it's also a hospital for repentant sinners."

Why should the word repentant be emphasized?  Remember in Matthew 18:15-18 talks about the ministry of reconciliation.  While true Christians will not completely fall away but there are seasons that they fall away.  Just because Christians can't live like the rest of the world doesn't mean that they can't backslide for a season.  Righteous saints are repentant sinners saved by the grace of God.  1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 2:8-10 and Titus 2:11-14 shows how God's grace conforms Christians unto good works.  They are given a righteous conduct by the grace of God.  Yet they're still repentant sinners because they still sin even if they no longer live like the rest of the world.  Romans 7:14-25 has Paul still thinking of how he wishes for the day of glorification to come.

The church is a hospital for sinners but it doesn't cater to the unrepentant so they'll have the pleasure of committing sin all over again.  Jesus didn't sin with the sinners He dined with.  Instead, He brought the sinners He dined with to repentance.  These tax collectors he ate with already saw their guilt-laden selves and were burdened with sin.  Zacchaeus the tax collector saw himself in need for Jesus and his life changed as a result.  It's a hospital for repentant sinners seeking for new life from sin and not the freedom to sin.  Any church that tells people they're eternally secure to false converts is cut short of its mission of reconciliation.  Since the first mission of the church is to tell sinners how they can be reconciled with God and be forgiven of their sins so they can be saved from their sins not in their sins.  Any church that teaches you have a license to sin is not part of the Body of Christ.

One proof of true repentance is a continued repentance.  Genuine repentance doesn't stop with salvation but it goes on and on in perfecting repentance before it becomes perfected repentance.  True conversion may not mean that a person is sinless but they sin less.  A true conversion drives a person to conviction to repent of their sins continuously.  John 1:8-9 says that we can't say we're sinless and that if we confess, God will cleanse us from unrighteousness.  When there's continued repentance then there's less and less sin.  This isn't about lighting candles and offering prayers to saints, walking while kneeling and the like because that's just penance.  Repentance is a change of mind that begets a change in purpose.

The reconciliation is not limited to the lost but to the saved.  Sometimes, there's conflict in the church between saved people.  Even if these incidents may not be as huge and scandalous as the rest of the world, when Christians sin their being saved makes them repent.  If you're truly once saved, always saved then there ought to be a different attitude towards sin.  It's because once saved always saved also means once saved will persevere.  Now it doesn't mean all the time that the Christian is always persevering but the fruit of perseverance is produced.  It's because when there's a Christian who falls into sin, they can be stubborn for a season but repentance comes eventually.  David was in denial for a year or so but when Nathan confronted him he fell into repentance.  David was a Christian man, he was still saved during the time he fell into the affair and the proof was that his repentance came out when Nathan confronted him.  Would David have lost his salvation he would have probably been stubborn and degenerate about Nathan's rebuke.  The evidence of his salvation that wasn't lost was that Nathan's call for repentance of his sin with Bathsheba bore the fruit of continued repentance.

Christians are called to chastise and rebuke not out of spite but out of love.  You can always correct without loving but you can't love without correcting.  Hebrews 12:5-7 and Revelation 3:19 says that the Lord Jesus rebukes those He loves.  The wicked world is left to its own destruction.  God doesn't leave those who are His alone.  He doesn't save the person and leaves them on their own.  Instead, it's intimate fellowship that grows in godliness.  The call for reconciliation in the church is because there's genuine repentance.  There are times when things don't function properly so that's why reconciliation is not only about lost sinners but also saved people to make them function better.

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