September 17, 2009
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. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Just a few days ago, True Compass, a book written by the late Senator Ted Kennedy, was published.
No matter how you may feel about the track record or politics of the senator, you may be interested to know what he said about his actions concerning the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopechne.
Describing his conduct in the 1969 accident as being "inexcusable," the senator confessed to being afraid, overwhelmed, and having made some "terrible decisions."
The part of the book that captured my attention was this poignant line: "Atonement is a process that never ends."
It is my prayer that you may know that line is wrong.
As Christians, we have the joy of knowing -- beyond any doubt -- that in Jesus there is absolute, complete, and total forgiveness of sin.
When the Savior knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane the weight of the world's transgressions were placed upon Him. When He breathed His last upon Calvary's cross, the penalty price for every one of those sins was paid.
By God's grace, believers are given repentant hearts and a powerful faith in the power of Jesus' holy, precious blood, His innocent suffering and death. Because of Jesus' sacrifice, believers are reconciled with their Lord. They know Jesus has done what they could not do: He has reunited them with the Father.
That was what St. Paul was saying when he, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."
St. Paul had been involved with the murder -- the martyrdom of Stephen -- a pillar of the Jerusalem church. He knew if Jesus could reconcile a murderer and give him peace, He could and would do the same thing for others.
It's a sad thing Senator Kennedy didn't know that; it is a happy thing you do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for the sins You have forgiven, for the peace You bestow, for the atonement You have begun, completed, and given to me -- I am most grateful. May I, Your new creation, share that joy with others. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries