Our God is enterable: He has come through incarnation to become a tabernacle, an enterable God, and in His resurrection we all have been regenerated with His life and have entered into Him to become the enlarged God, the Body of Christ.
What a mystery: we human beings born of our parents can be born of God to become children of God, believers in Christ, and members of the Body of Christ – the organism of the Triune God, to be part of the enlargement of God in the universe! Wow!
God’s desire is that His people would enter into Him and be one with Him, even be fully mingled and incorporated with Him by being in the Holy of Holies, the deepest part of His dwelling place.
For His people to enter into the Holy of Holies, they had to first enter through the first curtain, which is called “the screen”; the screen was made of blue, purple, and scarlet strands and fine twined linen, and it was hung on five pillars made of acacia wood overlaid with gold (Exo. 26:36-37).
The screen signifies Christ who has a perfect humanity, high in standard and strong in character, who keeps all the negative persons and things outside God’s dwelling place, and who has died for our sins under God’s judgement so that we may be forgiven by God and enter in God’s dwelling to enjoy God in Christ.
Through the preaching of the gospel of those who are one with Christ (the pillars), we receive the good news and believe into the Lord, confess our sins, apply the blood of Christ, and are qualified to enter into the Holy Place of God’s dwelling to begin to enjoy all the riches of God in Christ.
This corresponds to the first aspect of the ministry of reconciliation spoken of by Paul in 2 Cor. 5, in which God reconciled the world to Himself through the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross.
The second curtain was called “the veil” and was hung on four pillars, closing the entrance to the Holy of Holies; this veil indicates that Christ died for us, the persons – the sinners – so that our fallen nature (our flesh) may be torn and crucified and we may enter into the Holy of Holies to enjoy God to the uttermost.
This corresponds to the second aspect of the ministry of reconciliation, in which we are encouraged by God’s ambassador, Paul, that we would be further reconciled to God.
The Ministry of Reconciliation is to bring Sinners back to God and Believers into God
In 2 Cor. 5:18-21 Paul speaks of being an ambassador of Christ entrusted by God with the ministry of reconciliation; here he speaks of two aspects of reconciliation: the world being reconciled to God through Christ, and the believers being reconciled to God to be brought into God.
The Corinthian believers were genuine believers in Christ, and Paul addresses them as such; however, in 2 Cor. 5:20 he beseeches them to be “reconciled to God”. Then in v. 21 he says, Him who did not know sin He made sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
On the one hand Christ died for our sins so that we may be reconciled to God, but on the other hand He was made sin for us so that we may become the righteousness of God in Him. Paul was authorized by God to represent Him to carry out the ministry of reconciliation.
What is the ministry of reconciliation? Is it merely to be reconciled to God from our sins, as most believers today speak as the gospel? If we read 2 Cor. 5 carefully we will notice that there are two aspects of reconciliation: God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (v. 19), and Christ was made sin for us so that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him, thus being further reconciled to God (v. 20-21).
Most believers today know of the first aspect of reconciliation, which is to be reconciled to God from our sins; the second aspect, however, is deeper than the first, and it corresponds to the second veil in the tabernacle, since through this further reconciliation we are brought into God.
Through believing into Christ we have our sins forgiven, we are cleansed by the blood of Christ, we are justified in Christ, and we are reconciled to God; this qualifies us to enter through the screen in the Holy Place in the tabernacle to enjoy God in Christ as the light of life (the lampstand) and the supply of life (the showbread table).
It is wonderful to be here, in God’s presence, enjoying Him as our life supply and light of life, being reconciled to God through the death of His Son.
However, God wants us to be further reconciled to Him – He desires that we pass through the second veil to enter into the Holy of Holies, so that we may be thoroughly reconciled to God and able to enjoy Him in full.
Therefore, the ministry of reconciliation is to bring sinners to God to be reconciled to Him, and to bring believers fully into God to be absolutely one with Him and enjoy Him to the uttermost. The ministry of reconciliation is not merely to bring sinners back to God but, even the more, to bring believers absolutely into God (Eph. 2:18).
We today have been also entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation to preach the gospel and bring sinners to God, and to further help believers to enter into God and be absolutely in God, even as we are in God one with Him.
Thank You Lord for reconciling us to God through Your death on the cross; now we have peace toward God and are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Hallelujah, God in Christ is now our portion as the light of life and the living bread for us to enjoy together with God in the Holy Place. Thank You Lord for bringing us back to God to enjoy Him in His dwelling place. Lord, further reconcile us to Yourself by bringing us fully and absolutely into God to enjoy Him in the most intimate way in the Holy of Holies in His dwelling place!
We need the Ministry of Reconciliation until we are in God and He is in us Absolutely
The biblical understanding of reconciliation includes more than sinners being brought back to God through believing into the Lord’s perfect sacrifice on the cross; this is only the initial aspect of reconciliation.
The believers in Christ, those who have already been reconciled initially to God, now need to be further reconciled to God by being brought into God and be made absolutely one with Him.
I have read a number of books which refer to this subject, but none of them pointed out that the ministry of reconciliation is not merely to bring sinners back to God, but, even the more, to bring believers absolutely into God. Hence, it is not sufficient simply to be brought back to God; we must also be in Him. Until we are wholly one with the Lord, being in Him and allowing Him to be in us absolutely, we shall continue to need the ministry of reconciliation, the ministry with which Paul was commissioned. Paul was commissioned with the work of bringing the believers into God in a way that was absolute and practical. (Life-study of 2 Corinthians, pp. 342-344, by Witness Lee)
We have to admit first that we don’t see that much of what the ministry of reconciliation is, and second that we still need to be brought into the Holy of Holies to be absolutely in God and God in us.
Until we are wholly one with the Lord by being in Him and allowing Him to be in us absolutely, we will need the ministry of reconciliation (1 John 4:13).
It is a great blessing to realize we have this need. We need not only the Triune God, the all-inclusive Christ, the compound life-giving Spirit, the Body of Christ in a general way, but even more, we need to be reconciled through the ministry of reconciliation until we are absolutely in God and God is fully in us.
We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, just like the Apostle Paul, and today we need to be the “pillars” in the tabernacle who are one with the Lord in the Body to preach the gospel to unbelievers for them to be reconciled to God, receive His life, and enter into the dwelling place of God, the church, to enjoy all that God is in Christ as their portion.
Furthermore, we need to be those one with God to be further reconciled to God by entering into the Holy of Holies; we need to live a crucified life and experience the crucified Christ to have our flesh terminated, so that we may help other believers who want to go on with the Lord and advance in their spiritual life to enter in the Holy of Holies.
We need to advance with the Lord in our Christian life to be further reconciled to God, until we are in God and He is in us absolutely.
We need many more ambassadors of God who are one with the Lord to speak to unbelievers of Christ dying for our sins for us to believe into Him, receive the divine life, become children of God, and enjoy the riches of God in Christ.
Furthermore, we need more ambassadors of God who don’t criticize or belittle the saints but rather, as they see them being stuck in their Christian life with no growth or advancing, they would minister Christ to them and open the way for them to enter into the Holy of Holies and be in God absolutely.
Lord Jesus, we need the ministry of reconciliation until we are wholly one with the Lord, being in Him and allowing Him to be in us absolutely! Save us from a low understanding of what it means to be reconciled to God. Cause us to go on with You and advance in our spiritual progress by being further reconciled to God until we are absolutely in God and God is fully in us. Lord, bring us fully into God. Reconcile us further with You. Make us the ambassadors of God who have the ministry of reconciliation to bring sinners to God and bring believers into God!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron K. for this week, and Life-study of 2 Corinthians, msg. 39 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), week 43 / msg. 7, The Veil, the Screen, and the Two Aspects of Reconciliation.
- Hymns on this topic:
# In a low dungeon, hope we had none; / Tried to believe, but faith didn’t come; / God, our sky clearing, Jesus appearing, / We by God were transfused! / We by God were transfused! / Propitiation made by the blood, / Jesus’ redemption bought us for God! / No condemnation, justification! / We have peace toward God! (Hymns #1131)
# Because it pleased the Father, / All fulness dwells in Thee, / That Thou might have the first place / In all we ever see. / All things Thou reconciledst / To God by Thy shed blood, / To thus present us holy / And blameless unto God. (Hymns #189)
# Lord, we’ve heard the call, “Come forward,” / Unto the most Holy Place, / To behold shekinah glory / Shining from Your blessed face. / Coming forward to the Holiest, / Through the incense altar’s prayer; / No more veil of separation, / We may boldly enter there. (Hymns #1217)
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