A More Perfect Union, Part 1

There are many notable phrases within American historical literature. One that recently caught my attention is: “in order to form a more perfect union,” from the Preamble to the Constitution. The Founding Fathers of America knew unity was something we would have to work at. Certainly, we have seen that today, as we have been asking, “Are black people and people of color truly as free as every other American?” Built into these documents was the space for amendments. Things would need to change, in order to preserve and perfect the union of the United States of America. As we have seen, things have needed to shift, and, rightfully so, over the course of our nation’s existence, and especially now.

“A more perfect union” in the life of the Christian means sanctification and reconciliation. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and His free gift of salvation, we are instantly reconciled to God. However, we regularly need to be brought closer, as our sin disrupts that unity.

God has given us the Holy Spirit, to empower us to live in this new life. The Holy Spirit works in us to produce God’s character: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5). This, sanctification, is the life-long journey of the Christian, starting at salvation. Sanctification is becoming more united with Christ: more of Jesus, less of me. The Holy Spirit builds the image of Jesus in our hearts, so, when people see us, they only see Jesus. Sometimes, the image-idols (see the 10 Commandments) God tries to tear down inside us are images of self. Thankfully, we don’t have to be perfect for people to see Jesus. People actually see Jesus clearly through our imperfections because His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). While we don’t have to be perfect, we do have to be reconciled to Christ and to one another, on the axis of confession and forgiveness.

We are called to be united with Christ - that unity that is the fountain that all other unities flow from.

It is impossible for any other unity to be true and complete without Jesus:

Marriage
Family
Friendship
 
“... a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look… Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. ‘How?’ you ask. In Christ....” 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (MSG)

Is it strange that Christ calls us to be a people of reconciliation? Why would He give us the task - if it were not possible? Because, it has nothing to do with our human ability. It is only by His Spirit. And, that is exactly how we are reconciled to God - as the free gift of God (Ephesians 2). We are reconciled to one another, because that gift just spills over and out of us, into others. When we embrace Christ, we embrace others. Reconciliation is the beautiful silver lining in a world polluted and congested with sin.
 
I think sometimes we forget the miracle of what it means to be reconciled to God. Distractions try to divert our attention, throwing us on the wrong things. God’s loving act of reconciling us back to Himself, through Jesus, is the story that the whole Bible is telling. It is the Gospel.

Maybe sanctification is, in large part, remembering what it means to be reconciled? What is God’s charge to the church in Laodicea in Revelation 2? They have grown cold and abandoned God’s love. We cannot afford to forget God’s love toward us. And these are the things we forget: that God, our Creator, made man and woman in His own image. They rebelled against God by choosing a way they thought was best, and God loved them anyway. Can you imagine - in the Garden of Eden - when Eve took the bite of that apple - God saw you, and me? God made a plan for He, Himself, as God of the universe, to take on flesh, as Jesus the Christ, and lovingly live like us - experience the life that we live in all of its pain, sin-consequence, and complexity, but without-sinning - and be the payment for our rebellion. And when our “best” way did not lead us where we thought it would - He suffered and died, experiencing pain and death on our behalf, so that we would not have to. He cheated death for us so that the only death we experience is the death built into the fabric of our human skin - and gave us eternal life, with Him - and the ability to live a life of freedom and joy, with Him, here on earth, through the Holy Spirit, telling everyone we know of the story of what God has done and what we have each received: His love in action.

Take a moment to pause, and receive that today.

If we are having trouble reconciling to others, let us come before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to show us if we have forgotten some part of His work of reconciliation in us or grown numb to the touch of His love in certain places within our hearts.

by Kaitlyn Faraghan
Kaitlyn leads worship at our Cherry Hill location and oversees Infuse, Kingsway’s Worship Arts training program. She is passionate about writing and recording music, and has been a part of numerous recording projects; she has released one album and is now working on her second album! In her spare time, you will find her scouting out the best coffee and donuts in South Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia area.