We hear these words this time of year (and we’ll probably sing this carol at our 6 pm Christmas Eve service), but what does it mean, “God and sinners reconciled?”
Reconcile is what we do with our bank book. I remember having a little problem when I first opened a checking account. I wrote checks and carefully recorded them in my ledger. But when I got my statement in the mail, the bank always showed me having more money than I thought (I didn’t realize it was because some checks hadn’t cleared yet). So, I “reconciled” my ledger, crossing out the amount I had recorded and writing in the figure from the statement. Needless to say, my wife took over our finances, or I’d be writing this from debtor’s prison.
Maybe a better example is when I’ve seen two friends reconciled after a heated disagreement. In such cases, usually one person offends the other and then later feels bad and apologizes to restore or “reconcile” the relationship. What’s so interesting about God and sinners being reconciled is that while we, the sinners, have caused the offence, it is God who moves to reconcile us.
God hates that we have broken our relationship with Him because of sin. But He so loves the world that He gave His only Son to come and restore us back to Him (John 3:16). Jesus was God who was born in Bethlehem to live, die, and be raised again to save the sons and daughters of earth. Through Him alone can we be reconciled—made right with God forever by grace.
No wonder the angels came with brilliant light, dazzling the shepherds with the announcement of the Christ-Child’s birth. With the angels let us sing, “glory to the newborn King.”