We have been getting closer and closer to concluding our study through the book of Genesis. In the last four studies we have been directed by God in His Word to consider the theme of relational reconciliation according to His plan in relationship to His Messiah. As we have done so we have uncovered 8 principles on relational reconciliation. But in order for those principles to have the impact God wants them to have in the life of His people we need to grasp the context that are given within Genesis.
Context for these 8 principles on relational reconciliation:
- Restoration of Blessing: It is important to see these 8 principles within the overall framework of Genesis. You can sum up Genesis like this: In the beginning God created and blessed all things, then cursed creation because of mankind’s rebellion and chose Abraham through whom future restoration of blessing would come. In other words, key to the context of these principles of relational reconciliation is the connection between a future descendant of Abraham through whom God would restore blessing and relational reconciliation; that is, the connection between restoration of blessing and reconciliation.
- Preservation of the covenant family and therefore of the future Messiah: Within Genesis 37-50 the main point is not the life of Joseph. The main point is how God would transition His covenant people to Egypt as previously prophesied and how they would be preserved thereby preserving the future promised seed of the woman that would restore blessing. In other words, key to the context of these principles of relational reconciliation is the connection between God’s purposes being worked out in relationship to the Messiah and how that involves relational reconciliation in our lives.
- God’s sovereign rule over all: Genesis 37-50 put on display the theme that Joseph famously articulates as recorded in Genesis 50:20 which says As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. When considering these principles of relational reconciliation this overall theme of God’s total sovereignty must be kept in mind.
With that context in mind before the 8 principles are listed we need to ask this question. What is the “rebar supports” undergirding these truths about relationship reconciliation? What two convictions must you have if you are to not only desire reconciliation but actually pursue it with someone else?
- You must have the growing conviction that your life is ultimately about God using you to advance His purposes for Jesus your Messiah. When that is your conviction then some prominent New Testament gospel logic makes complete sense because you realize that your willingness or unwillingness to be reconciled either affirms or contradicts the gospel:
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Titus 3:1-7 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. 3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
2. You must be convinced that God sovereignly is working to use you to advance His purposes for Jesus in such a way that He rules over sin and suffering around you so that He might exalt Christ in your life.
With that context and those supporting convictions in mind may God enable us to pursue relational reconciliation with these truths from Genesis 42-45 in mind:
- Reconciliation according to God’s plan in relationship to the Messiah may come about through difficult circumstances (42:1-5)
- Reconciliation according to God’s plan in relationship to the Messiah always involves awakened consciences (42:6-28)
- Reconciliation according to God’s plan in relationship to the Messiah may be delayed by ongoing sin (42:29-38)
- Reconciliation according to God’s plan in relationship to the Messiah always involves heart transformation (43:1-15)
- Reconciliation according to God’s plan in relationship to the Messiah always involves undeserved mercy (43:16-34)
- Reconciliation according to God’s plan in relationship to the Messiah always involves deepening heart transformation (44:1-34)
- Reconciliation according to God’s plan in relationship to the Messiah is undergirded by a theological conviction of God’s sovereign rule in relationships (45:1-15)
- Reconciliation according to God’s plan in relationship to the Messiah results in blessings (45:16-28)
Scripture has much to say explicitly and by implication on relational conflict and reconciliation. This is by no means all of it. But if we would grasp these truths then we would be able to say with a sincere heart before the Lord that we have “so far as it depends on” us, been “at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18).