- The ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18) is indispensable to Christian discipleship because it lies at the heart of the mission of Jesus Christ. One of the highest Christological statements in the New Testament says, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19).
- Despite this the ministry of reconciliation is often marginalised in the contemporary church. Despite injunctions to the contrary, Christians take one another to court, churches break up because of leaders in conflict and many pastors prefer to send people off to counsellors rather than deal with marital conflict.
- This lack of understanding and practice in the realm of bringing together parties in hostility is another symptom of the crisis of discipleship in our midst.
- The need for a deeper presence of the reconciling power of the gospel through the Church is particularly evident in the Australian context when we consider the appalling state of our Indigenous people. (E.g. life expectancy 16-17 years lower than the general population; median gross income $278 compared to $473 for all non-Indigenous Australians; juvenile detention rates in Western Australia are 40x the rest of the population.)
- The increasingly atheistic and immoral condition of our traditional “Christian” societies is a sign that the Body of Christ has failed be salt and light to our culture (Matt 5:13-14).
- If we do not understand the full compass of what reconciliation with God means, we will always be confused about other levels of reconciliation.
What Does “Reconciliation” Mean?
- The principal New Testament words used for “reconciliation” (noun katallage; verb katallasso) are not specialised religious language, they convey something like the purchase of goods by the payment of money. The key idea is exchanging one thing for another.
- In the case of the exchange that makes up reconciliation, this means exchanging love for hatred, friendship for hostility. Reconciliation involves bringing together into a unity two parties that were previously in a situation of conflict.
- The unique centre of a Christian understanding of reconciliation with God is the life of Christ. Jesus took our sin and misery to give us his glory with the Father. Christ himself is the content of our reconciliation.
The False Exchange
- Someone has said that if “conciliation” is the work of keeping peace, re-conciliation is restoring peace where it has been lost. The LORD’s promise is clear, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3 ESV).
- There is no doubt that Adam and Eve were possessed by this peace in the beauties of Eden. They were assisted in keeping their minds on God by the presence of his Word that remained in their hearts when the manifest presence of God left the garden. This Word was the command, ““You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV).
- In Romans chapter one Paul describes what we call the Fall in “exchange” language that is directly related to our topic of reconciliation. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:18-23 ESV)
- God’s anger and judgement is directed towards human beings because they have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (Ro 1:25).
- Adam and Eve rejected the revelation of God’s eternal power and immortal life offered them in his Word in order to seek the blessings of creaturely life. From Eden on human beings have always chosen to create and serve images in their own likeness and that of other creatures rather than revere the true image of God. This evil exchange was to “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) and it generated the need for reconciliation with God.
- Abandoning the command of God meant no longer seeking peace directly from the LORD himself, but from the world. Under the judgement of God which pronounced death on all human ambitions (Gen 3:17-19), life in a fallen world became punctuated by frequent and futile anxious toil (Ps 127:2; Matt 6:25ff.). To reject God’s Word was to reject all divine characteristics; this included the loss of his promised peace. “But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”” (Isaiah 57:20-21 ESV).
- Guilty people cannot enjoy the indestructible peace that only God provides as a sharing in his own life. Wealth will not give you this peace, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (1 Tim 6:10), passing worldly pleasures cannot impart this peace. Paul lists one sign that the human race is “under the power of sin” as “the way of peace they have not known” (Rom 3:1, 17).
Human Attempts to Reconcile God: Idolatry
- To be stripped of the glories of God’s peace and to be filled with anxieties is an intolerable state for human beings. A solution has to be found, this solution is the invention of idols. There are many forms of idol, but in every man made religion the key to reconciliation with the so called God or gods comes through human effort. E.g. offerings to the deities on footpaths in Bali, the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) in Islam. People have to “do something” to satisfy the divine power(s).
- There is nothing a sinful human being can do to conciliate God. It is precisely when people forget this that God’s judgement is aroused, so we read in the prophets, ““I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:21-24 ESV) See also, Ps 50:13; Isa 1:11.
- We perhaps think that Christians are freed from legalistic attempts to buy God’s favour with sacrifices and offerings. I however have known many pastors who have burnt themselves out “working for God” trying to earn his approval by their ministries.
- Even more common is the attempt to please God by giving money (or time) to the Church. The clearest statement about the giving of 10% of income amongst the new covenant people of God comes in Hebrews, where we are told that this practice belongs to the law; “For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:18-19 ESV, in response to v.5).
- There is plenty of emphasis on giving in the letters of the New Testament, but absolutely no indication that this is in response to some sort of spiritual legislation. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV). There is no record of a “law/fixed regulation on tithing” in the Christian Church until the end of the sixth century. The teachers of the early Church were unanimous that believers were under no external obligation to give.
- What the Lord wants from us is clear, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1 ESV). The offering of ourselves is understood to be a response “to the mercies of God” Paul has outlined in the first eleven chapters of Romans, at the centre of such mercies is reconciliation. To understand what the Bible teaches about reconciliation it is very important that we see things from God’s side.
God Takes the Initiative in Reconciliation
- In Biblical religion God always takes the initiative to reconcile. The epitome of the Mosaic Law, The Ten Commandments, is preceded by bold statements concerning the divine action; “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”….. “And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.”” (Ex 19:4-6; 20:1-3)
- God’s gracious initiative extends to the cultic provisions through which reconciliation is believed to take place; “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” (Leviticus 17:11 ESV). Such sacrifices were given as tokens of grace, and were never themselves to be the object of faith.
- This is expressly stated in the Old Testament, “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.” (Ps 51:16 cf.1 Sam 15:22; Prov 21:3). The real human sacrifice is a state of heart; “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Ps 51:17; cf. Isa 57:15; 66:2).
- This may provoke a searching question; “How can I be brought to a point of brokenness and humility when I do not find these motivations in my own heart?” The really radical thing about reconciliation in the Bible is that God reverses the normal process of reconciling.
- Reconciliation usually takes place when the offender takes some action to make peace with the offended party; ““if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:21-24 ESV).
- God is the offended party and we sinners are the offenders; however our sin is so deep that we never truly desire reconciliation. People “dead in trespasses and sin following the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:1) whose minds have been blinded by “the prince of this world” (2 Cor 4:4) are not interested in reconciliation with God.
- P. T. Forsyth accurately summed up the situation confronting a reconciling God when he said, “There is that in us and in our sin which is in its very essence intractable to all the processes of a reconciling idea; something which, to the end, by its very nature, refuses to be taken up as a factor into the largest and most comprehensive procession of divine action; something which can never be utilized, but can only be destroyed in a mortal moral war; something which, if God cannot kill it, must be the death of God. And as a race we are not even stray sheep, or wandering prodigals merely; we are rebels taken with weapons in our hands.”
- Here are some of the attitudes that Paul ascribes to human beings in the very passages where he teaches about God’s initiative in reconciliation. It was “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10); “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:3 ESV); “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,” (Colossians 1:21-22 ESV). As “haters of God” (Rom 1:30) we had no interest in being reconciled to God.
- Grace is amazing in that it is always God who achieves reconciliation; “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 5:18-19 ESV). Reconciliation is something that God had to bring about without any response from us, it happens both apart from us and before we were even born, it is something that that has taken place even before the gospel is preached. It is something which can only be received. This goes against all our normal human ways of thinking.
Jesus and the Wonderful Exchange
- One of the most remarkable evidences that Jesus was a sinless man (cf. Isaiah 48:22; 57:20-21; Rom 3:17) was his authority to command a peace surpassing the trials of a situation.
- When Jesus was with his disciples in a small boat on the Sea of Galilee a demonic power stirred up a terrible storm threatening to sink the vessel and drown them all, because Christ’s mind was one with that of his Father who had given him a commission yet to be fulfilled, he “rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39). The peace that was within him overpowered the restless force of evil stirring up the waters (cf. Matt 5:34; Luke 7:50; 8:48; 19:42 and Dan 7:2).
- The peace that Christ manifested was a sign that he was the Son of God (Matt 5:9) and the bearer of God’s kingdom (Romans 14:17). The message of Jesus’ was one of peace (Luke 19:42; Eph 2:17).
- Over the centuries theologians have summarised the biblical teaching of Christ’s reconciling life in term of an exchange. This is based not only in the use of the terms for “reconciliation” but on certain passages which contain this idea; “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV).
- Perhaps the clearest reconciliation passage that speaks of salvation as an exchange is 2 Corinthians 5:11-21; “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 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. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:11-21 ESV)
- Christ took on the characteristics of man that man might take on the characteristics of God; “ And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 ESV). One of the early Church Fathers put it this way, “Out of his measureless love our Lord Jesus Christ has become what we are in order to make us what he is in himself.” (Irenaeus) This means that everything “Christian” is a share in Christ’s own life ( Cf. John 13:34-35; 14:27; 15:11; 1 Cor 1:30-31; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 12:2; 1 John 3:2).
- Over the years Christian thinkers have become greatly moved by the force of this exchange at the centre of God’s plan. The letter to Diognetus calls it the “sweet exchange”, one of the great theologians of the fourth century talked this way, “Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. Let us become God’s for His sake, since He for ours became Man…. becoming for His sake all that He became for ours.” (Gregory Nazianzen)
- The power of such a “sweet exchange” is expressed forcefully by Luther; “All the prophets of old said that Christ should be the greatest transgressor, murderer, adulterer, thief, blasphemer that ever was or ever could be on earth. When He took the sins of the whole world upon Himself, Christ was no longer an innocent person. He was a sinner burdened with the sins of a Paul who was a blasphemer; burdened with the sins of a Peter who denied Christ; burdened with the sins of a David who committed adultery and murder, and gave the heathen occasion to laugh at the Lord…. Our merciful Father in heaven…sent His only Son into the world and said to Him: “You are now Peter, the liar; Paul, the persecutor; David, the adulterer; Adam, the disobedient; the thief on the cross…. And the Law kills Christ. But we go free.”
- The impact of this “wonderful exchange” (Calvin) may only come through to us if we put our own name into the transaction, or the names of those who have hurt us most deeply.
The Beauty of Reconciliation
- It cannot be stressed enough that at the centre of this great and final exchange is Christ’s death (Rom 5:10; 2 Cor 5:14; Eph 2:16; Col 1:22). This is often spoken of in terms of reconciliation and peacemaking through “the blood of Christ”. E.g. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20 ESV Cf. Rom 3:25; 5:9; Eph 1:7; 2:13; Heb 9:12, 14; 10:19; 12:24; 13:12, 20; 1 Pet 1:2, 19; Rev 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11).
- In the context of sacrifice “blood” in scripture stands for life taken violently. It is a way of bringing home to our consciences the fate that we deserved under the justice of God. The blood of animals was only an external sign (Heb 10:4) of what God was always seeking from humanity, a freely given sacrifice of one’s self.
- What gives God “pleasure” is loving sacrificial obedience for his sake and the sake of the world (Heb 10:5-10 cf. Luke 3:22). The cross is exactly that; “And walks in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2 ESV Cf. Gen 8:21; Ezek 20:41).
- In Jesus the wrath of God has been exchanged for the pleasure of God; God is now our Father who is totally favourable towards us (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:1; 4:10).
- This explains an experience I had some years ago upon entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Upon entering the chapel where Jesus was crucified and seeing a large painting on the wall showing Christ laid down on the cross I was overcome with an extraordinary sense of beauty. In my heart I could sense what the Father felt on that day 2000 years ago, “This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
- If “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev 17:11), the free and selfless giving up of the life of Jesus for the world has the power to beautify everything that is evil and ugly.
- Sensing this all transforming reality within himself Jesus said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30). In accomplishing the great exchange in giving his life for the sins of the world reconciliation has happened once for all, it is a past fact that can only ever be received (Rom 5:10-11; 2 Cor 5:18-19; Col 1:21-22). Not only were we as individuals reconciled to God (Rom 5:10) but also the Gentile nations (Eph 2:13; Col 1:21), the “world” (2 Cor 5:19) and “all things on earth or in heaven” (Col 1:19-20). “In Christ” there is “a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17).
Disciples Image Reconciliation
- If to be a disciple of Jesus is to be discipled by Jesus as he was discipled by the Father this means exchanging our disobedience for his obedience; “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:10 ESV).
- To be a disciple of Jesus is not only to have a changed life, it is to live an exchanged life, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV).
- This way of understanding discipleship is offensive to our natural conviction that God wants to strengthen our already existing dispositions and gifts for his service. The Bible however teaches that he wants to put them to death in the power of the cross so that we might increasingly grow in the life of Christ; “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:10-12 ESV); “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)
- To live an exchanged life means to image the reconciliation achieved by God in Christ. ““But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28 cf. Luke 23:34); “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14-21 ESV), “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9 ESV)
- The Church is the one community on earth able to reveal that God has secured his peace with humanity. Since we are the friends of God we are to be the one group of people where conflict is overcome by the rule of God’s peace (Phil 4:7; Col 3:15).
- Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14). Discipleship and friendship with God are intimately linked through obedience; “make disciples…teaching them to obey all that I have commanded” (Matt 28:20).
- The writer of Hebrews similarly understands that you cannot image God’s eternal peace won by the reconciling blood of the cross without devout living. “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb 12:10 cf. Rom 14:19).
- Only those who are the visibly obedient friends of Jesus are in a position to proclaim the reality of reconciliation. “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.” (2 Cor 5: 20 The Message)
- It is the voice of God himself that people hear in the announcement of reconciliation, God actually appeals to us to come back to him. He does not consider such an appeal as it humiliating or beneath his dignity.
- The gospel of reconciliation proclaims not a better life but another life, Christ’s, in which we can share.
- Consistent Christian discipleship means living out the life of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God the Father.
- The sweet/wonderful/happy beautiful exchange is also a glorious exchange. However such an exchange can only be entered into in the same way as Christ did; ““Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?””(Luke 24:26 ESV). The mystery of the cross is that the glory of God is released through Jesus’ humanity as it shares in unjust suffering for his sake; “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:23-24 ESV)
- Far from being something that excludes our suffering, the death of Jesus calls us to share in his pain; “if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:20-21 ESV). As we willing carry the sinful reproaches and abuse of others for Christ’s sake the power of his reconciling love is released on their behalf. Such a “peaceful and quiet life…is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4).
- Such an evangelistic purpose can however only be released when the Church is true to her identity as a reconciled community. The many divisions and conflicts in the Body of Christ are a form of ugliness that practically denies the “beautiful exchange” which has taken place in the life death and resurrection of Jesus on behalf of us all. Of these things we must all repent.
- In the light of the gospel of reconciliation the way discipleship is no longer viewed as a matter of duty but of a rare and indispensible beauty.
When I was preparing this address in Uganda I asked the Lord for an image that would convey something of the reality of the “beautiful exchange”. I soon saw in my mind a cloud made up of a vast number of stars, twinkling with all the colours of the rainbow. This I believe is the cloud of the glory of God. In Hebrews 12:1 we read of “a great cloud of witnesses” whose lives have been faithful testimony to the truth of reconciliation, often through great suffering and death. These are those who hold to “the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:2, 9; 12:17; 19:10; 20:4) at whatever cost. I felt a great desire to be a part of this cloud of witnesses. Is this your desire too?
 In around the year 200 A.D. we read, “He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!” (Letter to Diognetus 9).
 “He assumed the worse that He might give us the better; He became poor that we through His poverty might be rich; 2 Corinthians 8:9 He took upon Him the form of a servant that we might receive back our liberty; He came down that we might be exalted; He was tempted that we might conquer; He was dishonoured that He might glorify us; He died that He might save us; He ascended that He might draw to Himself us, who were lying low in the Fall of sin. Let us give all, offer all, to Him Who gave Himself a Ransom and a Reconciliation for us. But one can give nothing like oneself, understanding the Mystery, and becoming for His sake all that He became for ours.”
 Luther is commenting on “”He was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12.)
 ““This is the wonderful exchange which, out of His measureless benevolence, Jesus Christ has made with us; that, becoming Son of man with us, He has made us sons of God with Him; that, by His descent to earth, He has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, He has conferred His immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, He has strengthened us by His power; that, receiving our poverty unto Himself, He has transferred His wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon Himself, He has clothed us with His righteousness.” (John Calvin)
 When I preached this is Uganda recently I put in the names of a host of African dictators (Idi Amin, Milton Obote, Laurent Kabila, Robert Mugabe, Joseph Kony).
 The site of Jesus’ death and resurrection.