Reconciled and at Peace – Gospel in Life

Reconciled and at Peace

Tim Keller |  January 24, 2016

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Hebrews 9:11-14
RS 364-03


The gospel brings great goods into our lives. This text tells us a lot about one of them: reconciliation. We’re reconciled to God.

What does that mean? One of the ways to understand this passage is to start at the end and work back. It’s actually a pretty simple argument, but its message is deeper than the whole universe.

By working backward, let’s see 1) a more visible but lesser problem, 2) a less visible but greater problem, and 3) the solution to it all.

Sermon Summary

Christ, in his role as the high priest, obtained eternal redemption through his own blood, surpassing the superficial cleansing offered by the blood of goats and bulls. The Gospel reminds us that Christ’s blood purifies our consciences from actions leading to death, establishing our faith. The theme of reconciliation, or achieving peace with God, is elucidated through an “A fortiori argument,” comparing a visible but lesser problem of an uncleansed conscience to a less visible but greater problem, and presenting the ultimate resolution.

1. A more visible, lesser problem

The issue of a tainted conscience is explored, referencing Freud’s assertion in “Civilization and its Discontents” that guilt is an essential societal control against human egocentrism. Despite the notion that modern secular society is free from guilt, Freud warns of the failure to acknowledge our inner darkness, a sentiment mirrored by the Bible’s recognition of overt and covert guilt. The struggle to escape a sense of inherent wrongness, despite efforts to craft personal moral universes, reveals the profound influence of this self-condemnation on various life aspects.

2. A less visible but greater problem

Dirt signifies both a relational repulsion and a legal liability, acting as a barrier between humanity and God due to our sin. This barrier is both subjective, as God is repelled by our impurity, and objective, as our sin creates a legal obstacle. To reconcile with God and restore justice, it’s crucial to recognize our guilt and seek God’s reconciliation, which can only occur when these barriers are demolished.

3. The solution to it all

The gospel of Jesus Christ offers individuals liberation from guilt and self-condemnation, portraying Jesus as the ultimate source of love and reconciliation. The notion of justification by faith alone underscores the importance of Jesus’ crucifixion, where he bore humanity’s sins. The Word of God has the power to distinguish between false and true guilt, providing comfort in God’s grace for genuine guilt, symbolized through a fairy tale that illustrates the struggle with guilt and the transformative power of Jesus’ love.



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