“How can a sinful man be reconciled to a just God?” Ask this question to any man and you can get a straight answer that revolves around man’s works. But the fact of our sinfulness inescapably forces us to rely not on what we can do but on what God has done through Christ on the cross.
The word reconciliation has four primary Greek words behind it. They are diallásso (Matthew 5:24), with regard to being reconciled to an offended brother; katallásso, used in Romans 5:10 (twice) and II Corinthians 5:18-20 (three times), it is used with reference to reconciliation with God; apokatallásso, stronger or more intense form of katallásso and refers to reconciling completely (Ephesians 2:16 and Colossians 1:20, 22); katallagé, it refers to the restoration of God’s favor to sinners who repent and put their faith in the person and work of Christ (Romans 5:11; 11:15; II Corinthians 5:18-19).
Richard Muller defined Reconciliation as,
The saving work of Christ [is] viewed as the restoration of harmony or agreement between God and man. The term therefore relates specifically to the office of Christ as the Mediator between the two parties in covenant, God and man, and indicates the result of Christ’s mediatorial work of satisfaction.
Who was reconciled to whom? Did the cross reconcile man to God? OR Did the cross reconcile God to man? It is actually both. Some commit a fatal mistake by believing that man is against God but God is never against man. We already established this reality before, but it is worth reviewing.
The Bible teaches that God is also against the sinner. He is just and holy; therefore, He is angry with the sinner (Psalm 5:5) and ready to judge the sinner (Psalm 7:11-13). The cross reconciled God to us in that Christ paid our sin debt, satisfying the justice of God and appeasing His wrath. We are reconciled to God through the cross when, through the regenerating and quickening work of the Holy Spirit, we repent of our sin and place our faith in Christ.
The condition before reconciliation:
For if while we were enemies (v.10) see also Romans 8:7. As God’s enemy, men are neither willing nor able to come to God. “The word ‘enemies’ does not highlight our unholy hatred of God but rather God’s holy hatred of us”
The ground of reconciliation:
We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son (v.10). With regard to God: Christ’s death satisfied the just demands of God’s law, appeased the wrath of God, and made it possible for God both to maintain His justice and to justify the sinner. With regard to man: Christ’s death removed the obstacle of sin and its penalties and through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the sinner’s hatred toward God is changed to love, and his hatred for God’s law is changed to reverence and a desire to obey.
The reality of reconciliation
Much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (v.10). The believer has been reconciled. The believer’s reconciliation is a completed reality founded upon the once-and-for-all death of Christ. We are not waiting to be reconciled, nor we were just simply made reconcilable, but are fully and completely reconciled the moment we believe.
The joy of reconciliation
And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (v.11). The believer’s reconciliation is a completed reality founded upon the once-and-for-all death of Christ. We are not waiting to be reconciled, but are fully and completely reconciled the moment we believe. Those who recognize that their reconciliation is through Christ alone are moved to exult or boast in God alone (Philippians 3:3, Galatians 6:14).
The perfection of reconciliation
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him (v.19). Christ is God in the flesh. Therefore, there is nothing deficient in His person or work; there is nothing that can fail; there is no weak link in the chain of our salvation. Our reconciliation is accomplished and inalterable.
The extent of reconciliation
And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself (v.20). The phrase “all things” is further described in verse 20 as all things on earth and in heaven. Christ’s death has a cosmological effect. Christ alone is God’s appointed Reconciler, and there is no other. According to Albert Barnes, “There was no enemy which it was not fitted to reconcile to God; there was no guilt, now producing alienation, which it could not wash away.
The power of reconciliation
formerly alienated and hostile in mind… you before Him holy and blameless (21-22). This is the Christian’s former and present state. There is a real change in the believer’s life. Professing to know Christ yet there is no evident change in life is tantamount to saying that God is not powerful to effect change to the one that He saved. Believers are being conformed to Christ not to this world. Those in Christ are truly new creatures (2 Cor 5:17).
Have you been reconciled to God? Are you loving God more and hating sin more? Do you have peace with God? May you seek peace with God through Christ more than anything else in this world.
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
Cover photo is by Fotorech from Pixabay.com
Note: This lesson is from our weekly Youth Bible Study Based on Paul Washer’s Discovering the Glorious Gospel.
- Muller, Richard A. Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms : Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology. Grand Rapids, Mi, Baker Academic, A Division Of Baker Publishing Group, 2017.
- “Colossians 1 Barnes’ Notes.” Www.biblehub.com, http://www.biblehub.com/commentaries/barnes/colossians/1.htm. Accessed 10 Aug. 2021.
- Washer, Paul. Discovering the Glorious Gospel. New Albany, Mississippi, Media Gratiae, 2016.
3 thoughts on “Christ, Our Reconciliation I”
Good post. I love the doctrine of reconciliation
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