August 15, 2015

HOW IS A SINNER RECONCILED TO GOD?



    13 TERMS OF SALVATION – RECONCILIATION

      
RECONCILIATION denotes someone or something adjusted to a given standard, making the necessary change in order to measure up to that standard. This, much as a watch may be adjusted to a chronometer or TV signal. In Christian doctrine it has to do with sinners adjusted and changed to compatibility with a thrice-holy God.

THERE ARE TWO MAJOR PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT:

1.    ROMANS 5:10,11

A.   RECONCILIATION HISTORICALLY AND REDEMPTIVELY UNDERSTOOD…
 5:10ba “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His                   Son…” 

(At the cross all sinners were reconciled to God! "But we do see Him...namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone" Hebrews 2:9. And so, no sinner goes to hell because of his/her sin, but rather eternal hell is suffered because the reconciliation procured by Christ is not believingly received.)

B.   RECONCILIATION PERSONALLY APPLIED…
5:10b “…much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved  by His life.”

(A sinner here and now is personally reconciled when he/she accepts the reconciliation wrought by Christ at Calvary. This happens at salvation.)

C.    RECONCILIATION HAPPILY ENJOYED…
5:11 “And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through                     whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

(This reconciliation is cause for worhip. And so, "we also exult in God." The hymn says, "In the Beloved accepted am I.)
  
     2. CORINTHIANS 5:16-21

D.   RECONCILIATION SOCIALLY ENCOURAGED
2 Cor. 5:16-18 “Therefore from now on we recognize no one  according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…”

(Believers must see one another "in Christ." I may not 'like' someone but I will love him because he too is accepted in Jesus Christ. He, like I, has a "new" standing in Christ Jesus. God accepts him, and so must I. I no longer see him in the flesh, but in his new position in Jesus. This is "faith" vision.)

E.    RECONCILIATION EVANGELISTICALLY  PREACHED
5:19 “…namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

(Just as loving interpersonal relations are vastly encouraged by the doctrine of reconciliation, so is a believer's heart toward those yet unsaved. I must tell them what they have in Jesus Christ and urge them toward God with "the word of reconciliation."

F.    RECONCILIATION ENERGETICALLY URGED
5:20 “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

(An ambassador represents his/her government in a distant land. Even so, we are strangers and pilgrims in this world and have the urgent task of begging sinners to come to God, through the reconciliation wrought by Jesus Christ in their behalf.)

G.   RECONCILIATION THEOLOGICALLY BASED
5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

(Again, the potential of a poor, lost sinner being made at one (reconciled) to an eternal and altogether holy God was secured at Calvary. There the sinner's sin was imputed to Jesus Christ who was "made" sin for us. When a sinner believes in Jesus as personal Lord and Savior, God's righteousness is imputed or charged to the sinner's account. Being made righteous in Him, we are declared righteous (justification) and declared accepted (reconciliation), by faith in God's Son.)





Hendriksen-Kistemaker:

2 Corinthians 5:18 - “Who reconciled us to himself through Christ.” This astounding statement reveals God’s infinite love. We offended God by breaking his commands and sinning against him. Therefore, the initiative for reconciliation should have come from us, for we are the offending party. Instead we read that God, as the offended party, reached out to us to achieve restoration of relationships. God took the initiative and completed the work of reconciliation before we, as sinners, began to respond to God’s gracious invitation to be reconciled to him (Rom. 5:10–11). In brief, God restored the relationship between himself and us, so that his new creation for us could be fully realized.
In apostolic times, the Jews believed that man had to initiate reconciliation with God, chiefly by prayer and confession of sin. For instance, the writer of II Maccabees uses the verb to reconcile four times, but all of them are in the passive voice. They disclose that human beings petition God to be reconciled to them.
By contrast, the New Testament teaches that God restores us to himself by “putting us in right relations with himself.” God is the subject and we are the object whenever the verb to reconcile is in the active voice. But when in the same context this verb is in the passive voice, we are the subject (see v. 20). God did not cause alienation between himself and us and, therefore, did not have to reconcile himself to us. Yet in love God reconciles us to himself through the atoning work of his Son Jesus Christ. For this reason, Paul says that God brings about restoration through Christ, that is, through Jesus’ redemptive work. The phrase through Christ alludes to his death and resurrection (vv. 14–15), which bring about both a new creation (v. 17) and a reconciliation (vv. 18–20).



-         Dick D. Christen