This department is provided for the free and courteous discussion of biblical and spiritual problems which may be considered edifying to the people of God. Letters concerning such matters are requested.
Dear Brother in Christ:
A group was discussing certain points in a passage of the Bible. The word reconciliation was in the passage, and no one was very sure what it meant, particularly according to its usage in the Scriptures. Most thought that it means a little giving on both sides in order to restore a happy relationship, but God is never wrong, is He? Could you please explain what reconciliation in the Bible really means?
An inquiring believer,
Dear Brother I. C.
The word reconciliation means to produce harmony where there is discord and disunity, where there was nothing but variance. Let us look at it in three ways:
Its need: This is described in Colossians 1:21, “And you that were sometime (once) alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled …” The cause of our alienation from God is said to be “wicked works.” These are the product of an evil nature inherited by birth. We all are part of a fallen and depraved race. Alienation, estrangement, soon manifests itself in hostility and enmity toward God.
Its foundation: The basis of reconciliation is the atonement of Christ. This is the message of Ephesians 2:16, “And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”
Its extent: It has been said, “Christ by virtue of His atonement reconciles man to God, man to man, man to himself, and man to duty” (F. W. Robertson).
(a) Christ, by virtue of His work on the cross, reconciles man to God. Calvary revealed two things, the character of God as a God of love and the power of that love to destroy the enmity and hostility of the human heart, thus making peace.
(b) He reconciles man to man. He makes in Himself of Jew and Gentile one new man. First there is peace with God; then there is peace man with man, in a new society of redeemed humanity.
(c) He reconciles man to Himself. Unregenerate man acts at variance with his own conscience. Sin destroys the harmony of body, soul, and spirit, and fills the human heart with discord and a sense of utter frustration. Only the work of God through the Holy Spirit can restore and bring into proper spiritual balance the mind and will of man so that he can live at peace with himself. 2 Corinthians 5:14 puts it this way, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if One died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.”
(d) He reconciles man to duty. This is accomplished, not by a change of circumstances but by fitting him to live for God’s glory in the place where his lot is cast (Phil. 4:10-13). The noblest life on earth is the life that remains ever faithful to the will of God in the face of adversity.
No, reconciliation is not the giving of a little on both sides; it is the complete surrender of the soul to a loving God in order to enjoy fellowship with Him and His beloved people, to live in harmony with one’s own conscience by finding true peace in God and in obedience to His blessed will.
Your brother in Christ,