|Vol. 2, No. 7||Page 19||July 2000|
The Biblical Teaching on Reconciliation
By Mark Weaver
Reconciliation is defined as: “to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable . . . to compose or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.), to bring into agreement or harmony . . .”1 God began his purpose to reconcile man to him in the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” At the dawn of time, God promised man a Savior that we might be reconciled to him.
The question remains however, why did Jesus have to come to earth for us to be reconciled to God? The Bible tells us that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). This being the case, how can mankind have hope? Simply put, our Savior understands our struggles perfectly: “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). Jesus knows about all of our struggles: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is able to understand everything we go through in this life because he experienced it.
Returning to our analogy about reconciling a checkbook, imagine for a moment you were terribly overdrawn. The bank calls and tells you that you are $100,000 in the red. You can either bring the money by 11 A.M. or they will call the police. What on earth will you do? Now, regarding this impossible situation, imagine someone who you do not even know stepping forward to put the money in your account! This is what Jesus did. He paid the bill for us. He saved us from certain destruction.
As if that were not enough, by reconciling us to God, he also reconciled us to one another:
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (Colossians 1:20-21).We are able to be one people through Jesus Christ. He took the Gentile world and the Jewish world and made them one:
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God to them that were nigh” (Ephesians 2:14-19).The final question that remains is what should we do with this reconciliation? Shall we keep it quiet, refusing to share this great gift with anyone else? Certainly not! Just as the disciples and apostles did in the first century, we should be shouting from the rooftops! The responsibility of using Christ’s death and our reconciliation to God thereby rests upon us. “But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). We are to serve by telling people that they have sinned, but that Jesus has paid the price for them and how they can apply that redemption to themselves to be saved and to stay saved. Salvation first begins with hearing the Word (Romans 10:17), one must then believe it (Acts 8:37), one must repent of past sins (Acts 17:30), one must confess Christ (Acts 8:37), and be baptized (Acts 2:38). Will you be reconciled to God today?
Endnotes1 Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition, 1987, 1998, New York, pg. 1612.