All Scripture taken from the NIV
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 - 21)
Paul says much about reconciliation in the passage above, but notice what it is in reference to: A NEW CREATION. He goes on to say that God “reconciled” (from the Greek word katallassō, which means “to change as reflex” or “exchange”) the world to Himself. Why would God need to do that?
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6 - 11)
Why? Because we are enemies of God before trusting Christ! Read verse ten (10) again.
For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
How was man reconciled, or “changed or exchanged”, to God? The answer to this is JESUS! It was on the cross that the Lord Jesus Christ took the full wrath of God for sin. It was here that the former state of hostility toward God was transformed, or probably better defined, exchanged, into one of harmony. But this is not a practical reality for the non-believer. Read the following quote from Jesus Himself:
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:40-43).
But how can that be? The other texts we read say that man’s status is changed before God… doesn’t it?
Here is what it says: GOD CHANGED HIS VIEW OF US. We are no longer enemies of His with not opportunity to fellowship; He does not view man as un-savable. It was through the cross that that man is rendered SAVABLE. But this rendering does not save anybody. Personal faith in Christ is what saves.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8 -10)
To be reconciled to God is not enough. There must be a recognition that you are in need of a Savior. In essence, God must be reconciled to you!
Sin is not forgiven until personal faith in the propitiation offered at the cross is made. Just because God views you as savable, doesn’t mean you are saved. I will write more on this later. There are two things that must be said about reconciliation in closing:
1. As long as both parties are alive reconciliation is possible.
2. Jesus is alive, and there is still time to be reconciled.