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Through sin the human race has made itself the enemy of God. People are separated from God, under the wrath of God and unable to have fellowship with God (Romans 1:18; Romans 8:7-8; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 1:21). They need to be reconciled to God; that is, they need to be brought back from a state of hostility to a state of peace; from being an enemy to being a friend.

The only way that reconciliation can occur is through the removal of the cause of hostility. Christ did this when he died on the cross; he bore sin on behalf of sinners. God’s holy wrath against sin was satisfied, but only at great cost to himself. God was in Christ, reconciling sinners to himself. Because of all he has done through Christ’s death, God can in his love accept repentant sinners back to himself (Romans 5:6-9; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; see PROPITIATION).

Once God has dealt with sin according to his standards of justice and holiness, he can reconcile guilty sinners. Reconciliation is God’s work; it is not something sinners themselves can accomplish. The fault is on their side, but the removal of hostility is entirely the work of God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). People are brought into a right relationship with God only through the outworking of God’s grace in the death of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10-11; Ephesians 2:12-16; Colossians 1:20; Colossians 1:22). They receive the benefits of this reconciliation when they respond to God in faith and repentance (Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:20).

Peace now replaces hostility (Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 2:14-17). This peace is more than the absence of hostility; it is a state of spiritual well-being brought about through a right relationship with God. It is a peace that comes from God through Christ’s conquest of sin, and it enables believers to be confident and calm in a world still hostile to God (John 14:27; Romans 5:1; Romans 8:6; Romans 16:20; Philippians 4:7; Philippians 4:9; see PEACE).

Having experienced the gracious work of God’s reconciliation, believers should preach it to others, so that others might be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). In addition they should desire that people be reconciled to each other. Christ’s work destroys traditional hostilities in human relations and brings peace (Ephesians 2:14-16).

Whether within the community of believers or outside it, Christians should try to live peaceably with others (Matthew 5:23-26; Romans 12:18-21; 2 Corinthians 6:11-13), and should encourage the same attitude in others (Matthew 5:9). They should also work towards the reconciliation of people in general to the world of nature in which they live. Such a reconciliation is part of the purpose for which Christ died (Romans 8:19-23; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 1:20; see NATURE).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Reconciliation'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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