By Jimmy R. Mickells
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
There are a good number of things that are said to us in these three verses about reconciliation. The word reconcile is defined as “properly denotes to change, exchange (especially of money); hence, of persons, to change from enmity to friendship, to reconcile” (Vine, p. 942).
Man’s need of reconciliation is obvious. His sins have separated him from his God (Isaiah 59:1,2), making him an enemy. Paul said, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:8-10).
This reconciliation or making of peace between God and man comes only through Christ; “…who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Notice in the book of Colossians, the writer says, that it was what Jesus did on the cross, the giving of His life and the shedding of His blood, that through this means we can be reconciled. “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:19-22).
God’s chosen method to instruct mankind about this offer of peace and reconciliation is through the preaching and teaching of His word. Paul said that the Lord had given him and the apostles “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). In verse 19, he said that God “has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” The gospel message is God’s power to salvation (Romans 1:16). When preached in its purity and simplicity, it will move men and women to be obedient to it, thus they can be reconciled unto our Heavenly Father (Acts 2:36-41).
Reconciliation is only accomplished by man being forgiven of his sins; “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them…” (2 Corinthians 5:19). The word imputing is defined as “to take into account, to make an account of; metaphorically to pass to one’s account, to impute” (Thayer, p. 379). Whose sins are not imputed or charged against them? It is the person who has been forgiven of those sins and reconciled unto our Lord. Look at the words of Paul in the book of Romans, as he quotes Proverbs 32:1,2, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” (Romans 4:7,8).
For one to be reconciled unto God there is something that the individual must do. Paul said, “…we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). God did His part, through His grace, in the sending of His Son to die on the cross to reconcile us to Himself (Romans 5:8-10). Yet there are some things that we must do to be saved as well. There was a preacher in Nashville, who wrote an article in the local paper, which said there is nothing for one to do to be saved, Jesus did it all two thousand years ago. He certainly did His part; but He did not do ours. Peter was asked by those in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, “…Men and brethren what shall we do” (Acts 2:37). They were told to, “…Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Do you want peace? You can be reconciled to God just like those men and women in the New Testament. Why not humbly submit to the Lord’s will and be saved. He is the source of salvation to all those who will obey Him (Hebrews 5:8,).