Reconciliation – Richard D. Melson

Reconciliation – Richard D. Melson

The term about which I have been assigned to write is reconciliation. This is a wonderful word in the Scriptures–full of rich meaning and value. The term is used when there is a breach in the relationship between two men as in Matthew 5:24, or a husband and wife as used in 1 Corinthians 7:11, regarding which Wayne Jackson comments: “If one finds it absolutely imperative to become separated from a spouse (where no sexual infidelity has been involved), he should either remain in a separated state, or else be “reconciled to his mate (1 Cor. 7:11).” Thus, reconciliation is the process of restoring what was broken or bringing into harmony, unity or agreement what has been alienated.

This term is an important word in God’s plan of redemption. Reconciliation is the subject of four New Testament passages (Rom. 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Eph. 2:11ff; Col. 1:19ff). Reconciliation applies to the doing away of an enmity, it implies the parties involved were enemies. It is sin which creates the breach in the relationship of God and man (Isa. 59:1-2), man becomes the enemy of God through sin. One cannot study reconciliation and not consider the term “enemy” because reconciliation is concerned with what Jehovah does for those who are hostile toward Him (Rom. 5:8) and what Jehovah does for all creation in and through Christ (Eph. 1:11, 22-23).

The Greek term from which “reconciliation” is derived is defined by Thayer as: “an exchange, of the business of money-changers, exchanging equivalent values, adjustment of a difference, reconciliation of favor; In the NT of the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ.” Thus, reconciliation involves a change of condition as that all basis of the enmity is removed and a complete basis of fellowship is created. It is Jehovah who provides the means of restoring harmony between God and man. Man does not have the ability to initiate reconciliation. Wayne Jackson also writes:  “Reconciliation involves bringing together formerly estranged parties. That reconciliation also is confirmed by Christ’s life (i.e., his resurrection [cf. 4:25]) and his ongoing intercession (Heb. 7:25). For this beneficence we rejoice.”

Reconciliation as a theological construct results in peace with God (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:14; Col. 1:20); access to God’s presence (Rom. 5:2; Eph. 2:18; 3:12 cf. Col. 1:22) joy, assurance and fellowship. Seeing that a proper relationship with Jehovah is at the center of all divine religion, reconciliation, which makes access and fellowship possible should be considered as central to biblical Christianity. One cannot properly study God’s scheme of redemption without an understanding of the concept of reconciliation.

It is almighty Jehovah, who, because of His wonderful love has instituted His plan of reconciliation. His plan involved the death of his Son (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:22), the shedding of the blood of Jesus (Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20). Jesus the perfect Lamb of God paid the price for sin (John 1:29; Heb 2:9).  Therefore, all men are urged to accept Heaven’s offer of reconciliation, which is made known through the gospel message (2 Cor. 5:18-19). The command “be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20), suggests that the sinner has the power to receive, if he only will (cf. John 5:40;
Rev. 22:17). Reconciliation is begun at the point of the believing penitent sinner being baptized into the body of Christ (Eph. 2:16; 1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Eph. 5:26).