1999 James A. Fowler
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I. Biblical references to "reconciliation"
A. Old Testament
concept of ritual-sacrifice (kopher, kippur), atonement,
was closest old covenant idea.
context viewed alienation primarily as objective separation,
inconsistency or incompatibility,
and atonement as impersonal exchange.
B. New Testament
words katallasso, katallage, apokatallasso
Derived from kata=according to; allasso=to exchange,
alter (from allos=another)
Meaning: to restore understanding between people after hostility,
displeasure or disagreement.
Greek thought did not usually conceive of personal relationship
New Testament usage therefore unique usage of Gk. words.
in New Testament
5:24 - "first be reconciled to your brother"
7:26 - "he (Moses) tried to reconcile them in peace"
5:10 - "while we were enemies, we were reconciled to
God through the death of His Son
...having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life"
5:11 - "we have now received the reconciliation"
11:15 - "if their rejection be the reconciliation
of the world"
Cor. 7:11 - "be reconciled to her husband"
Cor. 5:18 - "God, who reconciled us to Himself, through
Christ, and gave us the ministry of
Cor. 5:19 - "God was in Christ reconciling the world
to Himself ...committed to us the word
Cor. 5:20 - "be reconciled to God"
2:16 - "might reconcile them both in one body"
1:20 - "through Him to reconcile all things to Himself"
1:22 - "He has now reconciled you in His fleshly
body through death"
word "reconciliation" from Latin reconciliare;
re=again, conciliare=to bring together,
II. Features of Biblical new covenant "reconciliation"
A. Primarily a personal concept, rather
than impersonal, forensic concept of reconciling (i.e. violation
B. Presupposes a broken personal relationship
between God and man
- Isa. 59:2; Eph. 2:12
estrangement - Eph. 2:12; Col. 1:21
exclusion - Eph. 4:18
wrath - Rom. 1:18; 5:9; 8:7; Eph. 5:6; Col. 1:21
enemies - Rom. 5:10; James 4:4
C. The subject and object of reconciliation
Biblical explanation posits God as the subject, and man as the
object, of reconciliation.
pagan religion - man was the subject who had to act, work or
perform in order to placate, pacify
or appease the personal pique of an offended and angry god, in
order to be reconciled
and brought into his good graces.
Christian message - God took the initiative to act on man's behalf
to effect reconciliation
II Cor. 5:18,19; Col. 1:20
God can be considered as both subject and object of reconciliation.
Subject, by His taking the initiative to act in Christ
Object, in the sense that God's just wrath (cf. Rom. 5:9) toward
sin, whereby men are enemies
(cf. Rom. 5:10), is changed to a reconciled relationship by His
initiated action entailing
His judgment upon the sacrifice of His Son.
The immutable character of God does not change, nor does His
to sin, contrary to His character.
The modus operandi of God can, does and has changed, allowing
God to be reconciled
with men made righteous in Christ.
D. The essence of reconciliation
ending of the enmity and estrangement
Accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross - Rom.
5:10; II Cor. 5:15,21; Col.
1:22; Eph. 2:16
Redemptive, expiatory, propitiatory sacrifice
Substitutional, vicarious taking of death consequences for men's
Imputation of our sins to Christ - II Cor. 5:21
God's justice is satisfied; God's wrath is removed
effecting of a personal relationship and spiritual union of God
with receptive mankind.
Imputation of Christ's righteousness - Rom. 5:19; II Cor. 5:21
Loving fellowship ensues
E. Reconciliation must be received, accepted
by faith - Rom. 5:1,2; II Cor. 5:20
F. Reconciliation is closely related
and associated with these concepts:
with God" - Rom. 5:1; Col. 1:20
to God" - Eph. 2:18; 3:12; Col. 1:22
with God" - I Jn. 1:3
- Rom. 5:19; II Cor. 5:19,21
- Rom. 8:15; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5
- Acts 3:21
exchange - Acts 26:18
union - I Cor. 6:17
of Holy Spirit - Rom. 5:5
as "new creature" - II Cor. 5:17
11. saving life
of Christ - Rom. 5:10
12. joy - Rom.
13. times of
refreshing - Acts 3:19
14. love - Rom.
5:5; II Cor. 5:14
G. Proclamation of reconciliation
of reconciliation" is the gospel - II Cor. 5:19
of reconciliation" is evangelism - II Cor. 5:18
reconciled to God" is the invitation - II Cor. 5:20
H. Reconciliation will be worked out
in human relationships as the Reconciler lives in the Christian.
and wife relationships - I Cor. 7:10
neighbors, litigants - Matt. 5:24
reconciliation and integration - Eph. 2:16
I. Is there a yet unfulfilled cosmic
reconciliation? - Col. 1:20; Acts 3:21; Rom. 8:18-23;