As many of you know, tradition teaches us that Christ died to reconcile the world to himself. There are a number of passages that discuss reconciliation, and what they say about it may or may not be what you might expect.
Only the man Christ Jesus can reconcile God and humanity (I Timothy 2:5). Okay, that much is familiar.
While were still enemies, God reconciled us to himself through his Son. (Romans 5:10) You’ve probably heard that, too. It means that God’s “enemies” are being reconciled to God while they are still “hostile” to God, or the traditional idea of God.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them (II Corinthians 5:10). Everyone in the world (or perhaps even the world “system”) was reconciled to God through Christ, and he does not no longer takes any notice of their sins. They are forgiven and forgotten. This is prior to any repentance, any acknowledgment of God.
The rejection of God by his people is the reconciliation of the world (Romans 11:15). Again, the world is now reconciled to God.
Our reconciliation to God is all his doing, and he gave us the ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18).
So, from God’s perspective, all of the following are true.
- God and humanity have been reconciled.
- God and the world have been reconciled.
- God and his enemies are reconciled.
- God ended the hostility between Jews and gentiles.
- God made peace between everything on earth and in heaven.
- God does not hold our sins against us.
All Things in Heaven and on Earth are Reconciled through Christ
Through Christ God reconciled all things, making peace, whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his blood (Colossians 1:20). It is clear from these and other citations that the Apostle Paul believe in the reconciliation.
It seems that there is some tension between Paul’s teaching and other teachings. It is not my intent to write a treatise on this topic. Such tensions will not be resolved with analysis. Take for example the perennial tensions between free will and predestination, the myriad versions of eschatology, or the meanings of “on this rock I will build my church.” What is necessary is that people settle for themselves what they believe, and not make it a divisive issue within their communities.
This post (and a number of others) is intended for people who are already inclined to believe in the unconditional love of God, and would like to know that their belief is supportable from the scripture. The need to support beliefs from the Bible, while not completely necessary, is nevertheless one element of maintaining a clear conscience. If people maintain beliefs which they believe are contrary to scripture, then they risk violating their consciences and shipwrecking their faith (1 Timothy 1:19).