This may seem to be a very simple question – and we use this word all the time around here; Universal Reconciliation. But it seems to be more complex than I’d thought.
– restore friendly relations between…
– cause to coexist in harmony…
– make or show to be compatible…
But on second look, this really doesn’t seem to make sense does it?
The bible insists (and rejoices!) that we are reconciled – or maybe we have been reconciled – through the Cross. Many texts assert this, for example:
Colosians 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (NIV)
However, a mere glance around us will demonstrate (going with the above definitions) that –
– there remain lots of “unfriendly relations between” men and God;
– there remains much apparent inability “to coexist in harmony”;
– there appears to be much incompatibility when it comes to men and God.
So despite the asserted fact of our reconciliation, many sure don’t seem reconciled.
Further, those definitions of reconciliation don’t really seem to be what the bible has in mind at all:
Romans 5:10 (KJV) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Reconciliation then appears to be something that happens even while we are enemies!
In what sense then does Paul use this word “reconciliation”??
Perhaps he means reconciliation is…
… now a valid option?
… predicted to happen in our future?
… an indication that no barriers now exist in our path to God?
… to be our state before God from here on and forever?
… a guarantee that, realize it or not, our fate is peace with God?
If something like this is the case, then perhaps reconciliation, which is so certain to happen eventually that’s it’s referred to in past tense, is something like the first step on the way. This might be hinted at in the very next section of v.10 – being reconciled, we shall be saved by His LIFE!
I’d always assume that reconciliation implied, or needed, MY cooperation to be real. This appears not to be the case however.
How do you see this? have I missed something obvious?
(Rainy day here in Florida so am therefore pestering you with my thoughts and questions!!!)
It may be worth noting that most of the time, the term in Greek is only down-reachment: implying action by God (which definitely fits the grammar otherwise, too, in all instances of the term and its cognates in the NT.)
I think St. Paul only uses down-up-reachment once, or maybe twice. Still starts with down-reachment though.
Please expand, my good friend Jason!
Does reconciliation then have nothing to do with us? (If so, I’ve been way off for a while)
Here I always thought that I had a part to play in reconciliation!!!
Yet you suggest the word indicates something God can do by Himself…
That’d be big of course.
Say I approach Christopher Hitchens – as you know one of my favorite writers and thinkers. (He has esophageal cancer as you all may know) And I tell him he is already reconciled to God… Is this the approach? God has “down-reached” to us so… the rest is up to us or something??
Help me out here…
Are we saying (agreeing?) that this word indicates that God holds NOTHING against us – despite our baggage that says we can’t approach Him?
Something HAPPENED at the Cross Jason! And it seems to have happened without the implicit agreement, or acceptance, of those who most need it! (ie His enemies) THAT is my dilemma!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful posts. I always resonate with your ideas and questions.
Basically, since beginning the UR journey, I’ve wondered if there was a difference between salvation and reconciliation, in that all are reconciled, but only some are saved – saved from God’s judgment. Thus the cross both saves those who believe from God’s judgment, and reconciles unbelievers to God, a reality which is fulfilled after their judgment, perhaps in another age to come? I believe that Romans 5:10 seems to indicate this.
[Also, I might add here, that I am not completely convinced of our free will to believe, at least in the sense most would understand free will. I believe that God sovereignly chooses and draws those who believe and are saved for whatever reasons his Grace affords. The Scriptures certainly support this, but this discussion might be for another thread. (I’ve seen it discussed in great detail on this forum before!)]
And it would be just like God to reconcile His enemies in a legal sense, even before that reconciliation takes place relationally, when both parties mutually consent to being at peace with one another. Furthermore, I would submit that God’s judgment in the world to come is purposed to bring the enemy of God to a place of surrender and repentance, and thus completing the work of reconciliation relationally. This would follow the pattern of God’s judgement in the OT perfectly.
Also, I believe there will always be a difference between those who are the Bride of Christ and those who are reconciled only, having not been saved from judgment but having been restored to Christ following the judgment. We, the Bride have a special place reserved for us at the side of our Beloved, but all will eventually enter those gates of the New Jerusalem and bring God the glory that is rightfully His. Doesn’t that image make heaven seem even more glorious?
This argument also helps with the whole understanding of the eternal destiny of children and others incapable of choosing Christ in this life. They are, simply, reconciled. It’s finished and they are lovingly brought back to the Creator in the age to come. And if for whatever reason there is judgment in store for such as these, I can’t imagine that it could compare with those who live their whole lives as enemies of Christ. I do not believe that God doles out “one- size -fits -all” judgments.
These are just some random thoughts that your initial question seemed to stir up in me. I’ll be eager to read how this thread continues and to hear more from you and the others.
I know that you can point to the tense of a couple of verses and say that the Bible teaches that all have already been reconciled by Christ, but the overall context of the new covenant is that it’s a conditional covenant while the condition is faith. Also, salvation and reconciliation with God go hand in hand. I don’t see anybody as reconciled with God but not saved or vice versa. And I’m sorry that I currently do not have the time do put together expositions on all of the relevant biblical verses, which might make this clearer.
That depends on whether your observation is made of the FLESH and TIME which encases the FLESH or the SPIRIT and ETERNITY, which encases the SPIRIT…
It does to me… but as this answer unfolds you shall become aware that I do not “see” this or likely any other thing in Scripture, as do most “see” it…
That is because one chooses to observe this premise with ones “eyes”, instead of viewing it as GOD “sees” it (in the SPIRIT)… which is indeed seen in SIMPLICITY of the COMPLETE and ETERNAL, rather than the confused and ever changing, “tick-tock” of the finite CLOCK.
Before even ONE TICK of the clock upon which rests the visio of MOST, concerning the premise of RECONCILIATION… God had ALREADY DECLARED all those moments, END to BEGINNING – Isaiah 46:10
Included in this DECLARATION is the RECONCILIATION which did not need to be MANIFEST in time in order to BE… It ALREADYIS due to the DECLARATION of YHVH in using HIS ETERNAL WORD to note it. The REVELATION of this RECONCILIATION in proximity to and within, GOOD and EVIL, is manifest in LINEAR terms, …much like a BOOK which is written WORD by WORD by a writer, even though it’s words are ALREADY within the mind of that writer.
I think you are on the right track with these suggestions for the most part… Again, if viewed as a “done deal” which is GOD’s vantage point… then our “fate” has ALWAYS been at PEACE with God, the moment it was DECLARED to occur.
The WORD makes such statements OFTEN – Rom 3:23 – “all have SINNED and come short of the Glory of God” – How can this BE when ALL have yet to exist? When this statement was made, 2000+ years were yet to occur in the future! Yet it is stated as an “ALREADY decided” type of notation.
How about “WHILE we were YET SINNERS, CHRIST died for US” – Rom 5:8 – WHILE?
This is speaking of men which had yet to be, as well as those who actually LIVED during the “when” CHRIST’s death, actually took place… IOW “While” is in proximity to the SINNER which Sins… for where SIN ABOUNDED, GRACE did [does] MUCH MORE ABOUND – Rom 5:20 – while WE live in our moments along the FINITE and linear trail of time…
Exactly!! …None of us DO GOOD – Psalm 14:-13 – Rom 3:10-13 – WE “do” evil… only CHRIST does “good”… Whenever GOOD appears as emergent from us, it is due to HIS PRESENCE in us… not because “we” did GOOD of ourselves…
I don’t feel that I fully grasp what this means myself, but I’m reminded of this passage, where we see both God’s act of reconciliation towards us, and the appeal to us to be reconciled:
2Cr 5:18ff All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
I think we see a this too in Rom 5:8,
…and God doth commend His own love to us, that, in our being still sinners, Christ did die for us;
I like that use of the word ‘commend’ in the older translations, rather than the more modern ‘demonstrates’. Commend, in my opinion, transmits the meaning better. It’s used for introductions, recommendations, to set two things together, it carries a positive sense of approving something.
God takes the first step towards us, for reconciliation: “While we were yet his enemies…” We can continue to refuse to be reconciled, but the prophecies say that all will eventually be reconciled. It reminds me of the verse in Hebrews that says that all things have been subjected to Christ, but we do not yet see the all things in subjection. The war is won, the victory declared, but battles continue to be fought.
To take that imagery further, one could say that we are the ambassadors of the conquering King, bearing a message of peace and amnesty to the people, however, if they continue to resist the Lord’s rule, they will be liable to whatever punishment is fitting for their crimes.
you definitely captured the essence of how intriguing the word “reconcile” really is. As well as capturing my concerns too.
In fact, you’ve helped crystalize my concerns about the word: I’ve always kind of assumed that to be reconciled was an end in itself. But what I’m hearing you say is that to be reconciled is really nothing more than (hope this doesn’t make sound too simplistic) something like a first step. A first step to the next thing. And it seems perfect that the first step is the assurance that God holds nothing against us! Whether that happens in a “legal” realm or not (that idea might have more appeal to you than to me…) or in some other way (I’m not sure here) is perhaps less important than the fact that God has unilaterally taken the initiative to do whatever is needed to restore us.
For after all, why should the idea of “first steps” bother us at all? The text itself almost shouts that there really IS a sequence here: first reconciliation, then salvation… I’d always kind of assumed they were the same thing…
All very interesting to me…
Your words “those who are reconciled only…” really gripped me; and I’m trying to figure out why…
Maybe reconciliation is the fact that we are now in the grip and grasp of God, that there ARE no barriers now between us, yet the “steps” that come next somehow demand our active recruitment. (Which of course goes to the whole “is it MY works” debate)
And what a lovely way to approach the world in our own evangelism: we go forth into a world that has already been reconciled! (Is the fact of reconciliation then the "Good News?)
You know what Bob??? I need to back way up here. Please bear with me as I try to sort through my thoughts. I was making a distinction between those who are reconciled and those who are saved, and I really shouldn’t have. Oops…
Jesus does intend to save the world, not just the church (John 3:17, 4:42, 12:47, 1 Tim 2:3-4, Titus 2:11) – my bad.
However, I would like to hold on to the legal vs. relational aspects of our redemption which I had spoken of before. It really helps me to make more sense of Romans 5:10 which you referenced in your original post. Let me try this again…
A quick look at the Greek words often translated “reconciliation” seems to primarily indicate “a change or exchange.” Therefore, it perhaps refers to what God has “legally” already done for us in Christ. All humanity has received pardon from our inherited sin in Adam through Christ’s redemption alone. It is not in any way based on our own merits. Therefore universal reconciliation is already accomplished from God’s perspective, it is finished.
Salvation then might be the more relational piece, and is a sanctifying process that continues in all people until it is accomplished in fullness. Furthermore, the term “salvation” it seems, is linked with the confession that “Jesus is Lord,” and we know that God will work through both His mercy and judgment until we all have confessed his Lordship and are saved (Rom 10:9-13, Phil 2:9-11).
I’m sure I have majorly oversimplified things here, and I’m sure there truly is a lot of overlap Biblically between these two terms. Just thought I’d throw this out there, as we grapple with the whole notion of UR.
Man, I’m so tired at this point of the night… hope I’ve been relevant to this whole discussion in some way. (12:18am, my time.)
Which is of course a whole ‘nother idea maybe: that salvation necessarily follows reconciliation. I think that’s right, but need to do a lot of work to make those connections stick.
I must admit that your mention of “covenant” brings up something I don’t think I grasp very well. I wonder how well we moderns really understand what it meant to the ancients. My understanding is that in those long ago times it was customary for various parties to make “covenants” between themselves and the act of killing an animal, was, at least in part, a ceremonial and ritual way of saying something along the lines of: “let this be my fate should I fail to keep this covenant…” So, very symbolic and very serious.
However, as I see the whole Cross saga evolve it becomes increasingly clear to me that the problem with man is that he is UNable to keep his end of the bargain - or covenant. This is where all the talk of “we are all sinners” becomes central. God however, was, is, and always WILL be faithful to HIS covenant with US. Which is to say that it’s a given that WE will fail, it’s also just as certain that GOD will not! And how does God demonstrate HIS faithfulness to HIS covenant promise? By “offering” His very Son as “sacrifice”.
And yes, as you say, the only possible way of participating in this covenant is by faith. For it seems clear that our own “efforts” at satisfying the conditions necessary will always fail. Hence our desperate need; and hence our magnificent rescue by Jesus…
I think maybe this really hits the nail on the proverbial head (so-to-speak). Maybe one could say that reconciliation is the start of a journey whose path brings us, over time, to enjoying God forever; ie salvation. And it IS a process as you say; that seems to be what much of Romans 6-8 is talking about. We don’t just go from sinner to saint in one easy step, but we must engage the struggle every day as we let God’s sanctifying process heal and recreate us.
But here’s a problem I’ve had with what RECONCILIATION actually means… Col 1 seems to strongly indicate that this Cross event effects everything in the Universe. Even “things in heaven”. This suggests, and has been the position of my denomination, that the Cross somehow benefits even the beings of other planets, or, say, the angels. But if we hold (as I do) that these beings have NOT fallen to sin, yet still need (or at least benefit from) this reconciliation, what might that tell us about the word “reconciliation”???
Certainly these beings (again, IF they exist… we have other threads that have debated this idea!) don’t need to have their “sin problem” dealt with. Yet they seem to benefit from reconciliation! This all can be resolved, at least to my current satisfaction, by suggesting that reconciliation must involve something to do with demonstrating decisively, and for all time, the truths about God that may have been questioned. Reconciliation because from now on, there is simply NO possible excuse NOT to know precisely who God is (the ONE who brings Life; the ONE who renders death irrelevant, a fraud, and an impostor) and thus the rebellion/sin thing never will happen again.
Hi TV I don’t know whether this will answer your question or not, but a lady on another board asked a simalr question and here is my reply that I gave her.
For me the reason Jesus was sent and the reason Jesus sends us is to free people through Him from sin and death. Salvation is not complete just because one believes Jesus died for them. Believing is only the starting point on our journey toward full salvation, for we are reconciled by His death, but saved by His life.
All men everywhere are already reconciled by His death, this is a done deal because He died 2000 years ago for all men’s reconciliation and mans belief or unbelief CANNOT change this fact. If someone does not believe Jesus died for then simply does not change the fact that He did.
So then all men everywhere have already been reconciled, but not all men are yet saved from sin and death.
Therefore Jesus send us out in order to proclaim His salvation by His LIFE.
His death reconciled all men, but His LIFE is what saves all men, this salvation is not a one time deal as such, but is a long process of walking in His LIFE and forsaking our own. Taking up the cross and following Him and enduring unto the end that we might be saved.
Thus we are told to proclaim His death and therefore His reconciliation for all men as a FACT that cannot be disputed , and we are to do this so that the entire world can have the same hope in His LIFE that we to have. Thus it is not by His death that sin and death are defeated but by His LIFE.
When we witness about that which Jesus done, we are first to tell all men that they have been reconciled because of His death, this fact breathes hope into the world that God does indeed love them. Then after people become aware of the fact of this reconciliation by His death we are to proclaim His resurrection. And it is because of the fact that He was resurrected OUT OF DEATH that the world is given hope of the same resurrection OUT OF DEATH. We are NOT saved from death, we are saved OUT OF DEATH, for it was while we were DEAD in sin that He died and was raised to life again for us.
So the resurrection is a moving from DEATH to LIFE, so as He died for all men, so to did He rise for all men, and this is the gospel of the good new toward ALL MEN EVERYWHERE.
If one believes Jesus died for all men, should it not go without saying that when He rose again that it was for all men also? Can we really separate His death from His resurrection? If so, how then can DEATH be swallowed up of LIFE?
I agree with much of your post, including this bit:
I used to think we were being saved from eternity in Hell, which I believed was the consequence of sin–and in a way I stilll agree with that, but not in the same way as I formerly did. If we continue in sin, we remain locked in death and Hell–we would have no hope, but for the love of God. As Paul puts it, “Who shall separate me from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!!”
I have some disagreement, however, with this next paragraph:
If all men everywhere have already been reconciled, why would Paul say we are as ambassadors for Christ pleading with people to “be reconciled”? My view is that when Paul says in past tense that we were reconciled, that he is speaking to those who have* chosen* to be reconciled to God. Paul goes on to say that having been reconciled we shall be saved by his life.
So I would put it like this: When we ‘accept Christ’, we are accepting the proffered reconciliation with God–we are acknowledging our sin and need for redemption. Then we begin to be saved by his life.
When the scriptures speak as if all people are reconciled, it is because it is as good as done–but I don’t think it is actually done until all acknowledge that reconciliation. Just as the declaration of God’s victory over Satan is as good as done. We proclaim it, though we do not yet see the fulfillment of it. The angels who announced the birth of the Christ also proclaimed “Peace on earth”, though we do not yet see it fulfilled, we know it is surely coming!
Just as our salvation is a process, as you rightly say (though the scriptures say we who believe ‘have been saved’), the reconciliation of the all things is also a process, of which the church herself is the beginning. As long as we remain capable of sin, the process of our salvation is incomplete, likewise, as long as unsubjected enemies remain, the process of reconciliation is not complete.
And I would also say that we who have been reconciled are also able to become enemies again, as Paul says in Col 1:
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—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard…
Where do you see this in scripture? I see Paul preaching to “Be reconciled!” not “You have been reconciled”. I do not think we can preach to people that they ‘have been’ reconciled, if they are not. I believe we are to proclaim His death–that is the proof of God’s love, the peace offering, the motivator to sinners to be reconciled, and we proclaim his resurrection–that is the hope we have for life.
I agree with you that Christ’s death and resurrection are inseparable teachings:
I am not Pneuma, but I would like to repond to your post to him…
I think “pleading” is somewhat exaggerating to what is said in – 2 Cor 5:20 – actually the word you perceive as PLEAD which is #3870 Parakaleo] translated “BESEECH” in the KJV… carries several meanings, some of which are — “to call near”, “invite”, “call for (be of good) comfort”, “pray”, “desire”, as well as IMPLORE…
When I witness CHRIST, I do not think it necessary to “PLEAD” to others… rather to afford them the TRUTH that CHRIST in His GREAT LOVE for them, has died and risen on their behalf… informing them of His great LOVE for them in doing so, …not conveying that some HORROR awaits them if they don’t give ear to my speech.
The biggest problem with the message of the Church is that it is TWO FACED! They come to an unbeliever, and say: “GOD LOVES you with a LOVE that you cannot even comprehend” then the …“IF”… appears – immediately attaching conditions which are set in the hand of the UNBELIEVER “listening” to decide… and if they “decide” incorrectly… then a FIRE which shall last FOREVER, awaits them in the stead of that “great love”…
There is no Biblical basis for “accepting CHRIST”… Nor that we are “proffered” reconciliation with God. This is DONE, as is noted in – Col 1:20-21
It sounds to me like you are saying that we are essentially “saving ourselves” then?
It is “DONE” upon OUR APPROVAL? ** Eph 2:8-9** says that the entire process is OF GOD, not us… even the FAITH required to BELIEVE must be AUTHORED by CHRIST – Heb 12:2 – which comes AFTER we have been DRAGGED to Him – John 6:44 – and once HE has chosen to REVEAL God to us – Matt 11:27
FINITE manifestations are not required in order that the ETERNAL “BE”… If we view the state of mankind according to our FINITE observations, we shall see an UNFINISHED work… Which is NOT what we are to be doing on behalf of CHRIST… We are to be PROCLAIMING a FINISHED work in the SPIRIT, which is ETERNAL in state and nature. Not a WEAKENED and UNFINISHED work percieved by and in the FLESH.
If we do as you suggest, then we are attempting to bring an Majestic, miraculously POWERFUL, and ETERNAL message, inhibited by a FINITE, unimpowered perception of it. The church tells the World that GOD so loves, that they as SINNERS must ACCEPT the HOLY in order that this process be COMPLETE! This is, IMO …cart before the horse.
Those who teach that reconciliation is done by the recipient, are removing the power and glory from the source of it. We are told in Eph 2:10 that those who actually HEAR this message, are foreordained to HEAR it…
I can well see how you might get your understanding, however… it is CHRIST who “keeps” those on the pathway of TRUTH, they do NOT do this of themselves – Jude 24 – Only those chosen according to ELECTION, can and will remain upon the pathway.
Those who do not ever set FOOT upon the pathway of TRUTH, cannot be removed from it. If we are teaching that GOD shall torment MEN, then we are NOT teaching PEACE… for which the GOSPEL has been named – Eph 6:15 – Rom 10:15 – If PEACE is absent from our preaching, then the TRUTH of the GOSPEL (which is PEACE) is absent as well…
Col 1:20-21 – Speaks from a FINISHED platform… We are all walking in the finite steps of TIME, but the RECONCILATION and SALVATION of God are not inhibited by our steps, nor by the clock of time.
These are according to His DIRECTING and FOREORDINATION… Those which shall “be reconciled” are they which are called to note the GOSPEL of GOD’s PEACE, LIGHT and LOVE… in a world permeated by TURMOIL, DARKNESS, and HATEFUL INDIFFERENCE.
It is your business what you preach SLJ… but in being ambassadors of the GOSPEL of PEACE… we are to be bringing that ETERNAL (completed) message to all that live upon the earth as God enables us to do so…
Thank you for your detailed reply. I’ll insert a few comments below–I’m not sure how to simplify this, so I’ll see if I can get the formatting right, LOL.
First off, I’m not sure why you object to ‘plead’. Here’s some definitions to compare (taken from thefreedictionary.com):
To appeal earnestly; beg: plead for more time.
To offer reasons for or against something; argue earnestly: plead against a bill.
To provide an argument or appeal: Your youth pleads for you in this instance.
I’m not sure how that answers my quest
To address an earnest or urgent request to; implore: beseech them for help.
To request earnestly; beg for: beseech help. See Synonyms at beg.
To appeal to in supplication; beseech: implored the tribunal to have mercy.
To beg for urgently; entreat.
All three of those words are used by different translations for the Greek “deomai”, and frankly, I don’t see a whole lot of difference between them.
Secondly, I’m not sure how your reply answers my question. I’ll restate it again in slightly different words:
If all men everywhere have already been reconciled, why would Paul say we are as ambassadors for Christ imploring people to “be reconciled”?
No, not saying we save ourselves–just that the enemies of God cannot meaningfully be called ‘reconciled’ to Him, except in a prophetic sense. God is doing the reconciling towards his enemies, only the reconciliation is not complete until all the enemies are actually reconciled, and can no longer be called enemies. That’s the reason we ‘implore’ people on behalf of God to be reconciled to him. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation. If all are already reconciled, there would no longer be any service to carry out for that purpose.
Or to put in the terms you use above: Since the process of DRAGGING all people to Christ and AUTHORING in them the FAITH required to BELIEVE is still continuing, and HE has not yet chosen to REVEAL God to all people, we cannot yet consider the RECONCILIATION of all people to be COMPLETE.
Christ said the harvest is ripe, and that we should beseech the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the field. It seems you would tell him not to bother, it’s already in the barn! (C’mon Jesus, you need to have an ETERNAL perspective!)
We are in a state of finiteness, and what we see is unfinished, but we have faith that it will be finished. It makes no sense in our finite realm to proclaim, “The enemies of God are now his friends.” That they will be, I do not question.
Again, as I said above, I do not say the reconciliation is done by us–it is initiated and accomplished by God, but must be participated in by us.
God has no need to ‘be reconciled’ to us–He loves us–we are the ones who ‘separate’ ourselves to go our own way apart from Him. He is the one enacting the reconcilitaion, and asking, or inviting, or imploring–or whichever word you like better–us to be reconciled to Him.
To ‘be reconciled’ to another is an action we must take, as we see in these examples:
Matt 5:23-24 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
1 Cor 7:10-11 …the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband)…
…And before you start again, this is not the same as ‘earning’ our own salvation because although we must ‘work out our salvation’ yet that is only possible by the Spirit of God working in us. He DRAGS us–as you like to put it, but we also “COME to the waters to drink without cost,” and “incline” our ears, and “seek” the Lord while he may be found, and “return” to the Lord that he may have compassion on us. (Is 55)
If a horse and rider win a jumping competition, the credit goes to the rider. Though it was the horse who cleared the fences (and shares in the praise) it is the rider’s accomplishment. The horse gallops and jumps, but the rider directs his path, sets his takeoff points, balances his landings, controls his turns, regulates his stride length, sets his pace. The horse’s obedience is his rider’s accomplishment, though the horse participates. The horse’s physical condition is the rider’s accomplishment, though the horse participates. Does the horse have a choice? The horse’s love for his rider and willingness to do his will is also the rider’s accomplishment–and shows that the rider is worthy of it.
I’ve loved Ps 23 since I was a child, and always marvelled at that line “He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake…” Wow, what comfort that is–not because we are worthy, but because He is!
In chapter 2 of Colossians, Paul continues: “…and this I say, that no one may beguile you in enticing words, … as, then, ye did receive Christ Jesus the Lord, in him walk ye … See that no one shall be carrying you away as spoil through the philosophy and vain deceit …”
If it was not possible for them to leave the path, why did Paul find it necessary to urge them to continue to walk in Christ, and warn them to not be led astray? He may lead, but we must follow–and if we stray the good Shepherd searches till He finds, and carries home the lost one on his own shoulders.
Likewise, it is your business what you preach, Willie!! I’ll preach with Paul, if you don’t mind, “God loves you, and Christ died for you to prove it! Therefore, be reconciled to God!”
Hi SLJ, thanks for the reply.
I will only touch on the part of reconciliation, as that seems to be the area of disagreement.
You stated this
Paul states in Ro.5:10 that we were reconciled when we were enemies by the death of His Son.
If one must chose to be reconciled before they are reconciled then they would not be enemies of the cross. Christ does not have to die every time someone chooses to accept Him, which is what is implied if the reconciliation is only after one chooses to accept the reconciliation.
Paul is pretty plain about the reconciliation being while we were enemies.
Were Paul say (pay close attention to the wording here SLJ, I’ll put in caps the too emphasis the point I am trying to show) in
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
This all matches up with Ro.5:10, that is was by His death that while we were enemies that God reconciled US TO HIMSELF, and given us this ministry of reconciliation.
Then Paul goes on to say
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
BE YE RECONCILED TO GOD.
God has already reconciled every man to Himself, but not every man is reconciled to God.
In other words, God is reconciled to man, but man is not reconciled to God.
God’s part towards man was done 2000 years ago, but man’s part towards God is not yet done
Paul states that we are to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is the reconciliation of OUR MINDS to the fact of what God has ALREADY done for us through Christ. That is what the ministry of reconciliation is all about, that God has reconciled all men everywhere to Himself and man’s mind is to be reconciled to what God has done, therefore be ye RECONCILED TO GOD.
Your welcome… And thank you for your detailed reply… I will break up my response to it, into parts, in the interest of brevity…
I do not object to definitions of english words… If you re-read what I said above… it is the TRANLATION of #G3870 – Parakeleo – that I believe to be improperly noted as “beseeched”, “plead” or “implore” – this word carries (as I noted) the meanings of “invite, call for, desire,”… which I believe are more appropriate translation in the verse.
“Deomai” is NOT the word translated in 2 Cor 5:20 as “beseech”… as I have noted this word is PARAKELEO…
You are zeroing in on the word translated “pray” which is “deomai”… again, it CAN mean beseech… but also means "PETITION or “MAKE REQUEST”… which better suits the context. For the prior notations in vs 18 & 19, note that GOD is not holding trespasses against the WORLD in RECONCILING it to Himself…
Actually, because of the principle of SOWING and REAPING… much is gained and much avoided, by ones coinciding with the standards of the holiness of YHVH for GOD is not mocked by us… we shall (even if we enter into ministry)… recieve corruption for corruption sown… which is WHY the Apostles all suffered greatly during their lifetimes…
Paul, though he was a wonderful and completely dedicated minister, spent much time MURDERING the Children… and suffered later accordingly for those indescretions – 2 Cor 11:24-26
Why would you think this suffering was due him? …Or due you? …Or I?
Part of the process of PERFECTION, involves suffering – Heb 2:10 – and in following the steps of JESUS do we all enter into suffering as part of our journey to that PERFECTION…
And I shall answer you again… He is NOT “imploring or pleading”, He is “inviting, or calling for” them to hear him…
Those given the ears to hear the “invitation” shall hear it…
In “hearing” shall they come to KNOW of their “reconciliation”… which is already in “place”… as is noted in – Col 1:20 – if they do not “hear”, then the moment in which this call is made, is not the moment of their “testimony” – 1 Tim 2:6 – which comes in DUE TIME, for ALL…
Many of those who are now believers… had opportunities prior, but did not “hear” the call at that time, for GOD had not declared they should yet HEAR… their time was to be later in their life…
This “deferring” of “hearing” is oftentimes “THAT” upon which, TESTIMONY is founded… Many come OUT of DARKNESS with their own TESTIMONY of an involvement WITH darkness that speaks STRONGLY of their own personal DELIVERANCE from it… If we were to “hear” prior to our “moment”, …then no TESTIMONY of “deliverance” within DELIVERANCE, which GOD intends, would be manifest…
The WORD does not state this in the manner you just did… GOD does not “wait” for us to do this or that… the END is already DECLARED, all the way to the BEGINNING… In ETERNAL terms… it is DONE… whether you recognize it or not.
You are gaging GOD by the use of YOUR parameters instead of using HIS upon yourself… We are already reconciled, but finites must move through their experience IN the FINITE, in order to avail it in their own FINITE experience, within the LIVING KNOWLEDGE of GOOD and EVIL… Concerning the KNOWLEDGE… it is ETERNALLY known, and already done, to the detail… end to beginning… You are welcome to your observation… I see it as coming from finite eyes…
Please remove me, from “we”, SLJ… That is YOUR conclusion, not mine…
That is NOT what I said… NOR is it what I believe… That we are processing as FINITES does not mean that the ETERNAL is encumbered by our procession. GOD sees the entire experience of Humanity from an ETERNAL position, which encompasses its complete manifestation. That you and I are “going through it” riding the moments of the clock, does not preclude it as DONE…
FIRST — I do not claim that I must not step through the journey… I just say that I look upon it as COMPLETE, even though I must live through the moments… I have GOD’s VISION of me, …not mine. My own vision of me, CONDEMNS me, and lives with LOSS and cancer… His vision of me, is that I AM HEALED, and that ALL that I have LOST is mine forever, and that NO CONDEMNATION is made of me, for I am HIS CHILD…
As long as you remain, finitely observing the ETERNAL… you shall not gain the PEACE of the GOSPEL – Eph 6:15 – Rom 10:15 – which is contained within it, and which notes it as DONE… not as INCOMPLETE, rather “sees” the work of GOD, as COMPLETE and within that completeness is the ETERNAL PEACE of His message.
SECOND — That I must continue to fulfill the steps of my life that HE already — (1) KNOWS because — (2) it IS COMPLETE before Him… is my tie to this finite realm… which He intends that I must have… It is obvious you do not see this, nor hear this now, so any further words dedicated to its explanation will likely fall as unseen and unheard…
God tells me to PRAY, so I do as He says, even though I already KNOW that whatever I ask for is already decided… and recognize that it is His intention concerning my prayer — NOT to manipulate Him, nor “get what I want” …rather the benefit IN PRAYER, is the TRUST and OBEDIENCE that I have opportunity to EXPERIENCE by praying, and is in fact the TRUE reason FOR prayer.
THIRD — That GOD has separated His ETERNAL realm from the one in which we reside (as far as observation and experience), means that He intends upon us “harvesting”, even though it is already DONE… which is for OUR benefit… as we have opportunity to actively LIVE by FAITH, not by SIGHT… so I do not “tell Him” anything (such as you suggest – “not to bother”)…
I must experience what He has ordained that I experience, and IN that EXPERIENCE learn to be responsive to HIM, …not selfishly expect HIM to be responsive to ME…
As long as we worry ourselves with completing that which we percieve is UNDONE… we shall not enjoy HIS PEACE…
You are welcome to your observation… As far as I am concerned, …FAITH notes that what GOD WILLS is already done… and IS the SUBSTANCE of that COMPLETENESS…
FIRST — We do not “go our own way”… we do not even KNOW what our “way” is!! – Jer 10:23 – Prov 20:24 – It is GOD which concludes us in UNBELIEF – Rom 11:32 – and it is GOD which in doing so, sends us into the captivity that the UNBELIEF produces – Rom 9:21-23 – and it is GOD which rescues us from where HE sent us – Jer 29:14
SECOND — The reconciliation that one enjoins to others in the GOSPEL is the recognition and FAITH in the PROMISES, which are KNOWN in such a way as “WRITTEN in STONE” (the WORD)… and in the PEACE of those “IN STONE PROMISES”… that we can rest from anxiety which removes PEACE from us…
Men are not “reconciled” to God as a matter which THEY must accomplish, …rather it a matter of being IGNORANT and VEILED of that reconciliation which already IS accomplished…
If CHRIST was admittedly unable to “do” anything OF HIMSELF… what makes you or I think we are “ABLE”? – John 5:19
In saying this Sonia, …you are singing to the choir…
Did the HORSE choose to jump, or even to participate? Or was it the WILL of the RIDER that the HORSE participate?
Did the HORSE choose the “way” in which he would run, or did the HORSE choose the obstacles must be jumped? Or indeed was it the RIDER which made these “choices”?
I have not stated that we are not “participants”… On the contrary… I would be delusional to make such a statement. What I HAVE noted is that — “us horse’s” are here participating according to the choosing of the RIDER [GOD] and the WAY in which we are “going” is NOT determined by us “horse’s”… but by the RIDER [GOD]…
Adversity if possible will try to entice even the very elect… JESUS Himself was tempted by it. Truth be that the Scriptures note “IF it were possible” the very ELECT would be decieved – Matt 24:24 – which also implies that it is NOT possible… For CHRIST is able to “KEEP” from “falling” (to deception) those chosen in this realm – Jude 24
We only “follow” due to His WORKING IN us… Of ourselves, our hearts are DECIETFUL above all things – Jer 17:9 – Only when we lay ourselves down – Rom 12:1 – Gal 2:20 – and the WORD leads, does the “following” have any substance at all…
The “following” is not what is seen by YHVH as good, it is the submission (denial of self) …to the LEADING that He approves…
Concerning CHRIST, …only the LEADING shall get credit or glory… the “following” is just a GIFTING of the LEADING…
I’m not sure if we really have much in the way of essential disagreements, but anyway, here’s my response:
What I believe in no way implies that Christ has to die again after each individual decides to return to God. Perhaps I’m not communicating my views very clearly.
Let me try again: God took action to reconcile us while we were all his enemies. That action was Jesus’ coming to us to reveal the Father, and his death as a sin/peace offering on our behalf. That offering was once for all, and as I literally believe what Jesus prophecied (“If I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself”), I also believe it’s result will be the reconciliation of all men.
My dispute is that I cannot see preaching that the individual** is reconciled** until he actually is reconciled–that is, he has ceased to be an enemy of God. I’m not saying one stops being an enemy, and then is able to be reconciled, but that ‘reconciliation’ is itself the act of changing from an enemy to a friend. While we were His enemies, God gave us an offering of peace, which is to all men.
I can’t see preaching to people that they ‘have been reconciled’–rather, ‘be reconciled’ seems more appropriate.
I’ll break in to note here that ‘us’ is not a general reference to all mankind, but to those who have, as Paul says in Rom 5:11, “received the reconciliation.”
I sort of agree with that, only I’d state it a little differently–I’d say God has taken the action that will certainly result in the reconciling of every man to Himself, but as you say, ‘not every man is reconciled to God’ yet.
The end of the work is declared, even as it is yet in progress. As it says here:
Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’.
…and now here you’ve changed things around to say God is reconciled to man, whereas the scripture says that it is man that needs to be reconciled. The breech is not on God’s part, but on the part of rebel man. God has done no wrong, He does not need to make any change. It is we who need to change–reconcile-- to line up with Him. God has commended his great love to us by the peace offering of Christ. Will the rebel son continue to wallow in the pigsty, or will he come with his elder brother to return to the Father? It is the rebel who must be reconciled, not the Father, and with the elder brother come to show Father’s love and good will, the rebel will indeed return.
I don’t know that I would quite agree with how you phrase it … Christ’s death was accomplished, but I don’t think that has ended God’s work on man’s behalf … can it be called ‘done’ before the Shepherd brings home every stray? And we who believe share also in this work–Paul even going so far as to say in Colossians, of himself: “in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”
I don’t see it as a call to be reconciled to what God has done–rather as a call to be reconciled to God Himself–that is a call to fellowship. I don’t know if you mean it this way, but your words give me the impression of reconciliation as a need to be resigned to something that God chose to do.