By Raymond E. Harris
An instance of reconciliation always brings joy to the heart of the godly. The terms “reconcile,” “reconciled,” seed of “reconciliation” and “reconciling” are found a total of 13 times in the New Testament. The passages speak of four areas of reconciliation.
Brother To Brother
In Matthew 5:24, Jesus explained that it was futile to attempt to worship God if we were at enmity with a brother, Hence, he stresses the importance of being reconciled immediately. If there arises dissension between two brethren, both have a responsibility, and should desire, to achieve reconciliation at the earliest moment. In the passage mentioned above Jesus is simply saying, they must “make up.” There had been mutual hostility. Now there must be concession on the part of each, that they might be reconciled and at peace again.
It should be noted that this is the only passage in the New Testament using a term denoting mutual hostility and mutual concession. In every other passage dealing with reconciliation, a term is used denoting one-sided hostility, demanding one-sided change. In other words, in such a dispute the innocent party has nothing to repent of and need not make concessions. Only the guilty has to adjust his course of action!
Wife To Husband
In 1 Corinthians 7:11, Paul explains that a woman who departs from her husband (when he has not committed adultery) has but two choices. She must remain unmarried or “be reconciled” to her husband. The word “reconciled” in that passage is used as a verb denoting action. The very nature of the term here indicates that the woman having departed, must make the concession or adjustment and come back.
Jew And Gentile
In Ephesians 2, Paul explains that by abolishing the law of Moses, the wall between the Jews and the Gentiles had been broken down. Hence, for the first time in 1,500 years, there could be a reconciliation between the seed of Abraham and other people. In Ephesians 2:16, we learn that this reconciliation was made possible by the cross of Christ. As Jews and Gentiles obeyed the gospel and were baptized into Christ, they adjusted their lives, came into fellowship with God and so in the one body, the church, they had fellowship one with another.
Man To God
Even though we are pleased to see brethren, marriage partners and nations reconciled, it is infinitely more important to see people reconciled to God. The person who has never been a Christian, and unfaithful church members, need to be reconciled to God. Until our sins are removed, we are separated from God. In Isaiah 59:2, the prophet explains, “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” We remind you that God has never sinned against man. God has never separated himself and left man. No, God is not at fault. The problem is always with man. Man sins, he departs, he alienates himself from his Creator, the loving heavenly Father. It is not up to God to make concessions to bring about a reconciliation.
However, the Bible makes it plain that our heavenly Parent so desired a reconciliation that he went to great lengths to work out a system whereby peace could be restored and there could be an honorable reconciliation. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, the apostle Paul wrote, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us (Christians R.E.H.) to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given us the ministry of reconciliation; 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. 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.” Yes, dear friend, God so wants you to be reconciled! He allowed Jesus to die in your stead. He has given mankind the gospel and the church. God has done his part – won’t you do yours?
If you have never been a Christian, believe in God and Jesus (Heb. 11:6), repent or turn from your sins (Acts 17:30), confess that Jesus is the Son of God (Matt. 10:32), and be baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). These are God’s terms of reconciliation for you. God loves you! He calls you in this way! Won’t you come?
If you are a child of God, but have become unfaithful, and drifted back into the world, God also wants you to be reconciled. How is this effected? You must consider the goodness of God, be sorry for past sins, and truly repent of them (Acts 8;22). You must confess your sins to God and to your brethren, and pray earnestly for God’s forgiveness (Jas. 5:16; 1 Jn. 1:9).
Brethren and friends, life is short and judgment is certain – “Be ye reconciled to God.”
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 18, p. 559
September 17, 1987