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Bible verses about Reconciliation
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Before there can be at-one-ment, or unity, there must first be reconciliation. Before reconciliation, there must be repentance. And before repentance, there must be something else—belief! Our belief must be strong enough and with sufficient understanding that it does not just drive us to our knees to save our skin, but also compels us to make the sacrifices necessary to change our conduct.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Separation and At-One-Ment


 

Christ's sinless sacrifice resulted in reconciliation with God. His sacrifice enabled God to justify us, that is, to consider us sinless in a legal sense. We were still sinful, but because we accepted Christ's sacrifice, His blood covered us. Thus, under His righteousness, we are allowed now to have access to God. Having access, we can be forgiven by God and made clean. Because of that, we have the opportunity now to have eternal life, and we are saved, then, by His life being lived in us.

So do we see what reconciliation produced? It did not produce just justification. Reconciliation produces life. If we follow this thought through, reconciliation becomes more than just bringing us back to equal footing. It enables us to go on—to perfection, let's say. We can go on to the type of life that God lives.

If we are not reconciled with God, then we have stalled our salvation process, which is not good. We never want to do this but to be always moving forward. Reconciliation thus becomes very important in the spiritual sense of our eternal salvation. We see here a principle that when we become reconciled, we can then move on in life—and, in a spiritual sense, towards eternal life. This works in principle in the same way in our personal problems with others.

We have gone from being enemies, hostile to God, to being children of God—and, thus, able to be saved through Christ living in us. As Paul says in verse 11, that should bring us great joy. Joy is another result—another fruit—of reconciliation. We are no longer under the burdensome cloud of being at odds with another. When reconciliation occurs, it is a relief to be able to breathe clearly and without stress, unlike when the relationship was antagonistic.


 

Leviticus 22:18-25  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Some claim that, since these specific instructions are given in reference to animals offered to God, the principle of giving one's best to the Master does not apply to vegetable or grain offerings! Does that mean we may give God any old vegetation we happen to have lying around? As living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2), are we free to give God any old thing, and He must accept it or else? Does He not deserve the best we have?

A holy people must give holy offerings! A holy offering is one given according to the details that God lays down. Jesus gives a practical application of this principle in Matthew 5:23-24: "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

He is essentially saying, "First things first." If a reconciliation does not take place, God has no obligation to accept the offering. It has been made based on a corrupt relationship with a brother, making the offering unacceptable. Likewise, God has no obligation to accept a defective, corrupted animal or unqualified grain offered before Him.

Furthermore, the principle of holiness comes to the fore in an additional way, for God plainly stipulates in Leviticus 22:25 that nothing is to be offered to Him from a foreigner's hand because the foreigner's corruption is in them. The uncleanness from the foreigner's idolatries is in the thing offered. The foreigner is not a holy, sanctified, or set-apart person.

In the case of Joshua 5:10-11, the Israelites clearly would have had to offer produce from the foreigner's hand—if they offered anything, which they did not—because that was all they would have had to offer. Having just come from the wilderness, they had no harvest of a crop they had sown, as Exodus 23:16 demands.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Pentecost Revisited (Part Two): Joshua 5


 

Leviticus 23:26-32  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

To put it even more succinctly, on the Day of Atonement, we are not to eat, drink, or work at all for the entire twenty-four-hour period. It is a day of worship, instruction, prayer, and humbling ourselves before God in thanks for His marvelous work in atoning for all sin and in bringing mankind into unity with Him (see Leviticus 16:29-34; Isaiah 58:1-12; Revelation 20:1-3).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
How Do We Keep God's Festivals?


 

1 Samuel 29:1-7  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In verse 4, the word "reconcile" is ratsah, meaning "to be pleased with, to accept, to favor, to satisfy." The Philistine princes themselves specified what David would have to do to be acceptable to Saul, to regain his favor: He would have to change sides in the middle of the battle. Once he did that, he and his men could slay a large number of the Philistines in a kind of sacrifice to Saul—to show Saul that he, David, was on his side and therefore should be accepted.

So, David would have to make a sacrifice. He would 1) have to turn traitor, 2) have to slay a lot of Philistines, and 3) have to put his own life on the line. In reality, if he would have done this, he would have made himself unacceptable to either side! He would have sacrificed just about everything. This was one reconciliation that David did not want to do! Even though he argued a little bit with Achish to reinforce his cover, saying, "I don't want to return. I want to stay here with you," he and his men went back to the land of the Philistines and did not fight in that battle.

Even in a case like this, some sort of sacrifice would have to made to bring about reconciliation. Sometimes the sacrifice that is made has consequences itself. We have to make sure that the sacrifice that we make to reconcile with another will not put us into deeper water with God. So when we consider reconciliation, we must think deeply about it; it is not something we should do carelessly or automatically. We must really take the matter to heart to understand fully what we are doing. We have to try to predict what will happen as a result, so that it does not cause greater problems down the road. Reconciliation is not an easy subject and often not easy to do.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Cost of Reconciliation


 

Isaiah 1:11-15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The separation is not real in the sense of distance. It exists because these people who are bearing God's name—they are His people, having covenanted with Him—have offended Him through acts of disloyalty in their breaking of His commands, and as far as He is concerned the covenant is broken. This separation therefore has to be rectified.

Thus, He can hear, but He will not hear because His mind is made up. Men are giving no indication that, even though they are practicing aspects of His way, they want to be reconciled. Does it not seem logical that, if they really wanted to be reconciled, they would submit to Him? that they would be obedient to Him? that they would come to Him in an attitude of humility, seeking forgiveness?

There is no indication of that in either case where the separation is directly addressed. They are not upholding their end of the covenant.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Azazel Goat


 

Isaiah 53:10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Isaiah 53 presents an entire chapter about the Lord's Servant sacrificing Himself. Notice verse 10: "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand."

The word "pleased" does not mean that God's mind was merely inclined in that direction. Rather, it carries as a strong undercurrent of a sense of satisfaction, even pleasure and delight. Why would one have a sense like this in relation to an excruciating and painful experience such as Christ experienced in His crucifixion? Because God foresaw the overwhelming good that it would produce.

Recall that the peace offering shows us that God is satisfied because man is in communion with Him. A man is satisfied because he knows he is accepted by God, that he is in fellowship with and sharing with Him. The Priest, Christ, is satisfied because, as the common friend of formerly estranged parties, He is happy to see them sharing due to His work. Each party encompassed by the peace offering is at peace with the others.

On the eve of His crucifixion, as He takes them through the New Testament Passover service, Jesus tells His apostles, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15). He is certainly not looking forward to the pain of sacrificing His life but to what would be accomplished as a result of His sacrifice. It would be the major means of producing peace between God and man. He knows His sacrifice would make possible a Family born of God.

God repeatedly shows that, whether in a family, business, nation, or in any aspect of God's creation, peace is a major fruit of sacrifice. Most specifically, for us it means sacrificing ourselves in keeping God's commandments and fighting human nature, holding it in check. It means being a living sacrifice by not conforming to this world or yielding to the base demands of human nature. The peace offering reveals the consequence of truly loving one another: Sacrifice is the very essence of love!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Five): The Peace Offering, Sacrifice, and Love


 

Isaiah 59:1-2  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These verses clearly show why reconciliation is necessary. Iniquity (lawlessness, sin) produces the opposite of reconciliation; it separates and builds barriers. Furthermore, it is not that God cannot hear—He simply will not answer. It appears He has gone far off, but in actuality, the sinner has drifted away.

Apparently, the people had prayed for relief, expecting God to answer. His reply was hardly what they wanted to hear! They wanted harmony imposed without having to change their lifestyles. God's reply shows them to be rebelling against His law from the top of society to the bottom. He tells them that reconciliation is not a one-sided act with God doing everything to make it possible.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Separation and At-One-Ment


 

Isaiah 59:1-2  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Sin or iniquity or lawlessness, however we want to read it, is what has caused the need for atonement or reconciliation. Iniquity, sin, and lawlessness produce the opposite of atonement. They produce separation, not coming together. Sin separates and builds barriers between us and God and between us and other people.

He says that He will not hear. We have to understand this. It is not that He cannot hear, but because of sin, He will not hear. God does not sin, so if there is a separation between a man and God—between us and God—then it is because we have done something. We are the ones who are drifting away. However, to the human being, it seems as though God has gone far away, when He has not moved at all.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Reconciliation and the Day of Atonement


 

Matthew 5:9  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Most of us are not at all adept at reconciling warring parties, but that is not the kind of peacemaking Jesus is concerned about for us now. His idea of peacemaking revolves around the way we live. It was Adam and Eve's conduct that shattered the peace between man and God. Cain's conduct broke the peace between him and Abel and him and God. As it is with all of us, conduct makes or breaks the peace!

As mentioned earlier, Paul commands us, "As much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18), an arduous task at times, considering human personalities. The thrust of Paul's exhortation implies that, far from being a simple task, complying with it will call upon our constant vigilance, self-control, and earnest prayer.

Though human nature guarantees that peace-breaking "offenses must come," it is part of Christian duty to ensure that our conduct produces no just cause of complaint against us (Matthew 18:7). It is first for our own peace that we do so, for it is impossible to be happy while involved in arguments and warfare. Some Christians are more competitive and contentious than others, and they need to beg God doubly for the spiritual strength to restrain their pride and anger and to calm them. Paul warns, "'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26). Though pride may be at the base of contention, rising anger within one or the other person in a dispute is frequently the first sign that the peace is about to be broken. Paul's warning is necessary because anger is so difficult to check and equally difficult to let go completely before the peace is broken, and bitter and persistent hatred soon replaces the anger.

Paul quotes the first phrase of this verse from Psalm 4:4, then modifies the second phrase to give it a more immediate and practical application. "Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord" (Psalm 4:4-5). This is exactly the course Jesus follows when taunted and vilified by those whose ire He had aroused. Notice Peter's testimony:

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. (I Peter 2:21-23)

If we follow Christ's example, the one reviling or threatening soon finds himself without an opponent. God, then, advises us to be passive in the face of contention. In the Kingdom, however, we will likely be a great deal more proactive, just as Christ is now as our High Priest. He will be even more active when He comes as King of kings to fight against the nations and establish His peace.

Since it is true that "blessed are the peacemakers," it logically follows that God curses peace-breakers, a fact all who desire to be peacemakers must keep in mind. Contention produces the curse of disunity. When Adam and Eve sinned, both unity and peace were shattered, and God sentenced them to death. Regardless of the justification, it is impossible for sin to produce either godly peace or unity. It is therefore urgent that we be diligent not merely to guard against the more obvious forms of sin but also bigotry, intemperate zeal, judging, impatience, and a quarrelsome spirit, which provide a basis for Paul's counsel in Romans 14:19.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Matthew 5:23-24  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only place where "reconciled" is used in Scripture. It just means to have peace with one's brother. God wants us to have peace with one another. We should not attempt to bring our offerings before God when at odds with our brethren.

We do not bring physical offerings today, like burnt offerings. However, we do bring Him prayers. Before we come to Him with our prayers, beseeching His good will, we should make amends with our offended brothers. Go to the estranged friend and settle the matter.

The very essence of God is love. He epitomizes outgoing concern for others; this is what love is all about. Thus, we have to make changes in our lives to conform to God's standard so that our prayers will be fully accepted by Him. God expects us to reflect His love in everything we do. And He wants peace.

John O. Reid
Don't Take God for Granted


 

Matthew 5:40  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Certainly, no one likes to be sued. It is a time-wasting, frustrating, chaotic legal mess. It is often a huge disruption of normal life, and for a Christian, a terrible distraction from our spiritual priorities. Our Savior advises us to nip the suit in the bud by taking the loss—and even adding a premium to it if it will settle matters before they get out of hand!

In I Corinthians 6, the apostle Paul faced a situation in which members of the church in Corinth were being taken to court by other members. He writes in verse 7, "Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?" Neither Jesus nor Paul means that a Christian should not use the law properly, but they are more interested in the right attitude in these matters. Many people take advantage of the legal system in a greedy, injurious manner, and Christians should not respond in kind. If confronted by such a person, it is usually better to suffer the loss of one's "shirt" than to fight back.

In Christ's example, He speaks of tunics and cloaks. The Jews of His day wore two principle garments, an interior "coat" or "tunic" (an undergarment), and a more costly exterior cloak (outer garment). This cloak was used, not only as a jacket or overcoat during the day, but also as a covering to sleep under at night. By Mosaic law, the outer cloak was an inalienable possession that could not be withheld from a debtor overnight (Exodus 22:26-27; Deuteronomy 24:12-13). Jesus is saying that, if we are sued even for a trifling amount, rather than countersuing and ratcheting up the hostility, we should be willing to give up what is rightfully ours to defuse the situation.

John O. Reid
Go the Extra Mile


 

Matthew 8:3  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Knowing the gruesome details of leprosy, one can easily imagine the crowd hastily parting as this man worked his way toward Jesus. Yet, He, in contrast, reaches out to touch the leper, signaling His willingness and power to heal. In Exodus 15:25-26, God reveals Himself as Yahweh Ropheka, or "the Eternal-Who-Heals," at the incident at Marah. Nathan Stone writes in his book, Names of God, that this name means "to restore, to heal, to cure . . . not only in the physical sense but in the moral and spiritual sense also" (p. 72). Dying to sin and living for righteousness are a kind of healing through Jesus Christ.

Ordinarily, uncleanness is transferred among men, but holiness is not (Haggai 2:10-14). This scene of the leper coming to Christ pictures divine reconciliation, since what is holy and what is profane usually do not mix. This is overcome through the work of our Savior. Jesus stretches out His hand and commands the leper to be cleansed, showing God in action as the Eternal-Who-Heals. This is why the leper's uncleanness does not transfer to Jesus - at first.

Later, however, the death penalty for sin was transferred to Jesus. A price had to be paid for the leper's cleansing. "Clean" has a sense of purity and holiness, so to be cleansed was to be made pure. Proverbs 20:9 says, "Who can say, 'I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin'?" The leper could no more pronounce himself clean than we can pronounce ourselves sinless (I John 1:10). Proverbs 20:30 adds, "Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart." Comparing these two verses from Proverbs suggests that a certain chastening is required for cleansing.

Isaiah 53:4-5 adds another piece to the picture:

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

These verses place the emphasis of our cleansing from spiritual impurity on Christ: He paid the price to heal us and restore us to fellowship with God.

Thus, when Jesus Christ became sin for us, on Him was transferred all uncleanness. For those who have repented and accepted His sacrifice, there is increasingly more responsibility to continue this cleansing process in cooperation with and submission to Him. Peter summarizes this idea in I Peter 2:24, "[He] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed."

Staff
The Gift of a Leper


 

Matthew 26:51-53  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus shows that retaliation intensifies and continues an evil and that the retaliator can be consumed by it. He acknowledges that He had the power to retaliate, but He held His peace, giving us the example to follow. Verse 54 explains that if He had retaliated, God's will would not have been done!

The spirit of retaliation must be aborted before it leads to murder. We should approach it in the manner Jesus exemplifies here. We must make an honest and sincere attempt to reconcile with an offended brother. If the person truly is a brother, he will forgive quickly and go on with life without a grudge (Luke 17:1-4).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment (Part One) (1997)


 

Luke 22:15-16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Luke 22:15-16 specifically concerns Jesus' Passover offering, but we need to consider its effects in light of the peace offering rather than the sin offering.

First, God is satisfied because man is in communion with Him through Christ, the offering. Second, man is satisfied because he knows he is accepted by God and in fellowship with Him. Third, the priest is satisfied because, as the common friend of formerly estranged parties, He is happy to see them in fellowship. No wonder Christ desired this particular Passover! It produced the very purpose for which He came.

The medium that brings this all about is sacrifice. It is not just Christ's sacrifice on the stake, for it just culminated a whole series of sacrifices that began in heaven when He sacrificed His glory as God, became a man, and subjected Himself to the Father's will perfectly. Christ's stated desire here is looking forward to God and mankind being in fellowship with each other in His Kingdom—the ultimate effect of giving the best of ourselves to God following Jesus' example.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Four): The Peace Offering


 

John 13:34-35  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God is showing through the church that all the prejudices against God and man can be dissolved and overcome through Christ. "New" here implies freshness, rather than from the point of time. It is part of the different perspective one receives upon conversion. Doing what He says to do is new for a convert because it means operating from the perspective of cooperation rather than competition. It is a new thing for a convert to show love, which is the exercising or the application of God's Word.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Reconciliation and the Day of Atonement


 

Acts 3:19-21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Since the foundation of the world, God's purpose has been to bring all things into harmony with Him, giving mankind an exhilarating and refreshing respite from the fearful and depressing heaviness of living in a sin—laden world.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Separation and At-One-Ment


 

Romans 5:1  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Here, peace undoubtedly means a cessation of hostilities, a tranquillity of mind, where formerly a state of almost continual agitation had existed because of the carnal mind's innate hostility toward God and His law. These last several verses take note of the horrible contention and enmity that sin causes, for where there is no strife, there is no need for a peacemaker. All of us, however, were at war with God; Titus 3:3 catches all of us within its scope: "For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another." Before conversion, we each needed a peacemaker to mediate and make reconciliation for us.

What is missing from verses like Titus 3:3 is that they do not show how tenaciously human nature clings to our attitudes and behavior, providing a constant challenge to maintaining peace with God and others. Paul vividly describes his battle with it in Roman 7, and numerous other exhortations encourage us to employ self-control and love for God and the brethren. This leads us to understand that peacemaking involves more than mediating between disputing parties. Peacemaking is a constant responsibility. Its achievement is possible but more difficult than it first seems because many factors - both from within and without - challenge us in maintaining it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

Romans 5:10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Reconciliation with God is not the end of a process, nor does it stand alone. We are reconciled so that we can be saved, and we will be saved because Christ is alive.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Reconciliation and the Day of Atonement


 

Romans 11:11-14  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Romans 11:11 introduces a long discourse showing that we should not consider as lost those not currently headed toward salvation. The Bible provides ample evidence of two more periods of salvation ahead. This first of these times of judgment will occur during the Millennium. It will be primarily directed toward Israel and spread from there to other nations. The second period will include all who never had an opportunity for salvation when they first lived, when God simply passed over them, consigning or ordaining them to stumble. This will not commence until after the Millennium (Revelation 20:11-15).

Paul continues to expand this thought in verses 11-14, explaining that God's rejection of Israel is only temporary. He intends His rebuff of them to open the way to include Gentiles in all the promises given to Abraham. When Israel becomes aware of what has happened to them and the Gentiles because of their stumbling, it will work to remove their complacency and motivate them to obey God.

In verses 15-16, Paul lays the groundwork for indicating a time in the future when all Israel will be reconciled to God: "For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches." In other words, those God has cast away at this time (Israelites, the natural branches) will be drawn to Him at some future time and regrafted into the tree. The firstfruit is the church. We are holy and already part of the holy tree, the Family of God. When God regrafts Israel into the tree, they, too, will be holy because we will all be connected to the same root, Christ (John 15:1-5).

The Bible affords those of us called now not even the slightest room for pride because only God knows the reasons for His mercy toward us. Such scriptures as I Corinthians 1:26-29 make it plain that it is certainly not because we are better than others are. God intends that we be humbled by understanding our privilege in having such an awesome gift fall into our laps, and be motivated to respond to Him in submission to His commandments. We do this by showing the same kindness, tenderness, and mercy to others whether or not they have also received this gracious gift.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Eight


 

2 Corinthians 4:16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Once fellowship with God is established through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that is not enough. This fellowship must be built upon. For it to continue, it has to be renewed day by day. In other words, sacrificing has to continue. Our relationship with God, then, is not constant because we are not unchanging as God is. Our attitudes fluctuate, our faith increases or decreases, and our love, joy, and peace ebb and flow in their intensity.

Sacrifice, whether it be the sacrifice of Christ or our own personal sacrifice, plays a major role in all of this because these things are not constants within us, so they have to be renewed daily. We can conclude that a sacrifice is then either a means of reconciling or a means of strengthening what already exists—a necessary means of becoming or continuing at-one-ment with God.

We need to add another factor to this. In the Old Testament, the gifts given to God are arranged in the order of their value: An animal is of greater value than a vegetable. Consider Cain and Abel's offering. Abel gave an acceptable one, while Cain gave one that was unacceptable for that circumstance. It might have been acceptable in a different circumstance. Nonetheless, the Bible arranges them in order of priority, as in Leviticus 1-3: A bullock is of greater value than a ram, which is of greater value than a kid or a dove. There is a principle here.

Let us step this up even higher. The offering of a son is of greater value than the offering of any animal. When Abraham offered Isaac, it was far greater in value than the offering of a lamb, ram, or even a bullock. In this case, God would not accept anything less than the very best. It had to be the offering of what was nearest and dearest to Abraham's heart. From this we learn that it is not just the intrinsic value of the gift, but also the relative cost to the giver to which God attaches the greatest importance of all. A widow's two mites can be a greater offering than all of the silver and gold a wealthy man can give.

From this, then, we can extract another principle: The greatest gift of all is self-sacrifice.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Be a Priest


 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Our acceptance of the blood of Christ that reconciles us to God puts us under obligation to live our lives from then on in submission to God's will.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Separation and At-One-Ment


 

2 Corinthians 5:16-17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

If a person truly believes, he will repent, and the consequence is reconciliation with God. Our relationship to Him changes; it is entirely new. Our point of view, our world view, changes. We no longer look at life in the same way. Now we view everything from the perspective of God, His Word, and His Kingdom. We no longer look upon people as we did before.

Before our reconciliation we had a superficial view of Christ. Now we view Him as the Eternal Creator, Lord, Savior, and High Priest who lives in us by His Spirit and with whom we are now in fellowship. This has a tremendous impact on how we conduct our lives.

We understand that God is creating a new race beginning with Christ, the second Adam. A man in Christ is a new creation, not merely improved or reformed, but remade. Reconciliation is not just politely ignoring hostilities. It is the total removal of hostilities so there can be a relationship, a fellowship, between God and man that will produce sanctification leading to holiness and complete and total at-one-ment with the great God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Separation and At-One-Ment


 

2 Corinthians 5:16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The apostle Paul is writing about the same thing that happened in Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve sinned, their perspective changed. They were moved away from God and began to look at the events and circumstances of life from a different point of view than they had before.

We know how this works. If we are standing beside someone and looking at an object, say, a tree, both are looking at it from the same perspective and see essentially the same thing. But if we step 20, 30, or 40 feet to one side, the perspective from which we now observe the tree begins to change. Now we see things that may not have been visible when we were side by side with the other person.

That is how it is with God. When we are one with Him, we look at things exactly as He does. When we are not in unity with Him, it is as though we have stepped away from Him, and we begin to see things from a different perspective.

This is the idea Paul refers to here. From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Now that we have been converted, we do not look upon others as Japanese, Chinese, Jewish, Russian—this stereotyping begins to fade into the background in terms of importance. To a converted person, the important thing now is whether the other person is converted or unconverted. All that has changed is our perspective, which has changed because we repented in faith. God gave us His Spirit, and a new point of view has entered our thinking.

Let us consider the phrase, "even though we have known Christ according to the flesh." Paul recounts from his own experience that there was a time when he looked upon Jesus Christ as the great Satan—the enemy of everything that was Judaic. Then he was converted, and his perspective of Christ became, "He is my Savior! He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to humanity!" Same Paul, different mind—his perspective changed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Reconciliation and the Day of Atonement


 

2 Corinthians 5:17-20  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In verse 18, Paul explains that he, and by implication other Christians, have a "ministry of reconciliation" to serve as "ambassadors for Christ" (verse 20). It is, the apostle continues in verse 20, as if God is "pleading through us" to "be reconciled to God." Jesus Christ brings this reconciliation about, and the new man is the result.

Charles Whitaker
Choosing the New Man (Part Two)


 

2 Corinthians 5:18-21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

We play a part in making peace with God by choosing to be reconciled to Him. This is perhaps the first step in becoming a peacemaker.

Paul essentially refers to himself as the one to whom the word and ministry of reconciliation have been given as a portion of his function as an apostle of Jesus Christ. However, the thought does not end there because we are also being prepared to assist in causing the reconciliation of the world to God. This is a second major, time-consuming step toward being a peacemaker. The sanctification process of a Christian's conversion creates within us the ability to be a peacemaker in the godly mold.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacemakers


 

2 Corinthians 5:18-19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Part of the responsibility of the church of God in preaching the gospel around the world is to inform mankind how they can be reconciled to God. In many cases, people do not even know they are separated from God. However, all have been separated from Him, and all need to be reconciled to God through the redemption offered in Christ's payment for sin. To do this, we must also proclaim what sin is, as many are equally ignorant of what constitutes sin. Doing this enables them to judge their need for reconciliation through Jesus Christ.

Preaching the gospel is not just about the Kingdom of God but includes many attendant features that flesh out understanding necessary for establishing communion with God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Six): The Sin Offering


 

2 Corinthians 5:19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Father, working in Christ, is reconciling the world to Him, and there is no mention of the Holy Spirit as a personality playing a part in this work. The key is "as a personality." Personalities are named frequently—the Father and the Son—but the Holy Spirit is never mentioned as a personality.

The Holy Spirit does play a part in the reconciliation of the world to God and to Christ—as a power used to energize us and change our minds. But not as a personality!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit


 

Ephesians 2:8-10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Notice first how this chapter begins: He has made us alive (Ephesians 2:1). Paul makes sure that we understand that it is God who gives what we spiritually possess. As for verse 8, it does not matter whether we believe that the pronoun "it" refers to grace or faith; both are gifts of God.

Grace is God's kindness to us, shown or demonstrated by His revealing Himself to us. It might help to think of this in reference to God revealing Himself to Moses in the burning bush before He sent him to Egypt. If God did not freely purpose on the strength of His own sovereign will to reveal Himself, neither Moses nor we would ever find Him. If a person cannot find God on his own, how could he possibly have faith in Him? Satan has deceived us so well that men have only the foggiest idea of what to look for.

Faith—with God as its object—begins and continues as part of His gift of kindness. The gift includes His calling, the granting of repentance, the sacrifice of Christ for our forgiveness, and His giving of His Spirit. It is a complete package of many individual gifts. The gospel is the medium that provides knowledge of the objects of the faith He gives, that is, what we believe and trust in. Paul, perceiving these gifts as a package, uses "grace" as its label. In verses 9-10, he advances to the logical "next step" in God's purpose.

Our works in no way jump-start the process of justification, sanctification, and glorification. All our works, beginning with repentance and continuing through our period of sanctification, depend directly on the freely given kindness and faith God provides. Our God-ordained good works are the result of our response to the gift of faith that God gives. Works, then, are the external evidence of the unseen, internal faith that motivates them. A person could not do them unless God had given the gift of faith beforehand. Good works follow, they do not precede.

II Corinthians 5:17-18 confirms this: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation." This corroborates that it is God working in the person. His work is termed a "new creation." Since nothing new creates itself, we are the workmanship of another. We are God's workmanship. In sum, because of what God does, we cooperate and produce works that He ordains.

The apostle Paul adds to our understanding in Philippians 2:12-13: "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." He is not saying that we should work in order to obtain salvation. These verses indicate the continuing use of something one already possesses. They suggest carrying something to its logical conclusion, which is for us to live lives worthy of the gospel, doing the works God ordained, as in Ephesians 2:10.

In Romans 9:9-19, Paul, using Jacob and Esau's pre-birth circumstances as a foundation, provides a clear illustration to show that from beginning to end, the whole salvation process depends upon God's involvement. Jacob, representing those called into the church, received God's love in the form of gifts designed to prepare him for the Kingdom of God. To Esau, representing the uncalled, God has simply withheld His love for the time being.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Four)


 

Ephesians 2:12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

One cannot be separated from God any further than this verse describes.

The Bible's general approach to man's estrangement from God is that it is a fact without dispute. It assumes that the separation is there and that there is good reason for it. The separation is obvious from Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden. They and all mankind were now separated from the presence of God, so every biblical writer after picked up on this fact and assumed everybody knew that man is separated from God.

Atonement, therefore, is necessary if God and man are ever going to be brought back together. So the New Testament approach to it is that our disobedience to God's will—what we know as sin—has alienated us from Him, and that it must be somehow remedied if a right relationship is to be restored.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Azazel Goat


 

Ephesians 2:13  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In this context, Paul is speaking specifically to the Gentiles, but in principle, it applies to all of us too—because we too have been far from God. We have been so far from Him that, as Paul writes at the beginning of the chapter, as far as God was concerned, we were dead. He quickened us (made us alive) through knowledge of Himself and His purpose.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 6): Ephesians 4 (C)


 

Ephesians 2:19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

He is gathering everybody into the household of God, and we are forerunners in the process He is working out.

One of the major keys to the unity God is creating is understanding that it is through Christ that we are reconciled to God. Much of the responsibility for maintaining that reconciliation with God has fallen upon us. Christ is still involved, because He is our High Priest. He is working with us to maintain the reconciliation that He made, so that our contact with God is not broken through disobedience. Thus, each person contributes in the maintenance of this reconciliation by working on himself to become holy—by living a life worthy of God's calling.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 6): Ephesians 4 (C)


 

Colossians 1:21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The New Testament frequently implies a separation between God and man, even though the subject of atonement is not directly named. If we are alienated—if we are enemies—surely a reconciliation has to take place.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Azazel Goat


 

2 Timothy 3:1  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Notice how many of these characteristics are traits of the mercenary. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition defines mercenary as "serving merely for pay or sordid advantage: venal; also: greedy." Synonyms for the noun form of the word include "hireling," "hired hand," and "hired gun." Adjectival synonyms are "bribable," "corruptible," "purchasable," "venal," "greedy," "avaricious," "voracious," "rapacious," "grasping," "covetous," and "money-hungry."

One of these traits of people in the last days, "unforgiving," is particularly appropriate. The margin of the New King James Version reads "irreconcilable," but the Greek word, aspondoi, literally means "without a treaty or covenant." It means they function as though they have no contract! They have no loyalty to a team, a political ideal, a company, or anything! If they have no loyalties, how can they be reconciled to anyone?

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
America's Mercenary Culture


 

Hebrews 8:11-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The theme of the Day of Atonement is reconciliation, becoming at one with God through the forgiveness of sin. It starts the salvation process off. Each year, on the Day of Atonement, Israel's sins were symbolically transferred to the Tabernacle by having the first goat's blood sprinkled on it. The blood symbolically contained their sins. The blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, transferring their sins, then, to God's throne, where they were forgiven. That is the picture behind this.

So the author says that the Tabernacle, all of its furniture, and all of its ceremonies and rituals used to accomplish atonement (at-one-ment) with God were types. These symbols stood in their place with good purpose, but only until they were replaced with a more effective reality. Christ went into the Holy of Holies with His own blood.

Now we need to put this into a bigger context, the whole book of Hebrews. The overall theme of Hebrews can be described by such words as better, superior, greater. Chapter 1 begins by telling us that Christ is greater than angels. Chapter 2 shows us that the goal given to us in the gospel of the Kingdom of God is so far superior to anything man has ever been offered before that there is no comparison.

In chapter 3, Christ is far greater than Moses. Beginning in chapter 4 and on into chapter 6, the comparison is made with Aaron, and again, Christ is greater. In chapter 7, we find a comparison with the Melchizedek priesthood and the Levitical priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood is greater, superior, better than Aaron's.

In chapter 8, the covenant is introduced. The New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant. The theme continues right on into chapters 9 and 10, because they are concerned with the superiority of the sacrifice of Christ to the things of the Old Testament - the Tabernacle, its furniture, and all of its ceremonial systems. But they were only imposed for a time, until something better was provided by God. It is clear, then, that God's intent with the sacrificial system was that it would only be imposed temporarily.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 18)


 

Hebrews 9:15-17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Christ did this so that we can serve God. Thus, in order for us to serve God personally, we must be close to Him. Sin separates! What does sin do to relationships, either with humans or with God? It divides. When a person steals from another, do they become closer? If a spouse commits adultery, does that bring a married couple closer? No, it drives them apart. If a person covets something belonging to another person, does their relationship blossom? Sin separates.

Above all, it separates us from God. How can we be close to Him as long as we are sinning? Something had to be done, first of all, to bridge the gap: The sins had to be forgiven. Therefore, Jesus Christ, when He qualified by being blameless, voluntarily offered Himself to be the sacrifice that would overcome the division.

Before He did this, knowing He would die, He made out a will. He said, "When I die, those who take advantage of My death will inherit what I have inherited." The inheritance is to be in His Family! With it goes all the other promises: the promises of the Holy Spirit, eternal life, all the gifts, continual forgiveness, etc.

Whatever is needed, He will supply it. He will continue to stand between God and us, for a priest is one who bridges the gap between different parties to bring them together. He is saying, "When I am resurrected, I will always stand in the gap and be there when you need Me, and I will administer the Spirit of God."

Being brought close to God not only enables us to serve Him, it also enables the Father to serve us. Because we are in His presence, He can distribute to us the gifts than enable us to continue. Christ, then, is shown to be the Sacrifice for forgiveness of sin; the Mediator of peace between God and us; the Testator who died, passing on the benefits to us. These benefits work to remove the flaw, allowing us to keep the terms of the New Covenant.

We can then have a sustained and wonderful relationship with God. We can have His laws written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10) and so be transformed into His image, qualified to share the inheritance of the promises with Him because we are like Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace and Law (Part 13)


 

Hebrews 10:4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Do we grasp a serious ramification of this statement? It was never possible for animal blood to remove sins! If it was not possible in Paul's day, it was not possible in Old Testament times either. No one, including the Old Testament heroes, was ever forgiven through an animal sacrifice, nor was anyone saved by works of the law. Forgiveness and salvation by grace were not new to the New Testament.

The offerings were continuously repeated and detailed portrayals of what sin does - it kills - and what Christ's sacrifice would accomplish - reconciliation with God. Hebrews 10:3 says they served as reminders of sin. They were and remain as teaching vehicles since their spiritual purposes are shown elsewhere in God's Word. Hebrews 10:5-10 adds:

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come - to do Your will, O God.'" Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

How can a person truly live by every word of God if he casts these things aside as useless to daily life? How do they apply to us today? They apply in the spirit, which is their true intent. Jesus Christ is the object of each of the offerings, that is, they portray His activities as a man. However, three of them, the burnt, grain (or meal), and peace offerings, do not deal with sin. Only the trespass and sin offerings depict Christ's death for our sins.

Very briefly, the whole burnt offering pictures Jesus Christ's total devotion to God. His life was completely consumed as an offering to God every minute He lived. It pictures His fulfilling the first of the two great commandments of the law (Matthew 22:37): Jesus loved God with all His heart, soul, and mind.

Along with the burnt offering, the meal offering represents Christ's dedicated service, but this time to man, fulfilling the second of the two great commandments (verse 39): He loved His neighbor as Himself. Sharing His consuming love for God showed His consummate love for man.

The peace offering represents the fruit of all of Jesus' sacrificial labors on behalf of God and mankind, including those symbolized by the sin and trespass offerings. The peace offering shows God, the High Priest, and man fellowshipping together, sharing a common meal in peace and thanksgiving.

Before leaving Jesus' example, we need to consider whether we are ever tempted to think that Jesus dream-walked through life like an actor on a stage. Do we ever feel that He must have had it easy because He was also God, and so could easily overcome any temptation that crossed His path? While it is true that, even as a man, He never stopped being God, He was also a man and thus encumbered with human feelings, and that nature within Him opened the door to sore temptations. Hebrews 2:16-18 reflects this, as does Hebrews 4:15-16.

It is important on several fronts to allow this reality's impact to affect us. Why? Because Jesus is our example, and we are to follow in His footsteps. Even though He was the Son of God, His Father did not lay out an easy course for Him. For instance, He rarely escaped almost continuous confrontations by angry people. By itself, this was a great burden. The pressure from this trial culminated in His crucifixion and all it entailed.

Jesus had to work at succeeding in His responsibilities. Each day was a sacrificial offering for Him on behalf of God and men. Thus, He is our example in this too. He gave of Himself, laying down His life for His friends, not only as an offering for sin, but also in daily service as a servant.

It will become clear that He did not engage in this labor so we could escape the responsibilities of our assignments. If we are to walk the same path behind our Example, does it not follow that we will face the same basic difficulties He did? God promises that our responsibilities will be in measure to our gifts (I Corinthians 10:13; Romans 12:6-8), but He did not do it all for us.

Do we not have work to do to follow Him? Once a person is converted, can anybody keep the commandments for him? Can a person be a proxy for another before God? Can anyone live any part of life for another? People can do things on another's behalf, but they cannot live life for anybody else.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is the Christian Required to Do Works? (Part One)


 

Find more Bible verses about Reconciliation:
Reconciliation {Nave's}
 




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