In Scripture, is the restoration of harmony between two persons at variance, by the removal of existing obstacles, 1Sa 29:4. Christ bids the man who has wronged his brother, to make peace with him, and secure his favor by confession and reparation, before presenting his gift at God's altar, Mt 5:23-24. In the far more important matter of peace with God, to make human salvation possible, a just God must be reconciled to the sinner, and the rebellious sinner be reconciled to God. This reconciliation is effected by the blood of the Spirit, Ro 5:10; 2Co 5:19; Eph 2:16.
Katallagee, (See "ATONEMENT"; SACRIFICE; PROPITIATION.) Ro 5:10-11; "we were reconciled ... being reconciled ... we have now received the reconciliation" (the same word as the verb and participle). The "reconciliation" here cannot be that of ourselves to God, or having its rise in us, for we then should not be said to "receive" it, but that of God to us. We have received the laying aside of our enmity to God would not be sense. Hebrew ratsah "to associate with," "to be satisfied" or appeased. Katallagee, diallagee, is "the changing of places", coming over from one to the other side. In 1Sa 29:4 (yithratseh zeh 'el 'adonaayw), "wherewith should this man (David) reconcile himself to his master (Saul)?" the anger to be laid aside was not David's to Saul, but Saul's to David; "reconcile himself to Saul" therefore means to induce Saul to be reconciled to him and take him back to his favor.
So Mt 5:24, "be reconciled to thy brother," means, "propitiate him to lay aside his anger and be reconciled to thee." So 2Co 5:18-19, "God hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ," i.e. restored us (the world, 2Co 5:19) to His favor by satisfying the claims of justice against us. The time (aorist) is completely past, implying a once for all accomplished fact. Our position judicially in the eye of God's law is altered, not as though Christ's sacrifice made a change in God's character and made Him to love us. Nay, Christ's sacrifice was the provision of God's love, not its procuring cause (Ro 8:32). Christ's blood was the ransom or price paid at God's own cost to reconcile the exercise of His mercy with justice, not as separate, but as the eternally co-existing harmonious attributes in the unchangeable God. (See RANSOM.)
Ro 3:25-26, "God in Christ reconciles the world to Himself," as 2Co 5:19 explains, by "not imputing their trespasses unto them," and by in the first instance satisfying His own justice and righteous enmity against sin (Ps 7:11; Isa 12:1). Katallassoon, "reconciling," implies "changing" the judicial status from one of condemnation to one of justification. The "atonement" or reconciliation is the removal of the bar to peace and acceptance with the holy God which His righteousness interposed against our sin. The first step towards peace between us and God was on God's side (Joh 3:16). The change now to be effected must be on the part of offending man, God the offended One being already reconciled. Man, not God, now needs to be reconciled by laying aside his enmity against God (Ro 5:10-11). Ministers' entreaty to sinners, "be ye reconciled to God," is equivalent to "receive the reconciliation" already accomplished (2Co 5:21).
In Heb 2:17 Christ is called "High-priest in things pertaining to God to make reconciliation for (hilaskesthai, "to expiate") the sins of the people." Literally, "to propitiate (in respect to) the sins," etc. God's justice is (humanly speaking) propitiated by Christ's sacrifice. But as God's love was side by side from everlasting with His justice, Christ's sacrifice is never expressly said to propitiate God (but Heb 2:17 virtually implies something like it), lest that sacrifice should seem antecedent to and producing God's grace.
God's love originated Christ's sacrifice, whereby God's justice and love are harmonized. By Christ's sacrifice the sinner is brought into God's favor, which by sin he had justly forfeited. Hence his prayer is," God be propitiated (hilastheeti) to me who am a sinner" (Lu 18:13). Christ who had no sin "made reconciliation for (le-kafr "pitch", covered) the iniquity" of all (Da 9:24; Ps 32:1). (See PITCH; ATONEMENT.) "Man can suffer, but cannot satisfy; God can satisfy, but cannot suffer. But Christ, being both God and man, can both suffer and also satisfy. He is competent to suffer for man and to make satisfaction to God, in order to reconcile God to man and man to God. So Christ, having assumed my nature into His person, and so satisfied divine justice for my sins, I am received into favor again with the most high God." (Beveridge).
The word 'reconciliation,' with its cognates, is a Pauline one, and is not found in the Gospels, or other NT writings. The chief passages in which it and related terms are employed are Ro 5:10-11 (RV), 2Co 5:18-20; Eph 2:16; Col 1:20-21. In Heb 2:17, where the AV has 'to make reconciliation for the sins of the people,' the RV reads, more correctly, 'to make propitiation.' OT usage, where the word occasionally tr 'reconcile' (Le 6:30 etc.) is again more correctly rendered in RV Revised Version 'make atonement,' throws little light on the NT term. The effect of propitiation is to remove the variance between God and man, and so bring about 'reconciliation.' The means by which this result is accomplished in the NT is the reconciling death of Christ (Col 1:20-22). On the special questions involved, see artt. Atonement and Redemption.
Perhaps better than any other, this term brings out in vivid form St. Paul's conception of the gospel. As proclaimed to men, the gospel is a message of 'reconciliation' (2Co 5:18-20). It is a misunderstanding of the Apostle's meaning in such passages to suppose that the need of reconciliation is on man's side only, and not also on God's. Man, indeed, does need to he reconciled to God, from whom he is naturally alienated in his mind in evil works (Col 1:21). 'The mind of the flesh is enmity against God' (Ro 8:7), and this enmity of the carnal heart needs to be overcome. On this side, the 'ministry of reconciliation' is a beseeching of men to be reconciled to God (2Co 5:20). But the very ground on which this appeal is based is that 'God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses' (2Co 5:19). It is an essential part of the Apostle's teaching that sinners are the objects of a Divine judicial wrath (Ro 1:18). They lie under a condemnation that needs to be removed (Ro 3:19 ff.). They are described as 'enemies' in two passages (Ro 5:10; 11:28) where the word is plainly to be taken in the passive sense of objects of wrath (cf. in Ro 11:28, the contrast with 'beloved'). It is this barrier to God's reconciliation with men that, in the Apostle's doctrine, Christ removes by His propitiatory death (Ro 3:25; Col 1:20). The ground on which men are called to be reconciled to God is: 'Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him' (2Co 5:20-21). Believers 'receive' a reconciliation already made (Ro 5:11 RV). The gospel reconciliation, in other words, has a twofold aspect
Except in 1Sa 29:4, and 2Ch 29:24, the Hebrew word is kaphar, which is more than sixty times translated 'to make an atonement;' and this rendering suits sufficiently well in the places where 'reconciliation' is read in the A.V. Le 6:30; 8:15; 16:20; Eze 45:15,17,20; Da 9:24. In the N.T. the last clause of Heb 2:17 should be translated "to make 'propitiation' for the sins of the people." Elsewhere the word translated 'reconciliation' is ?????????, and kindred words, signifying 'a thorough change.'
By the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross, God annulled in grace the distance which sin had brought in between Himself and man, in order that all things might, through Christ, be presented agreeably to Himself. Believers are already reconciled, through Christ's death, to be presented holy, unblameable, and unreproveable (a new creation). God was in Christ, when Christ was on earth, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses; but now that the love of God has been fully revealed in the cross, the testimony has gone out world wide, beseeching men to be reconciled to God. 2Co 5:19-20. The end is that God may have His pleasure in man.
Christ also abolished the system of the law that Jew and Gentile might be reconciled together unto God, the two being formed in Christ into one new man. Eph 2:15-16. Reconciliation will extend in result to all things in heaven and on earth, Col 1:20; not to things under the earth (the lost), though these will have to confess that "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Php 2:10-11.
RECONCILIATION. The expressions "reconciliation" and "making peace" necessarily suppose a previous state of hostility between God and man, which is reciprocal. This is sometimes called enmity, a term, as it respects God, rather unfortunate, since enmity is almost fixed in our language to signify a malignant and revengeful feeling. Of this, the oppugners of the doctrine of the atonement have availed themselves to argue, that as there can be no such affection in the divine nature, therefore, reconciliation in Scripture does not mean the reconciliation of God to man, but of man to God, whose enmity the example and teaching of Christ, they tell us, is very effectual to subdue. It is, indeed, a sad and humbling truth, and one which the Socinians in their discussions on the natural innocence of man are not willing to admit that by the infection of sin "the carnal mind is enmity to God," that human nature is malignantly hostile to God and to the control of his law; but this is far from expressing the whole of that relation of man in which, in Scripture, he is said to be at enmity with God, and so to need a reconciliation, the making of peace between God and him. That relation is a legal one, as that of a sovereign in his judicial capacity, and a criminal who has violated his laws and risen up against his authority, and who is, therefore, treated as an enemy. The word ?????? is used in this passive sense, both in the Greek writers and in the New Testament. So, in Ro 11:28, the Jews, rejected and punished for refusing the Gospel, are said by the Apostle, "as concerning the Gospel," to be "enemies for your sakes;" treated and accounted such; "but, as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." In the same epistle, Ro 5:10, the term is used precisely in the same sense, and that with reference to the reconciliation by Christ: "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son;" that is, when we were objects of the divine judicial displeasure, accounted as enemies, and liable to be capitally treated as such. Enmity, in the sense of malignity and the sentiment of hatred, is added to this relation in the case of man; but it is no part of the relation itself: it is rather a case of it, as it is one of the actings of a corrupt nature which render man obnoxious to the displeasure of God, and the penalty of his law, and place him in the condition of an enemy. It is this judicial variance and opposition between God and man which is referred to in the term reconciliation, and in the phrase "making peace," in the New Testament; and the hostility is, therefore, in its own nature, mutual.
But that there is no truth in the notion, that reconciliation means no more than our laying aside our enmity to God, may also be shown from several express passages. The first is the passage we have above cited: "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God," Ro 5:10. Here the act of reconciling is ascribed to God, and not to us; but if this reconciliation consisted in the laying aside of our own enmity, the act would be ours alone: and, farther, that it could not be the laying aside of our enmity, is clear from the text, which speaks of reconciliation while we were yet enemies. The reconciliation spoken of here is not, as Socinus and his followers have said, our conversion. For that the Apostle is speaking of a benefit obtained for us previous to our conversion, appears evident from the opposite members of the two sentences, "much more, being justified, we shall be saved from wrath through him," "much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." The Apostle argues from the greater to the less. If God were so benign to us before our conversion, what may we not expect from him now we are converted? To reconcile here cannot mean to convert; for the Apostle evidently speaks of something greatly remarkable in the act of Christ; but to convert sinners is nothing remarkable, since none but sinners can be ever converted; whereas it was a rare and singular thing for Christ to die for sinners, and to reconcile sinners to God by his death, when there have been but very few good men who have died for their friends. In the next place, conversion is referred more properly to his glorious life, than to his shameful death; but this reconciliation is attributed to his death, as contradistinguished from his glorious life, as is evident from the antithesis contained in the two verses. Beside, it is from the latter benefit that we learn the nature of the former. The latter, which belongs only to the converted, consists of the peace of God, and salvation from wrath, Ro 5:9-10. This the Apostle afterward calls receiving the reconciliation. And what is it to receive the reconciliation, but to receive the remission of sins? Ac 10:43. To receive conversion is a mode of speaking entirely unknown. If, then, to receive the reconciliation is to receive the remission of sins, and in effect to be delivered from wrath or punishment, to be reconciled must have a corresponding signification.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, 2Co 5:19. Here the manner of this reconciliation is expressly said to be, not our laying aside our enmity, but the non-imputation of our trespasses to us by God; in other words, the pardoning of our offences and restoring us to favour. The promise, on God's part, to do this, is expressive of his previous reconciliation to the world by the death of Christ; for our actual reconciliation is distinguished from this by what follows, "and hath committed to us the ministry of reconciliation," by virtue of which all men were, by the Apostles, entreated and besought to be reconciled to God. The reason, too, of this reconciliation of God to the world, by virtue of which he promises not to impute sin, is grounded by the Apostle, in the last verse of the chapter, not upon the laying aside of enmity by men, but upon the sacrifice of Christ: "For he hath made him to be sin," a sin-offering, "for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby," Eph 2:16. Here the act of reconciling is attributed to Christ. Man is not spoken of as reconciling himself to God; but Christ is said to reconcile Jews and Gentiles together, and both to God, "by his cross." Thus, says the Apostle, "he is our peace;" but in what manner is the peace effected? Not, in the first instance, by subduing the enmity of man's heart, but by removing the enmity of "the law." "Having abolished in" or by "his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments." The ceremonial law only is here, probably meant; for by its abolition, through its fulfilment in Christ, the enmity between Jews and Gentiles was taken away; but still it was not only necessary to reconcile Jew and Gentile together, but to "reconcile both unto God." This he did by the same act; abolishing the ceremonial law by becoming the antitype of all its sacrifices, and thus, by the sacrifice of himself, effecting the reconciliation of all to God, "slaying the enmity by his cross," taking away whatever hindered the reconciliation of the guilty to God, which, as we have seen, was not enmity and hatred to God in the human mind only, but that judicial hostility and variance which separated God and man as Judge and criminal. The feeble criticism of Socinus, on this passage, in which he has been followed by his adherents to this day, is thus answered by Grotius: "In this passage the dative ???, to God, can only be governed by the verb ????????????, that he might reconcile; for the interpretation of Socinus, which makes to God stand by itself, or that to reconcile to God is to reconcile them among themselves, that they might serve God, is distorted and without example. Nor is the argument valid which is drawn from thence, that in this place St. Paul properly treats of the peace made between Jews and Gentiles; for neither does it follow from this argument, that it was beside his purpose to mention the peace made for each with God. For the two opposites which ar