2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God.
Sermons
A Merciful EmbassyC. H. Spurgeon.2 Corinthians 5:20
A Solemn EmbassyCharles Haddon Spurgeon 2 Corinthians 5:20
Ambassadors for ChristJ. W. Pratt, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:20
Ambassadors for ChristJ. Sherman.2 Corinthians 5:20
Ambassadors for ChristJ.R. Thomson 2 Corinthians 5:20
Ambassadors of ChristE. Hurndall 2 Corinthians 5:20
God Beseeching Sinners by His MinistersC. H. Spurgeon.2 Corinthians 5:20
Of the Nature and Use of the Gospel Ministry as an External Mean of Applying ChristJohn Flavel.2 Corinthians 5:20
On ReconciliationT. Lewis.2 Corinthians 5:20
Reconciliation to GodB. Beddome, M. A.2 Corinthians 5:20
Reconciliation with GodT. L. Cuyler, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:20
Reconciliation with God, Man's Truest InterestN. Brady.2 Corinthians 5:20
The Arguments by Which Men Should be Persuaded to Reconcile unto GodB. Whichcote, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:20
The Christian AmbassadorJ. Brown, A. M.2 Corinthians 5:20
The Entreaties of GodAlexander Maclaren2 Corinthians 5:20
Person and Ministry of the Apostle Further ConsideredC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
God the Author of ReconciliationS. Charnock, B. D.2 Corinthians 5:18-21
God the New CreatorT. Manton, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:18-21
High DoctrineC. H. Spurgeon.2 Corinthians 5:18-21
ReconciliationP. J. Gloag, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:18-21
ReconciliationT. Manton, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:18-21
ReconciliationD. Fraser 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
The Incarnation; God's Work in ChristG. S. Barrett, B. A.2 Corinthians 5:18-21
The Ministry of ReconciliationF. W. Robertson, M. A.2 Corinthians 5:18-21
The Non-Imputation of SinT. Manton, D. D.2 Corinthians 5:18-21
The Word of ReconciliationG. S. Barrett, B. A.2 Corinthians 5:18-21


Even among the members of the Corinthian Church there were those who had offended the Lord by their inconsistency and who needed to be reconciled. How much more was and is this true of mankind at large! There is no denying the need of a gospel and of a ministry of reconciliation.

I. WHO ARE CHRIST'S AMBASSADORS? Probably the language is most justly applicable to the apostles only, inasmuch as their commission and credentials were altogether special. An ambassador owes his importance, not to himself, but to the power he represents, the message he bears. The preachers of Christ are all heralds, if they cannot be designated ambassadors. They may learn hence the dignity of their office and their personal unworthiness and insufficiency, and they may be admonished as to the imperative duty of fidelity.

II. BY WHAT COURT ARE THESE AMBASSADORS COMMISSIONED? They are the ministers of the King of heaven, and their authority is that of the King's Son. Thus their mission is one entrusted by a superior power and authority; and not only so, it is from an offended and outraged power. This appears when we consider -

III. TO WHOM THESE AMBASSADORS ARE SENT. Properly speaking, an ambassador is one accredited to a power sovereign and equal to that from whom he comes. But in this case the resemblance fails in this respect, inasmuch as the ministers of the gospel address themselves to offenders, to rebels, to those who cannot treat with Heaven upon equal terms, or any terms of right.

IV. WHOSE SUBSTITUTES ARE THESE AMBASSADORS? They act "on Christ's behalf," "in Christ's stead." The Lord himself first came upon an embassage of mercy. He has entrusted to his apostles, and in a sense to all his ministers, the office and trust of acting as his representatives, in so far as they publish the declaration and offer of Divine mercy.

V. WHAT IS THE COMMISSION WHICH THESE AMBASSADORS ARE SENT TO EXECUTE? It is an office of mercy. Their duty is to publish the tidings of redemption, the offer of pardon, and themselves to urge and to entreat men that they accept the gospel and thus enjoy the blessings of reconciliation with God. - T.









Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ.
First, Christ's ambassadors commissionated. "Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ." Secondly, their commission opened; wherein we find, first, the work whereunto the ministers of the gospel are appointed, to reconcile the world to God. Secondly, their capacity described: they act in Christ's stead, as His vicegerents. He is no more in this world to treat personally with sinners. Thirdly, the manner of their acting in that capacity; and that is by humble, sweet, and condescending entreaties. Doct.: That the preaching of the gospel by Christ's ambassadors is the means appointed for the reconciling of sinners to Christ. First, we will open what is implied in Christ's treaty with sinners by His ambassadors or ministers.

1. It necessarily implies the defection of man from his estate of friendship with God. If no war with heaven, what need of ambassadors of peace? The very office of the ministry is an argument of the fall.

2. It implies the singular grace and admirable condescension of God to sinful man.

3. It implies the great dignity of the gospel ministry. We are ambassadors for Christ.

4. Christ's treating with sinners by His ministers, who are His ambassadors, implies the strict obligation they are under to be faithful in their ministerial employment (1 Timothy 1:12).

5. It implies the removal of the gospel ministry to be a very great judgment to the people. The remanding of ambassadors presages an ensuing war.

6. And, lastly, it implies both the wisdom and condescension of God to sinful men in carrying on a treaty of peace with them by such ambassadors, negotiating betwixt Him and them. Secondly, we are to consider that great concernment about which these ambassadors of Christ are to treat with sinners, and that is their reconciliation to God. First, that God should be reconciled after such a dreadful breach as the fall of man made is wonderful, No sin, all things considered, was ever like to this sin; other sins, like a single bullet, kill particular persons, but this, like a chain-shot, cuts off multitudes which no man can number. Secondly, that God should be reconciled to men and not to angels, a more excellent order of creatures, is yet more astonishing. Thirdly, that God should be wholly and thoroughly reconciled to man, so that no fury remains in Him against us (Isaiah 27:4) is still matter of farther wonder. Fourthly, that God should be freely reconciled to sinners, and discharge them without the least satisfaction to His justice from them, is, and for ever will be, marvellous in their eyes. For though Christ, your Surety, hath made satisfaction in your stead, yet it was His life, His blood, and not yours, that went for it. Fifthly, that God should be finally reconciled to sinners, so that never new breach shall happen betwixt Him and them, so as to dissolve the league of friendship, is a most transporting message. In the last place, we are to inquire what and whence is this efficacy of preaching to reconcile sinners to Christ. First, this efficacy and wonderful power is not from the word itself; take it in an abstract notion, separated from the Spirit, it can do nothing: it is called "the foolishness of preaching" (1 Corinthians 1:21). Secondly, it derives not this efficacy from the instrument by which it is ministered, let their gifts be what they will. Thirdly, but whatever efficacy it hath to reconcile men to God it derives from the Spirit of God, whose co-operation and blessing gives it all the fruit it hath. First, admire and stand amazed at this mercy. "I will praise Thee, O Lord," saith the Church (Isaiah 12:1). "Though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortest me." Secondly, beware of new breaches with God. God will speak "peace to His people and to His saints, but let them not turn again to folly" (Psalm 85:8). Thirdly, labour to reconcile others to God, especially those that are endeared to you by the bonds of natural relation. Fourthly, Let your reconciliation with God relieve you under all burdens of affliction you shall meet with in your way to heaven.

(John Flavel.)

1. The dignity of an ambassador is measured —(1) By the grandeur of the power he represents. Compare a minister from Paraguay with one from Prussia. The former may have more personal wealth and dignity of character than the latter; but how difficult their official dignity! The apostle's official exaltation was the very loftiest in the world.(2) By the grandeur of the State to which he is sent. An ambassador to Russia is a greater personage than one to Liberia. Now; Paul was sent, not to one State or kingdom, but to the world.(3) By the subjects about which they are commissioned to treat. Compare the Treaty of Ghent with the settlement of the "Alabama Claims." The object of the apostle's mission was not to make peace between contending nations, not to adjust spoliation claims, but to restore a world of rebels to their prime allegiance, and to wrest from hell its illgotten spoils.

2. The apostle says, "We are ambassadors for Christ."

3. Behold here an evidence that God delighteth not in the death of the sinner. Not content to commission a body of men simply to announce, He condescends to plead through them (Ezekiel 18:23-32; Isaiah 1:18; 2 Peter 3:9).

I. LET US ANALYSE THIS WONDERFUL DIVINE SOLICITATION. It assumes —

1. A state of alienation from God on your part and offence on His.

2. That God has been propitiated.

3. That without the sinner's own consent the interposition made by Christ can be of no avail.

II. HOW IS MAN'S AVERSION TO RECONCILIATION TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR?

1. While conscious of sin, they are really unconscious of peril. When danger is realised no man is indifferent. Hence the necessity for preaching about law and hell.

2. Sinners love their sin. Sin has its pleasures. You see no pleasure in holiness. Admit that the life of the sinner reconciled is a gloomy journey, nothing to compensate him for the life of revelry that he is to abandon. Is it not better to experience temporary unhappiness for the sake of immortal bliss? Now God, who knows the unsatisfying nature of sinful pleasures, beseeches you by us, "Be reconciled to God."

(J. W. Pratt, D. D.)

I. THE OFFICE IN WHICH THE MINISTERS OF CHRIST APPEAR.

1. An ambassador holds an office of distinguished honour. He represents the king who sends him. Ambassadors may, or they may not, be talented men. It may be of importance to the sovereign that they should be so; but they are not to be respected for their talents, but for their office, and any disrespect shown them in a foreign court is levelled at the office. Now all this is true of the ministers of Christ. Christ accounts every kindness shown to them as shown to Him, and every unfriendly act towards them as done to Him. Talents and piety commend ministers; but it is their office which is the ground of their honour.

2. The ambassador's is an office of important trust. They are not sent to make laws, but simply to convey instructions. Now the apostle says that he was "put in trust with the gospel," and God "requires in stewards that a man be found faithful." They have, therefore, simply to deliver that to the people which they have received of the Lord Jesus.

3. This office is one requiring great skill, diligence, and labour. What tact, and ingenuity, and application does it often require to conduct the king's business at a foreign court! And oh! how much more to negotiate the affairs of Christ's kingdom among them! "Who is sufficient for these things?" "To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews," etc.

II. THE OBJECT AT WHICH THEY AIM — that men may be reconciled to God.

III. THE MESSAGE THEY HAVE TO DELIVER.

1. It is free.

2. Full.

3. Final.

IV. THE MANNER IN WHICH THEIR OBJECT IS TO BE PROSECUTED. Not by compulsion, not by punishment, but "we pray you" — "God beseeches you by us."

1. Such a mode answers to the character of God and His gospel. "God is love"; His gospel is "goodwill toward men." Methinks it is very easy to be reconciled to love.

2. The method corresponds with the character of man. Men are more easily drawn than driven. Love wins the heart, when terror would often drive it away.

(J. Sherman.)

Man became God's enemy without the slightest provocation; but man did not make the first overtures for peace. Consider —

I. THE AMBASSADORS OF RECONCILIATION.

1. They themselves were once enemies to God. God might have sent angels to you, and you might have been awed by their glory; but their sermons must have been unsympathetic compared with ours, for they could not know your misery as we do.

2. They are now reconciled, and therefore can speak not theoretically, but experimentally. They were reconciled, too, by Jesus Christ, in the same way as other sinners. Again, Paul tells us —

3. They have a message to deliver which has been given to them. Their mission is not to invent a gospel. I send my servant with a message, and if she, in her wisdom, alters my message to suit her own views, I discharge her, for I want some one who will bear my message, and not make one of her own. God would have His ministers be like transparent glass, not like painted windows, which colour all the rays after their own nature.

II. THE SUBJECT-MATTER OF OUR MESSAGE.

1. That reconciliation is only to be obtained towards God on the ground of substitution. You cannot reconcile yourself to God by lamentation on account of your past sins, by any future arduous service, nor by any ceremony of man's invention, or even of God's ordaining. This is the plan: — Men were all lost and condemned; then Jesus took upon Himself our manhood, that He might be our brother; and in His death He bore the burden of human sin.

2. That this reconciliation was not apart from God, but that God was in Christ. You must never fall into the idea that God is revengeful, and that the death of His Son was necessary to pacify the Father. God was love before Jesus died. The substitution made on Calvary was a substitution provided by God's love. It is not Jesus, a stranger, who hangs there to gratify the Father's vengeance; it is God who, in one of His Divine Persons, bears the penalty which justice demanded of sinful men.

3. That in consequence of God's having reconciled the world to Himself in Jesus Christ, He is able now to deal with sinners as if they had never sinned. "Not imputing their trespasses unto them." "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Aye, and something more. God treats us who are reconciled to Him as if they were full of good works; "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

4. That the atonement of Christ is for the "world" (John 3:16).

5. That there is nothing whatever needed in order to their reconciliation and acceptance with God, except what Christ has already wrought out.

III. THE MANNER IN WHICH THIS MESSAGE IS TO BE DELIVERED. The text tells us very plainly —

1. By beseeching and praying men. We are not merely to convince the intellect; neither are we alone to warn and threaten, though that has its place.

2. By beseeching men as though God did beseech them. Now how does God beseech them? Read Isaiah 1., 4.; Ezekiel 33:11; Jeremiah 44:4; Hosea 11:8.

3. By praying souls in Christ's stead — i.e., we are to preach as if Christ were preaching. That would not be in a light or trifling manner, or in a cold official style, but with melting eyes and burning heart. Sometimes He prayed —(1) By setting before them the evil of their ways. "For which of these works do you stone Me?" And so I inquire, "For which of God's works are you His enemy? Are you His enemy because He keeps you in life, gives you your food, or sends you the gospel?"(2) By showing them the uselessness of their rebellion (Luke 14:31). Why will you be God's enemy when you cannot win the battle?(3) By displaying the result of their sin, as He did when He stood on the brow of the hill and looked down on Jerusalem. Remember the passages where He speaks of dividing the sheep from the goats, where He treats of the virgins who had no oil in their vessels with their lamps. Whoever puts the doctrine of hell into the background, Jesus never did.(4) By pleading the love of God — e.g., in the parable of the prodigal son, And, oh, how tie implored man to be reconciled, in such words as, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"; "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."

4. By bringing this matter home and pressing it. We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. It comes to this with you: God says to you —

1. Throw down your weapons; why dost thou contend with thy Maker? What has Christ done that thou shouldst not love Him? What has the Holy Ghost done that thou shouldst resist Him? What wilt thou gain by it in time or in eternity?

2. Accept the Lord Jesus.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE CHARACTER THAT BECOMES MINISTERS AS AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST.

1. Intelligence. No wise prince would employ as his representative at a foreign court a man destitute of good sense and of acquired knowledge; otherwise the interests of the empire might be compromised, and the lustre of the sovereign's reign tarnished. Surely, then, the care of souls, every one of which is more valuable than worlds, ought only to be entrusted to men gifted by nature, whose minds have been roused by cultivation, and whose conduct gives evidence that they have been taught by God.

2. Attachment to Christ and His cause. In the early stages of society ambassadors were chiefly chosen from among the personal friends of the prince, and, being often bound to him by the ties of consanguinity or marriage, afforded the best guarantees of fidelity and zeal. And so love to the Saviour, arising from the heartfelt power of His religion, and from the workings of a devoted gratitude, is the highest qualification of a Christian minister.

3. Fidelity. When an envoy is sent to a foreign court he bears with him not only credentials, but written instructions, defining the conditions on which a treaty of peace may be ratified; and should he exceed his instructions the treaty so negotiated would not be sanctioned by his king. And so when ministers entreat sinners to be reconciled unto God, they should always remember that they are acting for Christ, and should only propose salvation in the manner and on the terms in which it is offered in His gospel. "Thus saith the Lord" should be distinctly attached to all their announcements.

4. Zeal. The man to whom is committed the dignity of a prince and the interests of an empire should subordinate every personal feeling to the glory of his sovereign; and so the ambassador for Christ should spend and be spent in his Master's cause.

5. Wisdom. The ambassador of an earthly monarch behoves not only to maintain a courteous deportment, but to mark, with eagle glance, the ever-shifting relations of the kingdoms with which he negotiates, and to adapt his policy to their changing circumstances; and so the minister of Christ requires to display much wisdom, both in maintaining an inoffensive conversation and adapting his lessons to the existing state of society.

6. Diligent and persevering exertion. A superficial observer, who gazes on the splendid attire and retinue of an envoy, and who observes his attendance upon the levees and gala-days of royalty, is apt to imagine that his duties are light and his post nearly a sinecure; but a person who peeps behind the curtain, who notices the thousand channels by which he gleans information, his anxious consultations with confidential advisers, his sleepless nights, devoted to unravelling the mysteries of the passing masquerade, and his frequent interchange of correspondence with his sovereign — the man who looks to the details of all these labours must admit that his employment is most arduous and harassing. In the same manner, many suppose that the station of a minister is one of indolence; but those who survey their ministrations in the sanctuary, their diligence in study, their hours devoted to prayer, their painstaking visitations, and their sympathy with the sick, must admit that the employment is most harassing, and need feel no surprise that so many fall as martyrs who devote themselves with zeal to the duties of this profession.

7. Great dignity. If the envoy of an earthly monarch, whenever he presents his credentials, has a portion of the respect due to his sovereign awarded to him, so the man, however humble, who acts for Christ as the "legate of the skies," derives a dignity from his office before which all worldly honours sink into insignificance.

II. THE MOTIVES WHICH SHOULD ROUSE US TO INCREASED ZEAL.

1. Should souls perish through our negligence, their blood will be required at our hands.

2. The example of the apostles should stimulate us to exertion.

3. The example left us by the Luthers, Calvins, and Knoxes, of the reforming era, and by the fathers of this Church at a later period, should rouse and ashame us.

4. Were the motives derived from religion forgotten, patriotism and humanity should rouse us.

6. It becomes us to recollect that our lots have been cast in critical and perilous times, which demand from us extraordinary zeal and watchfulness.

(J. Brown, A. M.)

There has long been war between man and his Maker. Our federal head. Adam, threw down the gauntlet in the garden of Eden. From that day until now there has been no truce between God and man by nature. But though man will not make terms with God, God shows His unwillingness any longer to be at war with man. He Himself sends His ambassadors. Consider —

I. THE AMBASSADORS. All nations, with one accord, have agreed to honour ambassadors. Strange, then, that all nations and all people should have conspired to dishonour the ambassadors of God! But the ambassador of God may be very welcome to some of you, who have bitterly felt your estrangement, and are prepared by a sense of ruin for the good tidings of redemption. Ambassadors are welcome —

1. To a people who are engaged in a war which is beyond their strength, when their resources are exhausted and the peril of defeat is imminent. Ah, man! thou hast bid defiance to the King of heaven, whose power is irresistible. How canst thou stand against Him; shall the stubble contend with the fire? Happy for thee that terms of peace are proclaimed. Wilt thou not gladly accept what God proposeth to thee?

2. When the people have begun to feel the victorious force of the King. Certain cities have been taken by the sword and given up to be sacked. Now the poor, miserable inhabitants are glad enough to get peace. Doubtless there are some here who have known the power of God in their conscience. Surely you will rejoice to hear that there is an embassage of peace sent to you.

3. To those who are labouring under a fear of total and speedy destruction.

4. If the people know that he brings no hard terms. When a certain king sent to the inhabitants of a town that he would make peace with them provided he put out their right eyes and cut off their right hands, the ambassador who brought those tidings could not expect a cordial welcome. But there are no hard terms in the gospel. They are simply, "Believe and live"; not "Do, and live"; not "Feel this, and live"; but simply "Believe, and live." And should not the fame of the King increase the zest with which the embassage is received? No temporary peace is proposed that may presently be broken, but a peace that shall stand for ever and ever. This peace is proclaimed to all men. "Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved." None are excluded hence but those who do themselves exclude.

II. THE COMMISSION OF PEACE WHICH GOD HAS ENTRUSTED US TO PROCLAIM — "To wit, that God," etc. Let us open the commission. Our commission begins with the announcement that God is love, that He willeth to forgive. Our commission goes on to disclose the manner as well as the motive of mercy. God has been pleased to give His only-begotten Son that He might stand in the room of those whom God has chosen. Thus the justice of God should be satisfied, and His love flow over to the human race. But the proclamation needs something more to give us any satisfaction. Are there any tidings in it for you and me? Well, our message goes on to announce that whosoever in the wide world will come to Christ shall forthwith be at peace with God. Though only some will accept it, the preacher is not warranted in showing any partiality. When Charles II. came back to England there was an amnesty, except for certain persons, and these were mentioned by name — Hugh Peters and others were proscribed; but there is no exception here.

III. THE DUTY WE HAVE TO DISCHARGE — "As though God did beseech you by us," etc. Then we have not merely to read our commission, but to beseech you to accept it. Why? —

1. Because You are men, not machines.

2. Your hearts are so hard that you are prone to defy God's power and resist His grace.

3. You are unbelieving, and will not credit the tidings. You say it is too good to be true that God will have mercy on such as you are.

4. You are so proud and self-satisfied that you will sooner follow your own righteousness and cling to your own works than accept a peace already sealed and ratified, and now freely proffered to you for acceptance.

5. You are careless.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

As though God did beseech you by us: we pray You in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God
Man hath an indisposition God-ward, which doth expose him to the greatest danger.

1. That the motion of reconciliation begins with God.

2. Though the motion of reconciliation begins with God yet God expects our concurrence and consent. Reconciliation is never accomplished without us.

3. God in this motion of reconciliation accommodates Himself to humane principles, which are two: intelligence and freedom. To show you wherein this reconciliation doth consist, and whereby you may come to be reconciled to God.(1) Rectify your wrong apprehension of God. To lay aside false opinion, this is the first; but it will not be the last. We find in ourselves, that if we have had wrong apprehension of a person, if we have a better representation of him, we begin to change in our minds. Wrong apprehensions of God are very mischievous; they, keep us off from Him, at the greatest distance. The first step to reconciliation is to lay aside wrong apprehension.

2. Let your affections be inflamed toward God, for this is due order; let understanding go before and affections follow after. If we apprehend God to be good and lovely, we cannot but adore, love, and magnify Him; the second will follow upon the first.

3. Be reconciled to God by savouring the things of God. Through reconciliation we come to harmonise with the nature, and mind, and will of God: to think of things as He thinks; to relish them as He doth. Friends that are of a familiar acquaintance, they come so to harmonise, that you may know one by the other.

4. Be reconciled to God by imitating Him in acts of goodness, acts el mercy, acts of love.

5. Let us direct all our intentions towards Him.

6. Acknowledge His grace and goodness in Christ. Now to apply this-1. This doth highly recommend religion to us, in that it is a reconciling principle.

(1)The reconciliation of man to God.

(2)The reconciling of man to man.

(B. Whichcote, D. D.)

I have a special errand; I bring a message from the King. When the President of the United States sends a message to the national legislature it takes precedence of all other business. When the ambassador of England or Germany presents his credentials, he has behind him the authority and prestige of a mighty empire. How much more authoritative the voice of him who is the ambassador of the King of kings. I have no theory to propound, but only the command of nay Master. "I beseech you on the behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God." Notice: —

I. HOW POSITIONS HERE ARE REVERSED. It is not the rebel pleading for pardon, but the King asking the rebel to fling down his weapons; not the returning prodigal seeking the father, but the loving Father entreating the return of the wayward son. A son once quarrelled with and stole from his father, then fled to London, where he wasted his substance in sin. A detective discovered him in a haunt of vice — health and money gone. The father was notified, and hastened to the wretched abode. He climbed to the attic, and found his sick son in a broken, troubled sleep. He bent over him and was recognised. "My poor boy, I've come for you; will you go home with me?" "Go home! yes, if you'll forgive me, father." He lifted up the invalid, and took him home repentant and forgiven. So God says to you, "Poor son, daughter, come home, come home!"

II. THE CAUSE OF THIS CONROVERSY. Sin; it affects the whole nature. If I should let fall a single drop of ink into this glass of water it would discolour the whole. There is also a penalty to be met. Christ becomes our substitute. It is His grace that bridges the gulf between us and heaven.

III. THE ONE CONDITION OF RECONCILIATION — that is, submission to God's government. "Unconditional surrender" is the message. We remember how the large-hearted Lincoln pleaded, "be ye reconciled." But he held to the one condition, YIELD! SO God says, "Put away the evil of your doings." You cannot pass over this bridge till you have left at the gate your evil ways and thoughts.

IV. THE FRUITS OF THIS RECONCILEMENT are sweet and precious. You may be lying like a rosebush beaten by the blast and pelting rain. Your heart is crushed and bleeding, but as the sun comes and talks, as it were, with the flower; covers its petals with warm kisses and lifts it up to drink in the sunshine, and to be beautiful again, so will He give you beauty for ashes and joy for heaviness when you repentingly and lovingly open your heart to Christ. Conclusion. — You have heard of the Highland mother whose daughter had long led a reckless life in Edinburgh, sunk in sin. Her eyes were opened. She returned home to the but by the hillside, finding her way in the darkness. The daughter entered and found her old "mother" crooning over the ashes of the fire. The penitent was clasped in her mother's arms. "I came home in the dead of night and found the cabin door unlocked!" "It's never been looked since you went away, for I didna ken when you might come back." So God keeps the door of mercy ajar and waits to welcome you. Think of that Saxon word, well-come — that is, "It is well for you to come." To stay away is hell!

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

I. WHAT MINISTERS, AS CHRIST'S AMBASSADORS, ARE TO DO IN ORDER TO SINNERS BEING RECONCILED TO GOD. — They are not to be silent, but to speak; and as they are ambassadors of Christ, He should be the principal subject of their ministrations. But more particularly —

1. In order to sinners' reconciliation to God, it is necessary for ministers boldly to declare(1) The natural enmity of their hearts against Him. Every sin is an act of rebellion against God.(2) That though the groundwork of our reconciliation was laid in the eternal counsels of God, yet that it is actually brought about in time (Ephesians 2:13).(a) The law being fulfilled, and justice satisfied in the person of Christ, the offended Deity now says, "Fury is not in Me," This is reconciliation on God's part, with respect to which we have nothing to do but to cordially embrace it.(b) Reconciliation on our part is begun and completed by the grace of the Spirit. He slays the enmity of the heart, subdues the obstinacy of the will, and sanctifies the carnal affections, so that we are made to resign ourselves up to Him as our lawful Sovereign, and at the same time choose Him as our supreme good.

2. Christ's servants are likewise to declare that there is need of a farther reconciliation in those who are already reconciled to God. Be ye particularly reconciled(1) To the absolute sovereignty of God. Deny Him not that right which you yourselves exercise in disposing your favours as you please.(2) To the providences of God, so as neither to quarrel with Him for what He has done, nor prescribe to Him what He shall do.(3) To all the requirements of God. His laws are founded upon the highest reason, as well as enforced by the highest authority.(4) To the methods of Divine grace, and "the way of salvation" by Jesus Christ. Be ye then reconciled to the gospel, as a mystery far above your comprehension: yet a mystery of godliness, the manifest design of which is, to make you more like God, and meet for heaven.

3. Ministers are faithfully to denounce the terrible judgments of God against those who live and die unreconciled to him. They are to tell their hearers that if reconciliation do not take place in this world, it will not in the next.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH MINISTERS THUS TREAT WITH SINNERS ABOUT THEIR RECONCILIATION TO GOD.

1. With a perfect unanimity. However various their gifts and abilities may be, yet the subject of their ministrations is the same.

2. With warmth and affection. We not only direct and exhort, but "we pray you " (Acts 20:31).

3. With spiritual power and authority, "as though God did beseech you by us."

4. With meekness, gentleness, and all the means of persuasion, "We beseech you."Conclusion. — The subject teaches us —

1. The dreadful corruption and depravity of human nature. Nothing worse can be said of the devil than that he is an enemy to God.

2. The necessity of a Divine change; not a change of the conduct only, but of the inward frame and temper of the mind.

3. How much are we indebted to the Lord Jesus Christ, without whom this reconciliation never would, nor ever could have taken place!

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

I. This earnest entreaty of the apostle supposes ALIENATION FROM GOD, AND ENMITY AGAINST HIM, AS THE NATURAL CHARACTER OF MANKIND. That they are naturally averse from God may be proved from the general tendency of their desires and affections. The desire of knowledge is natural. The philosopher, the scholar, the artist, are all in earnest pursuit of knowledge. But of what kind? — on questions and speculations which natural objects suggest, and which are all of temporary importance. In no class of men, indeed, do we perceive a natural desire after the best of all knowledge, the knowledge of God, and of the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ. That knowledge is the last and the least desired. Again, we are all desirous of happiness; but where is it generally sought? Look at the young, and you find them pursuing their happiness among trifles and amusements that are ever shifting with the hour. Look at those of maturer age, in what do they place their happiness? In pursuits as idle as the play of children, but more dangerous. Again, we take much pleasure in social conversation. We are made for society, and the social principle belongs to our nature. If then no alienation from God has taken place, the most delightful topics of conversation would be His nature, His works, our" relation to Him, the duties we owe to Him, and the blessedness of communion with Him. Our experience, however, tells us that these are by no means the favourite themes of social conversation.

II. THE POSSIBILITY, NOTWITHSTANDING MAN'S NATURAL ENMITY, OF HIS RECONCILIATION TO GOD. Observe what wisdom and grace appear in the exact adaptation of the gospel to our actual condition! If reconciliation be proposed at all, it is not for the inferior and offending party to determine the way. God well knew that His wisdom alone was adequate to this. But in making known the purposes of His grace, how conspicuous does His wisdom, how glorious does His majesty, appear! His offended justice requires satisfaction, and His truth declares that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins." But further, in this work, in this combination of might, wisdom, and grace, we see each Person of the Godhead harmoniously engaged.

III. That our text SUGGESTS THE LEADING OBJECT OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY — to beseech men to be reconciled to God.

1. We beseech you by the imminent dangers of a state of enmity against God.

2. We beseech you by the mercies of God.

3. We beseech you by the blood of Christ shed for the remission of sins. Think of the costly sacrifice made for this gracious purpose.

4. We beseech you by the promised influences of the Holy Spirit, "be ye reconciled to God." We know that your own efforts cannot effect this object; but we call upon you to put into diligent use the means with which Divine grace has furnished you.

5. Finally, we beseech you, by the awful importance of eternity, and the value of your never-dying souls.

(T. Lewis.)

I. I SHALL ENDEAVOUR TO PROVE THAT A STATE OF SIN IS A STATE OF HOSTILITY AGAINST GOD; THAT THE IMPENITENT OFFENDER IS AT ENMITY WITH GOD. That obstinate sinners are the enemies of God, we have His own unerring word for our confirmation. This is the very name which He gives them, speaking by the prophet Isaiah, "I will avenge Me," says He, "of Mine enemies, and render vengeance to Mine adversaries." Nor is He unjust in branding them with this title, since their constant practice proves them to be no other, for they live in a direct opposition to His will, in a presumptuous violation of His laws. But the greatest instance of enmity is when we enter into a strict alliance with avowed adversaries. The first and greatest enemy of God is the devil, and the wicked man is entered into a close covenant with him. A second enemy of God is the world, and therefore the apostle positively assures us that the friendship of this world is enmity with God. But how dear and tender a union is there between this and the wicked man! A third enemy of God is the flesh. I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind. Friendship is generally founded upon a resemblance of dispositions, and enmity is often caused by a contrariety of humours. But what inclinations can be more opposite than those of God and the sinful man? Holiness and justice are the delights of the one; uncleanness and iniquity the darlings of the other.

II. TO INQUIRE INTO THE DISMAL CONSEQUENCES OF BEING GOD'S ENEMIES, AND HAVING HIM FOR OURS.

1. By considering the nature and probable effects of this enmity. How is it possible to taste any enjoyment of our lives, our fortunes, or any other friendship, whilst we thus continue out of favour with our God.

2. From the consideration of our own weakness and infirmity, and the vast power and ability of our formidable enemy, we may learn how miserable a thing it is to be at enmity with our God. We cannot resist His anger.

3. The great misery of this condition will yet further appear if we consider that he who has God for his enemy is thereby deprived of the only cordial which can sweeten the bitterness of this present life. For what is there that can carry a man comfortably through all the troubles and disappointments of this turbulent world, but a sober consideration of his living under the protection of Almighty God?

III. THE INVINCIBLE NECESSITY WHICH LIES UPON US OF COMPLYING WITH THE ADVICE WHICH THE APOSTLE HERE GIVES US, "That we should, be reconciled unto God." Having just laid before you the miserable consequences of continuing in a state of enmity with God, one would think any other arguments useless. Shall the traitor at the gallows need to be importuned to accept of pardon and be restored to his Prince's favour? One would think there should need no entreaty in such a case.

1. The infinite condescension of Almighty God in vouchsafing to make such a passionate address to us, should prevail with any grateful and ingenious soul to lay hold of the reconciliation which is offered by his God.

2. We should be prevailed with to be reconciled to God, because no just reason or pretence can be alleged for our continuing to stand out in hostility against Him. The causes which are wont to occasion our continuance in any enmity are either our hopes of victory, or our despair of peace, or the difficulty of the terms of our reconciliation, but none of these hindrances can fairly be pretended as the obstruction of our agreement with Almighty God.

3. We ought heartily to close with a reconciliation to our God, because otherwise we shall be unable to resist those enemies which we must expect to encounter in this troublesome world.

4. Let us reconcile ourselves to God, because then we shall be sure of such a friend as is able to deliver us out of all distresses, and to impart to us both temporal and eternal advantages. When once we have entered into a friendship with Him, we are placed beyond the reach of any other enemies; for who is he that will harm you if ye be the followers of that which is good?

(N. Brady.)

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