The Incarnation; God's Work in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;…

God is a great worker. He is the mainspring of all activity in the universe but that of sin. There are at least four organs through which he works: material laws, animal instincts, moral mind, and Jesus Christ. By the first He carries on the great revolutions of inanimate nature; by the second He preserves, guides, and controls all the sentient tribes that populate the earth, the air and sea; by the third, through the laws of reason and the dictates of conscience, He governs the vast empire of mind; and by the fourth, namely, Christ, He works out the redemption of sinners in our world. There is no more difficulty in regarding Him in the one person — Christ, for a certain work — than there is in regarding Him as being in material nature, animal instinct, or moral mind. The text leads us to two remarks concerning God's work in Christ: —

I. IT IS A WORK OF RECONCILING HUMANITY TO HIMSELF. "He is reconciling the world unto Himself;"

1. The work implies —

(1) Enmity on man's part; and the existence of this enmity is patent to all. "The carnal mind," etc.

(2) A change of mind in one of the parties.

2. Paul speaks of the human world as being reconciled to God in contradistinction —

(1) To fallen angels. Hell hates God, but He does not work for its reconciliation.

(2) To any particular class of the human family. Some would limit the redeeming work to the few; but it is not so restricted. "He is a propitiation, not for our sins only," etc.

II. IT IS A WORK INVOLVING THE REMISSION OF SINS. "Not imputing their trespasses unto them." Three facts will throw light on this.

1. A state of enmity against God is a state of sin. There may be virtue in disliking some persons, but it is evermore a sin to dislike God; He is infinitely good.

2. A state of sin is a state exposed to punishment.

3. In reconciliation the enmity is removed, and therefore the punishment obviated. What is pardon? A remitting of just punishment — a separating of man from his sins and their consequences. This God does through Christ.


1. It is a work of unbounded mercy. Who ever heard of the offended party seeking the friendship of the offender, especially if the offender was sovereign and the other subject? But this is what the Infinite God is doing in Christ, and doing earnestly every hour.

2. It is a work essential to the well-being of humanity. It is impossible that the creature can be happy whose thoughts, feelings, and purposes are directly opposed to the being, purposes, and procedure of the Absolute.

3. It is a work exclusively of benign moral influence. No coercion on the one hand, no angry denunciations on the other, can produce reconciliation; it is the work of loving logic.

4. It is a work which must be gradual in its progress. You cannot force mind; it must have time to reflect, repent, and resolve.

(G. S. Barrett, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

WEB: But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation;

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