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;…

Great truths hang together. When the Lord Jesus had told Nicodemus of regeneration, he immediately proceeded to teach him salvation through a Redeemer. So when the Apostle Paul has spoken of new creation in Christ (ver. 17), he instantly follows it with the doctrine of reconciliation through Christ.

I. THE NEED OF RECONCILIATION. The world is not in harmony or at peace with God. Sin has done it. On the one hand, God's displeasure is declared against the workers of iniquity; on the other, those workers are afraid of God and alienated from him. A great gulf yawns between God and man; and the need of reconciliation is the need of a bridge across that chasm. Or, a great mountain is cast up between God and man; and the need of reconciliation is the need of that mountain becoming a plain, so that God and man may not merely approach, but unite and be at peace. "What can be the difficulty," some exclaim, "if God desires it? Is he not omnipotent, and can he not accomplish whatever he pleases?" But we speak of a moral obstacle, not a physical. And, while God can certainly do what he pleases, he cannot please to do anything but what is perfectly righteous. So there is a difficulty. It is twofold: there is a sentence of condemnation in heaven against the transgressors of the law of righteousness; and there is an enmity to God or a cowering dread of him in the hearts of those transgressors on earth.

II. THE AUTHOR OF RECONCILIATION. "All things [i.e. all the things of the new creation] are of God, who has reconciled us to himself." Man, the creature and the sinner, should have been the first to seek the healing of the breach, by suing for pardon and imploring mercy from God. But it has not been so. The initiative has been taken by God, who is rich in mercy, and, loving the world, has provided for its reconciliation by Jesus Christ.

III. THE METHOD OF RECONCILIATION. Messages sent from a distant heaven or throne of God could not suffice. There was need of an authorized Messenger. So God sent his only begotten Son. For so great a work was constituted a unique and wonderful personality. The Son of God became man and yet continued Divine. So, in the very constitution of his person, he brought the Divine and the human together. And thus his relation to both parties was such as perfectly fitted him to be the Reconciler. He loved God, and therefore was faithful to all Divine claims and prerogatives; while at the same time he loved man and was intent on securing his salvation.

1. He dealt with the difficulty on the side of eternal righteousness. He did so by taking the room and the responsibility of the transgressors and making atonement for them. And the hand of God was in this. "He hath made him," etc. (ver. 21). "Made... sin," though he never was a sinner, and laden with it as a burden, enveloped in it as a mantle of shame. "Jehovah laid upon him the iniquity of us all." The issue is that we "become the righteousness of God in him." And in this is nothing illusive or fictitious. There was a real laying of our sins on the Lamb of God, that there may be a real laying or conferring of Divine righteousness on us who believe in his Name.

2. He deals with the difficulty of alienated feeling. No change is needed in the mind or disposition of God. He does not need to be persuaded to love the world. All the salvation in Christ proceeds from his love. But the enmity of men to God must be removed, and this is effected by the revelation of God as gracious and propitious to sinners in Christ Jesus. When this is known and believed, the heart turns to God and actual reconciliation is made.

IV. THE WORD OF RECONCILIATION. (Vers. 19, 20.) When St. Paul preached the gospel it was as though God entreated or exhorted the people through his servant's lips. He was an ambassador, not a plenipotentiary with powers to discuss and negotiate terms of peace, but a King's messenger sent to proclaim terms of free grace and to press the acceptance of them on the enemies of the King. This embassy continues. Do not meet it with excuses and delays. - F.

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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