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;…
Christianity is eminently a remedial dispensation; it supposes disorder and confusion, and it seeks to introduce order and harmony. Now, it is this peculiar feature of the gospel as the religion of sinners that the apostle adverts to in this passage.
I. Consider the NECESSITY of reconciliation. Sin has broken the friendship between God and man. When God created man at first, He created him holy and happy. Adam was the friend of God. Ever since the Fall man has vainly endeavoured to hide himself from God, and to widen the distance between him and his Maker. Hence the fear of death, the terrors of an accusing conscience, the various bloody sacrifices among heathen nations. And this breach of friendship is mutual. On the one hand, God is justly offended with the sinner; He hates all the workers of iniquity; His justice, His holiness, and His truth, are directed against the transgressors of His law. "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear." And, on the other hand, the sinner is filled with enmity against God — he is averse to the spirituality and strictness of the Divine law. It is very true that God is a God of infinite mercy, and that the sinner is the object of His compassion; but He cannot possibly be merciful at the expense of His justice. But, behold, there may be reconciliation; the offended Majesty of heaven is willing to be reconciled. He who is the offended and injured party is the first to make the overtures of reconciliation. From the depths of His mercy proceeds a plan by which His justice might be satisfied, and yet the sinner saved.
II. Consider the NATURE of the reconciliation. The great ground upon which the reconciliation rests is the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. "God has reconciled us unto Himself by Jesus Christ; for He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Christ is the Mediator of reconciliation; He comes in between the two parties; He is the Day's-man betwixt us, who can lay His hand upon both. And it must ever be remembered that it is on the ground of His atonement that the reconciliation rests. The atonement of Christ has reconciled these opposing claims of justice and mercy. Here, in the words of the Psalmist, "Mercy and truth have met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other." The death of Christ has satisfied the claims of justice. The grand effect of the atonement of Christ is the non-imputation of sins to all who believe. "God," says the apostle, "is in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." This, of course, arises directly from the substitution of Christ; it is its immediate effect: we and He, as it were, change places; our sins are imputed unto Him, and His righteousness is imputed unto us. Further still, God hath given us the gospel as the word of reconciliation. "He hath committed to us the word of reconciliation."
III. Consider the MESSAGE of reconciliation. "We are ambassadors for Christ." Christ is the chief ambassador; but we are the delegated messengers of this peace — we are in Christ's stead. God might have sent angels as His ambassadors; they would be more worthy of so great a King and of so important a message. But, in condescension to human weakness, He has sent us weak and fallible men. He would rather allure us with love than terrify us by His greatness. Oh! how high and how responsible is our office! But what is the message? It is to treat with sinners on peace and reconciliation. The embassy is one of infinite grace. God promises that He is ready to receive sinners into His favour. And can it be that such a gracious message should be rejected? There are two motives which we would present before you — motives which the apostle uses in this very chapter: the one of fear, arising from a consideration of Christ on the throne of judgment; the other of love, arising from a consideration of love on the Cross of suffering.
(P. J. Gloag, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;