Reconciliation with God and Particularity
Christ the Lord, by the sacrifice of Himself, has cleansed us from sin, imputed His perfect righteousness to us and brought us into a loving and harmonious relationship with God. That is what it means that Christ has reconciled us. To “reconcile” means “To reestablish a close relationship between...To make compatible, harmonious, or consistent.” How a relationship is reestablished is seen from the federal headship of Adam. In him, before the Fall we too were, as he was our representative, righteous before God. But as he fell from the state of his innocence, so likewise we fell with him and lost the harmonious relationship we had in him with God.
There are a couple of passages that speak about Christ’s reconciliation of us to God. I would like to look at one specifically. The text is 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. The other text which speaks of God reconciliation is found in Colossians 1:20-23 and is to be interpreted in the same way that 2 Corinthians 5 is interpreted. There is no major difference.
This is going to be a little bit lengthy and that because I decided that we cannot rightly deal with verses 18-19 if we do not understand the clear context of Christ’s death for a specific people. The context speaks of the ministry of reconciliation, which we as believers and evangelists, have received to share with the world. We are to call everyone to repentance and faith in Christ. In verse 14 Paul says that the love of Christ controls, constrains and compels us based on the fact that Christ has died for all. But we must dig deeper to understand the meaning of the word “all” in this context. To better understand the passage, we can illustrate what vv. 14-15 are saying in a table:
|The Action||The Result|
|One has died for all||All have died|
|He died for all||“...no longer live for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised”|
Christ’s death was not His death alone, but also the death of “all” for whom He died. How can this be if this speaks of all men without exception? For all men were already dead in sin and trespasses because of Adam (Eph. 2:1-3), but this speaks of Christ’s substitutionary death. This is seen from the fact that Paul speaks of us being united to Christ in His death. See for example Galatians 2:20—
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Who else but the elect can say these words? Can any reprobate tr...