The Objective Nature of the Reconcilation -- By: Willard Maxwell Aldrich

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 118:469 (Jan 1961)
Article: The Objective Nature of the Reconcilation
Author: Willard Maxwell Aldrich


The Objective Nature of the Reconcilation

Willard Maxwell Aldrich

[Willard M. Aldrich is President of the Multnomah School of the Bible, Portland, Oregon, and the Editor of The Doorstep Evangel.]]

When the Apostle Paul stated that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor 5:19), did he mean that God actually reconciled the world unto Himself, or did he mean that He was just trying to do so? And if God actually reconciled the world unto Himself, why then the need of the word of reconciliation, “Be ye reconciled to God”?

It is the purpose of this article to show that God did something of infinite and objective importance for the world regardless of whether it is appropriated by the individual or not. It is called “reconciling the world unto himself.” It is the further purpose to show that a reconciled world must be reconciled to God, which on the face of it sounds paradoxical, but what is actually involved is that the term reconcile is used in a limited or restricted sense in the first statement and in a fuller sense in the second one.

Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations following estrangement or enmity. As used in the Bible in reference to God and man, it implies four things: (1) the removal of man’s sin as the cause of estrangement from God; (2) God’s satisfaction with this disposition of sin; (3) His declaration that man has been received back into His favor, and (4)man’s acceptance of God’s proffered favor.

Reconciliation presented two problems to God: (1) the removal of the cause of man’s estrangement, and (2) the removal of the enmity in man’s heart. The solution of these two problems results in a change of relationship between God and man and a change of attitude on man’s part toward God. The Greek work katallasso, translated reconcile, means to exchange, or to change thoroughly, and the change is twofold as previously stated.

As the term is used in the Bible, it sometimes means only the changed relationship between God and man as effeeted by the cross, wherein God is not imputing trespasses, and again it is used to signify the actual restoration to friendship which results from a man changing his attitude toward God.

The word atonement serves as an illustration of a similar

twofold usage of a word. Like reconciliation, atonement sometimes signifies the provision for getting right with God and sometimes means the actual state of being right with Him. It means expiation—t...

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