The Person and Work of Christ Part XIII: Reconciliation -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 120:477 (Jan 1963)
Article: The Person and Work of Christ Part XIII: Reconciliation
Author: John F. Walvoord


The Person and Work of Christ
Part XIII:
Reconciliation

John F. Walvoord

Most of the difficulties in definition and exposition of the doctrine of reconciliation resolve when the Biblical passages pertinent to this truth are studied. Likewise, the debated point of the extent of reconciliation yields to patient exegesis.

Important Passages on Reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:17–21. This central passage dealing with reconciliation introduces the concept that the believer reconciled to God is a new creation. The key phrase is found in verse 17, “If any man is in Christ.” The new creation is in contrast to the former position in Adam, in which man was doomed to die and under hopeless condemnation (Rom 5:11–21). “The old things” are therefore said to be “passed away” in the sense that the believer in Christ has an entirely new position. He belongs to the new creation instead of the old, the Second Adam instead of the First Adam.

This total change is indicated by the word reconciliation in that God has reconciled the believer “to himself through Christ.” As Morris states: “First of all let us notice that the process the apostle has in mind is one which is wrought by God. ‘All things,’ he tells us, ‘are of God, who reconciled us’; ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself,’ ‘him…he made to be sin on our behalf.’ Though it is true that there is an aspect in which men may be exhorted to be reconciled to God, yet there is no question that Paul is thinking of something God has done for men, and not of some merely human activity.”1 God is the subject, man is the object, Christ is the means.

Because man is given the new standing of being reconciled to God, he also has “the ministry of reconciliation,” as

defined in verse 19, “to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses.” Here is the grand reason for man being reconciled to God, namely, that he is in Christ and in this position God has reconciled man unto himself. By the act of imputation He does not impute their sins to them, but instead imputed sin to Christ.

Of interest is the fact that “the world” (Gr. kosmos) is used, meaning something more than believers only. It is rather that Christ in His death made a forensic provision for the entire world and has provided reconciliati...

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