The Ministry Of Reconciliation 2 Cor. 5. 19-21

E W Rogers, Oxford

Part 3 of 6 of the series Familiar Words

Reconciliation—Another Familiar Word. Those who wish to be “ambassadors for Christ” will be grateful for this valuable exposition of an important passage.

IT is regrettable that in both the A.V. and R. V. the pronoun “you” is inserted in v, 20, for it gives a wrong impression, of what the Apostle wrote. Paul is not here intreating the Corinthian saints, to be reconciled; rather he is informing them of the nature of the message which he, as an ambassador, delivered to men pursuant to his “ministry of reconciliation.” The inclusion of the word “therefore” (v. 20, R.V.) should have prevented the translators from adding the word “you.”

It is not to be supposed that the message “Be ye reconciled to God” implies that God is reconciled to man. God cannot change. “I am Jehovah, I change not.” If reconciliation is to be effected, it is necessary that man should return to his original attitude of believing God. The first man fell through unbelief and disobedience to God. If man is to be restored, he must believe and obey God. In other words, he must change his mind.

One essential part of Paul’s ministry was that

THE AGGRIEVED APPROACHES THE OFFENDER.

In the ordinary course it is the offender who makes overtures to the aggrieved with a view to reconciliation; but in the gospel it is God, against whom man had sinned, who approaches man with the view of reconciliation. It is not man who approaches God. The first step is taken by the God of all grace. “God was in Christ”; “God did intreat by us”; “God made Him to be sin.”' By these means God makes plain His attitude toward the sinner. He comes to him in the Person of His Son. He intreats the sinner to change his attitude toward God because a righteous ground has been provided whereby the guilt involved in man’s indifference and hostility can be righteously pardoned. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Another feature of Paul’s ministry was that

RECONCILIATION APART FROM NATIONAL OR OTHER CONSIDERATIONS IS MADE POSSIBLE.

“Reconciling the world unto Himself.” The fact here emphasized is that it is “the world” which is afforded the opportunity of reconciliation. This was God’s purpose in sending His Son into the world; for He so loved “the world.” In the gospel, legal and national conditions are set aside and “done away” with in Christ. The “middle wall of partition” has been broken down once and for all. The heart of God could not be restricted; it goes out to the whole human race and to every sinner. It was this which led Paul to Europe and urged him to enter “regions beyond,” and moved him to yearn for his own fellow countrymen and also to turn to the Gentiles.

Another aspect of Paul’s , ministry was that

THE RETRIBUTIVE DEALING WITH SIN IS SUSPENDED FOR THE PRESENT.

If God were “to impute unto men their trespasses” to-day, they would everywhere be summarily punished; but He has found a righteous way of granting an amnesty, and of thus affording rebels an opportunity for acknowledging the claims of the rightful King. Retributive dealing with sin is not cancelled; it is merely suspended. Sin must be followed by punishment, and unless a valid substitute is found the penalty must be suffered by the sinner himself. To the “glory of God” that Substitute is found in the One “who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”

AN ABSENT CHRIST.

Although God was in Christ, Christ was despised and rejected, and crucified and has now been received back into heaven. Yet the purpose of God in regard to sinners has not been defeated. “On behalf of” an absent Christ there are ambassadors going about who intreat; sinners; so that it is as if God, who was in Christ, were intreating by those who plead on behalf of or “in the stead of” an absent Christ. This is of vital importance, for Paul refers to it twice (see v. 20), “On behalf of Christ” (R.V.). The evangelist in his ministry speaks on behalf of Christ who, were He bodily present, would proclaim the same message, but, being absent, works through His ambassadors who themselves have responded to this ministry of reconciliation (v. 18).

They “intreat”—indeed, they “beseech” men to be reconciled to God.

THE RIGHTEOUS GROUND.

The offer to sinful man of reconciliation can be made with assurance because a valid ground now exists on which God can be merciful. Man is sinful: Christ was sinless: but God made Him to be sin, and the believer becomes “the righteousness of God in Him”; that is, “in” virtue of Him; or, “in” association with Him. “In Christ” man becomes a new creation: all things are changed. Christ took the place of the sinner who repents and believes so that the believer might enjoy all that Christ has secured.

“For us,” i.e., “on our behalf” (the pronoun is emphatic) He was made sin; “we” (also emphatic), though erstwhile rebels, are become righteousness. When a condemned, criminal has suffered the due penalty, the law thereafter has nothing against him. He is judicially righteous, because his crime has been expiated. In the believer’s case the expiation was effected by a valid Substitute.

THE LESSON.

All believers are not filled with the same enthusiasm which characterized Paul. The Corinthians certainly fell short in this regard. Hence Paul, does not exhort them to be reconciled, for they had been reconciled already, but he urges them “not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor. 6. 1). That is, he exhorts them that being indebted to the gospel they should not be negligent in making it known. He exhorts them to “work together,” seeing that “now is the acceptable time,” that is to say, now is the time when God is accepting sinners and imparting to them salvation. To-morrow may be too late for saints to serve and too late for sinners to be saved.

There are 10 articles in
ISSUE (1947, Volume 1 Issue 11)

Babylon Part 1

David’s Reign—it’s Signal Failures

The Ministry Of Reconciliation 2 Cor. 5. 19-21

Question: Does 1 Cor. 14. 34 apply to all meetings when brethren are present?

Question: How far are we justified in speaking of God as Father when preaching the gospel?

Question: To what does the phrase, “that which is perfect,” refer in 1 Cor. 13?

Question: What are we to understand by the “spiritual body” referred to in 1 Cor. 15?

Training for Missionary Work

Valuable advice from a Veteran Evangelist - Making a Gospel Mission a Success

The Will of God

There are 6 articles in this series

Justification

Sanctification

The Ministry Of Reconciliation 2 Cor. 5. 19-21

Redemption Part 1

Redemption Part 2

Redemption Part 3

There are 82 articles by this author

To Spread the Gospel - the Believer’s Responsibility

Smyrna

Pergamos

Thyatira

Sardis

Philadelphia

Laodicea

The Purpose of God

Paul’s Prayer

What a Change!

The Epistle to the Ephesians

The Mystery

Ministry in the Church

Gathered Threads

Some Practical Lessons

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles - Introduction

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 6

2 Timothy 1: ‘Be Courageous’

2 Timothy 2: ‘Be Careful’

2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

2 Timothy 4: ‘Be Considerate’

Titus 1: God is Faithful

Titus 2: Christian Behaviour and its Effects

Titus 3: The Christian and the State

The Believer’s Responsibility in Regard to the Spread of the Gospel

The Infallible Christ

Will the Church go through the Great Tribulation?

The Man of God out of Judah

Having been Gathered Out

‘For Me to Live is Christ’

Short Papers on Some Fundamental Truths

After all This

The Scriptures of Truth (Part 1)

The Scriptures of Truth (Part 2)

Evidences of New Birth

The Inspiration of Scripture

On the being of God - The Holy Trinity

The Attributes of Divine Persons

Eternal Punishment

Gospel Preaching: the Message, Motive and Method

The Believer’s Responsibility in regard to the Spread of the Gospel. 2 KINGS 7 : 9.

Question: What is the meaning of “being crafty, I caught you with guile”? (2 Cor. 12: 16)

Question: Ought Christians to testify to all whom they meet?

Question: Is it wise to submit to being called “Plymouth Brethren”?

Question: Assembly Ceasing to Exist

Question: Delivering unto Satan

Question: Does the pre-eminence of Christ Guarantee that the Saved will Outnumber the Unsaved?

Question: The Activities of The Holy Spirit in the Eternal State

Question: Is the Devil PERSONALLY able to operate in more than one place at a time?

Question: Are the instructions in James 5. 14 applicable to-day?

Question: What was wrong with the desire of the sons of Eli for roast flesh Instead of boiled flesh?

Question: Does John 14. 6 imply that the unevangelised heathen will be lost?

Question: Conviction of Sin?

Question: Attitude of Young Believers in Assembly

Question: Why did blind Bartimeus address the Lord Jesus as “Jesus, thou Son of David”?

Question: Were the “miracles” of Peter and Paul examples of faith comparable with... Heb. 11?

Question: Ministry before the Breaking of Bread?

Question: Necessary to be Baptised to Break Bread?

Question: Concerning “He that believeth on Me the works that I do shall he do also.”

Question: In what sense have believers been crucified with Christ?

Question: The Publishing of Able Brethren's Addresses to Conventions, etc.?

Question: Why are the Proverbs Neglected as a Basis for Practical Ministry?

Prayer to the Lord Jesus

Sanctification

The Ministry Of Reconciliation 2 Cor. 5. 19-21

Question: Does 1 Cor. 14. 34 apply to all meetings when brethren are present?

Question: How far are we justified in speaking of God as Father when preaching the gospel?

Question: What are we to understand by the “spiritual body” referred to in 1 Cor. 15?

Question: To what does the phrase, “that which is perfect,” refer in 1 Cor. 13?

Question: How is it that many of the laws in the O.T. appear to be quite cruel?

Question: If believers go to be with Christ immediately at death how can they be raised?

Question: What happens to the believer when he dies before the Lord returns?

Question: Sins of the believer at the Judgement Seat of Christ?

Question: Satan disputing with Michael?

Victory And Defeat

Paul’s thorn in the flesh

Evidences of New Birth