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God . . . through Christ reconciled us to himself. (2 CORINTHIANS 5: 18)

Total reconciliation demands a total effort by the offending party to make amends. When Jesus satisfied God’s justice and propitiated God’s wrath, He did all that was required to remove the enmity of God toward us. By His death He bridged the vast gulf of divine alienation between us and objectively restored us to a position of friendship and favor with God. But it was God, the offended party, who sent His Son to reconcile us to Himself. “When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Romans 5: 10, NIV).

This historical, objective work of reconciliation by Christ has to be personally received by each of us. That’s why Paul wrote, “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5: 20).

This is a most amazing passage of Scripture. Having objectively secured reconciliation for us, Christ now appeals to us through His gospel messengers to “be reconciled to God” — to receive His work of reconciliation. We ourselves should have been on our faces before God, imploring Him to be reconciled to us. Instead, we see God reconciling us to Himself through the death of His Son, then appealing to us to receive that reconciliation. What pure grace and mercy on God’s part!

To add to our amazement, we know that, left to ourselves, we would never even want to be reconciled to God. According to Paul, we were so blinded by Satan that we could not even see the light of the gospel and receive it (2 Corinthians 4: 4). Therefore God sends His Holy Spirit to open our hearts to understand and receive the message of reconciliation (Acts 16: 14). O, what wondrous love, what matchless grace, that God would do everything necessary to reconcile us to Himself!

The Gospel for Real Life, Jerry Bridges