In the Bible, reconciliation is a change of personal relations between human beings (1 Sam. 29:4; Matt. 5:24; 1 Cor. 7:11) or between God and man (Rom. 5:1–11; 2 Cor. 5:18 f.; Col. 1:20; Eph. 2:16). By this change a state of enmity and estrangement is replaced by one of peace and fellowship.

The change between man and man is a twofold or mutual matter. When David is spoken of as reconciling himself with Saul, what is primarily meant is the change in Saul’s attitude and relation to David. Again, when separation between a man and his wife occurs, a change in both parties to the marriage relationship is envisioned.

God The Reconciler

In making peace between God and man, it is not a case of equal adversaries reconciling one another. Rather in the whole work of restoring the ruptured relationship between himself and rebellious man, “all things are of God” (2 Cor. 5:18, cf. Eph. 2:4; John 3:16). And while God’s wrath is called forth by man’s sin, his reconciling grace wells up spontaneously from his own great heart of love. In the miracle of grace, his everlasting love reaches out even for his enemies. Men do not reconcile God, but he so changes the situation between himself and man that he reconciles the world unto himself. God is the subject of the whole reconciling process. He sent forth his Son for this cause, he acted in him to remove the obstructions to peace, he established the ministry of reconciliation, he places men before the decision as to reconciliation, and he sheds abroad his love in our hearts that we may receive his reconciliation.

God wrought this reconciliation for us in Christ, so that apart from the Prince of Peace and his passion, God would not be to us what he is. We were “reconciled to God through the death ...

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