Bible Subjects: Reconciliation

AT the request of different readers we resume our Bible subjects. Dear young Christian friends, be diligent readers of and searchers into the precious mine of God's truth. Dear Christian workers, be careful to have exact understanding of the great gospel truths, for you will reap in the souls of men the kind of seed you sow.
Reconciliation is a Bible truth of great practical importance, and we will endeavor to approach it. Reconciliation is the change of the state of enmity to that of favor. Man is at enmity to God by nature, as Scripture declares, and as facts witness. There is nothing in man, fallen as he is, common with God. God is holy; man is sinful. Man's conscience makes him fear the holy One, and his love of evil creates in him not one wish to return to God. Scripture is very explicit as to man's hatred towards God, and we cannot receive its teaching on reconciliation unless we bow to its declarations as to our state of natural opposition to God. "Enemies" (Rom. 5:1010For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)), "alienated" or estranged (Eph. 4:1818Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (Ephesians 4:18)), "alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works" (Col. 1:22To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:2)), are the solemn realities given in God's word.
The starting point with us shall be Rom. 5:1010For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10): "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." In this text four facts are stated. Our natural state—enemies; the time of our being reconciled—when we were enemies; to whom We were reconciled—God; and the means of the reconciliation—the death of His Son. This text should be very earnestly pondered over. Again in this passage—"God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 5:1818And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:18))—we are presented with kindred truth. God produces the gracious state of favor on behalf of those and in the hearts of those who were once His enemies. He does this blessed work for us by or through Jesus Christ—and He works in our hearts by His Spirit, so that we receive the reconciliation.
It is apparent that if two men are severed from each other by existing enmity, unless the cause of their enmity be removed, they must remain sundered from each other. And it is also apparent that if the wrong be only on one side, and that the man who has done the wrong will not move towards him whom he has offended, the wrong-doer must remain at a distance, unless indeed the one wronged should graciously make the advances. Again, if all the strength be on the side of the one who has been wronged, the case of the weak and wicked man is in itself hopeless. Now we do not read in the Scriptures of poor, frail man making any advances to God, or even wishing for reconciliation with God, but we learn that God is the reconciler, and that "all is of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself." "All is of God" is a grand gospel note.
The means God uses to effect the reconciliation according to His own holy requirements is the death of His Son. Not the life, not the miracles or tender works of love of Jesus, but His death. It was necessary before God could bring us into friendship with Himself, that everything in us contrary to Himself should be put away out of sight. Hence it is nothing, less than the death of Christ by which God reconciles poor sinners to Himself, for the death of Christ is indeed the end in God's sight of all those for whom Christ died.
We are not yet speaking of what God does in our hearts, and His work of grace there, our first object being to center our thoughts on the great fact that God Himself is the reconciler, and that the death of His blessed Son is that whereby He effects His gracious and wondrous work for His own glory.
Now let us inquire how it is with ourselves, and whether we can truly say that we are no longer enemies to the blessed God. He is love, and He loves poor sinners, and this the death of His dear Son most sweetly proclaims. Almighty power is with God; no advance is made naturally by man to seek His favor, yet God's pleasure is in men, and He subdues our hearts and brings His enemies to love Him.