Analyzing 2 Corinthians 5:18a

The Apostle Paul says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ” (2 Cor 5:18a).

The words “all this” most likely refer to the two previous truths that (1) salvation results in seeing others and Jesus through spiritual eyes (5:16) and that (2) salvation results in a sinner becoming a new creation in Christ (5:17).

Paul, then, affirms that the sinner’s transformed eyes and life are the work of God and God alone.

The rest of 2 Cor 5:18a describes God as the one “who reconciled us to himself through Christ,” and this is the part of the verse I wanted to get to.  Observe the following 5 glorious truths:

(1) God is the subject of the verb–and thus he is the initiator of reconciliation.  Man doesn’t reconcile himself; God reconciles man.  When we have peace with God through reconciliation, it is God who has taken the decisive steps, not man.

(2) We are the object of the verb “reconcile”–thus, sinners are the recipients of God’s act of reconciliation.  We receive what we didn’t initiate; we benefit from what we did not earn.

(3) The verb “reconcile” assumes that there is a barrier between two parties (God and man) that must be overcome.  Our sin alienated us from our Creator, so God took the necessary measures to overcome the barrier of sin (2 Cor 5:21).  If we are not reconciled to God, there remains enmity and hostility between us and our Creator.

(4) The means of God’s reconciling work is his Son, Jesus Christ.  The phrase “through Christ” has in view the work of the cross (2 Cor 5:14, 21).  Jesus died for sinners, and therefore God can reconcile sinners “through Christ.”  God does not reconcile sinners apart from the perfect atoning work of his Son.

(5) God is not only the initiator of reconciliation, he is the goal as well.  God reconciles sinners “to himself.”  Believers, then, have been reconciled to the one from whom they were once alienated.

Praise the Lord for gospel truths clustered so compactly in only half a verse!


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