What is Reconciliation? Is Reconciliation with God Possible?

John MacArthur

What is Reconciliation? Is Reconciliation with God Possible?

Reconciliation is by the will of God and his forgiveness of the sins of all the people who would ever believe. Reconciliation happens by the obedience of faith.

The message of the gospel is the message of reconciliation. The alienated sinner can be reconciled to God. Reconciliation with God is possible. That’s what we proclaim – that’s what we preach. That’s what we teach. That’s what we live for, and that perhaps is what some even die for.

Reconciliation is by the will of God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

All that is new in regeneration, in the new birth, in conversion – all that is new in salvation comes from God.

Reconciliation is by the act of forgiveness.

The only way reconciliation can occur is if the one who has been offended is willing to forgive. That’s what verse 19 says.

That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)

That is the only way that reconciliation can take place – if the barrier, the offense, the sin is removed.

Reconciliation happens by the obedience of faith.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Isn’t that fascinating? All these things are from God. It is God doing the reconciling in his divine sovereignty. And yet, here we are begging people to be reconciled to the God who is the reconciler.

How can God forgive sins and be just?

How can God say, “You are forgiven. Your sins are removed as far as the east is from the west, buried in the depths of the sea (Psalm 103:12), and I remember them no more (Hebrews 8:12).” How can he do that and be just? The answer comes in verse 2 Corinthians 5:21.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

God made him who had no sin” Who’s that? Short list. One name. As the writer of Hebrews says, “the holy, harmless, undefiled one,” (Hebrews 7:26). The one of whom even men said, “I find no fault in him,” (Luke 23:4, John 19:4).  The one of whom the Father said, “This is my beloved son of whom I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17, Luke 3:22). The sinless one, the spotless one.

How is God going to be just and the justifier of sinners? He “made him who had no sin,” meaning Christ, “to be sin for us.” On the cross, God poured out the full fury of his wrath against all the sins of all the people who would ever believe.

As I analyze the cross, there really were only three hours when this took place. All of that took place in three hours.

How is it possible that the sinners of human history will go to hell and be in hell forever, and all of them in hell will never pay the price for their sins, but Christ can pay the price in full for all the sins of all who would ever believe in three hours? The only answer I can give you is because he is an infinite person – he has an infinite capacity to absorb that judgement.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock/UserGI1


Originally published March 06, 2019.

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