The Ministry of Reconciliation- 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

As we continue in our study of 2 Corinthians 5, we find that Paul now brings up the concept of reconciliation, which he introduces here by telling us that God “reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (Verse 18). Two questions immediately arise here: 1) What is meant by reconciliation 2) What is a ministry of reconciliation”? The Greek word reconciliation here is katalasso, which was used primarily in the Greek language in reference to the reconciliation of separated spouses, and refers to the restoration to a state of proper relations between two parties. This reconciliation here is provided by Christ. There has been a “separation” between God and man which has been caused by sin. Man has been estranged from God due to sin and stands in need of reconciliation. As we found in verses 14-17, man’s estrangement from God is due not to his behavior, but to his nature, which is the reason God needs to provide reconciliation by making believers new creations in Christ. By relating this new creation to our reconciliation, Paul is showing us here the necessary connection between reconciliation and justification. It is justification which provides for our reconciliation, since justification is the solution to the sin problem which brings about our estrangement. Reconciliation has been made possible for the “world” because the death of Christ has made justification possible for the “world”. This is because the death of Christ, which makes justification actual in our lives through faith, has provided God with the means to offer reconciliation by “not counting men’s sins against them” (verse 19). Justification by faith makes reconciliation between God and man possible because it deals with the issue which causes the estrangement, sin. Because of this, reconciliation has been made possible for the “world”. Every human being now can potentially be reconciled to God, the relation between God and anyone can now be restored to its proper state, they now can become the children of God (John 1:12). Having dealt with the first question posed here, we now turn to the second. The ministry of reconciliation to which Paul calls all believers in verse 18 is the message of reconciliation mentioned in verse 19, and our exhortation here is to “implore” the world to enter into the reconciliation which God has provided, which essentially means that our ministry and message of reconciliation consist of the sharing of the Gospel of justification by faith. Every human being has been estranged from God, separated from God due to his nature as a sinner, existing in a state of unrighteousness and facing eternal condemnation. The good news is that God has provided the means of reconciliation. The death of Christ on the cross paid the penalty for our sin and provided the means though which we can be justified through faith in Christ, made righteous (the meaning of justification) and made a new creation, and restored to a state of proper relations with God. All of this has been made possible for every human being, and is made actual through faith in Christ, which brings the justification necessary to make the reconciliation which God has made possible actual in their lives. So our ministry and message of reconciliation consist of the sharing of the Gospel with all whom God leads us to share it with, and it is in this way in which we “implore them on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God” (verse 20), who has provided, through justification, the means of reconciliation.

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