2 Corinthians 5:18 Commentary
2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. (Lockman)
Barclay: And all things are from God who reconciled us to himself by means of Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation, (Westminster Press)
ESV: All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; (ESV)
HCSB: Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
KJV: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
NEB: From first to last this has been the work of God. He has reconciled us men to himself through Christ, and he has enlisted us in this service of reconciliation. (New English Bible - Oxford Press)
NET: And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (NET Bible)
MH: This new situation is wholly God’s doing, for he is the one who restored us to his favor through the work of Christ and entrusted us with the task of announcing this reconciliation. (Murray Harris' expanded paraphrase of 2Corinthians).
NLT: And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: All this is God's doing, for he has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ; and he has made us agents of the reconciliation. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has appointed us to serve in the ministry of reconciliation.
Wuest: But the aforementioned all things are from God as a source, the One who reconciled us to himself through the intermediate agency of Christ and gave to us the ministry whose work is that of proclaiming the message of this reconciliation, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: And the all things are of God, who reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and did give to us the ministration of the reconciliation,
|NOW ALL THESE THINGS ARE FROM GOD, WHO RECONCILED US TO HIMSELF THROUGH CHRIST: ta de panta ek tou theou tou katallacantos hemas eauto dia Christou: (all: Jn 3:16,27 Ro 11:36 1Co 1:30 8:6 12:6 Col 1:16,17 Jas 1:17) (who: Lev 6:30 Eze 45:15 Da 9:24 Ro 5:1,10,11 Eph 2:16 Col 1:20,21 Heb 2:17 1Jn 2:2 4:10)
THE MINISTRY & MESSAGE
Now (de) - Barnett writes "The unemphatic particle (de) at the head of this sentence marks a further development in the writer’s line of thought." (The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Eerdmans) (Wordsearch) ("May well be regarded as the finest conservative exposition of this epistle"—Cyril J Barber)
All...from God - From God = He is the Source. He is the Agent. He is the Initiator of reconciliation. This is also a good reminder that the supernatural transformation just described (2Co 5:17) originates from God (cp Paul's great doxology Ro 11:33, 34, 35, 36-note, cp 1Cor 8:6). God is the "driving force" behind the redemption and reconciliation of all mankind. He acts "unilaterally."
James Reid in The Interpreter's Bible adds that...
All things are from God - See Devotional by F B Meyer
Spurgeon amplifies all things are from God writing that...
R. Kent Hughes adds that all through this section (2Cor 5:18, 19, 20) what
Bernard observes that...
Now all these things are from God - What is the natural question you should ask? What things? Clearly Paul is pointing back to the supernatural work of God including the believer's death and resurrection in Christ and especially the the new creation of sinners into new creatures in Christ. Some commentators restrict the "things" to the new creation of the preceding verse, but others (Bengel, et al) take this as an allusion that goes back to 2Cor 5:14.
Spurgeon explains that
Henry Alford explains all these things writing that...
Through Christ- Paul goes on to explain this truth in 2Cor 5:21. God's plan of redemption and reconciliation is solely based on Christ's finished work on the Cross (see also Ro 5:10-note below). In other words reconciliation of man to God is effected through Christ because His death removed the barrier to reconciliation as described even in the OT by the prophet Isaiah...
Paul's phrase through Christ parallels a similar teaching in Romans where he explains...
Paul again alludes to the fact that the reconciliation is through Christ in his letter to the Colossians...
Hughes writes that...
MAN RECONCILED TO GOD
God who reconciled us to Himself - Notice it does not say that God needed to be won over, but the reconciliation is described as taking place in them rather than in Him. In other words reconciliation is not something man does, but something he receives by grace through faith in Christ. As someone has well said "Religion is man’s feeble effort to be reconciled to God."
How helpless guilty nature lies,
Alfred Plummer adds that...
Garland has an interesting way of saying the same thing...
In the introduction to his sermon on reconciliation, Spurgeon writes...
Reconciled (2644)(katallasso from katá = an intensifier + allásso = change) means to exchange one thing for another and was used for example to describe the exchange of coins for others of equal value. This Its original meaning of to change, exchange, etc. transferred to mean to reconcile. Reconciliation refers to an objective state of peace, not simply a feeling of peacefulness.
Katallasso (and katallage - see 2Co 5:19) were frequently used in secular Greek. The Greek words for reconciliation derive from words for exchange, in which by extension enmity is exchanged for peaceful relations. And so the Greeks spoke of people in opposition to each other being “reconciled” or being made friends again. When people change from being at enmity with each other to being at peace, they are said to be reconciled. Katallasso meant to legally reconcile two disputing parties in court. Paul used this common Greek term in his writings to describe a believer’s reconciliation to God, such a reconciliation made possible by the finished work Christ on Calvary.
Notice the aorist tense which defines a completed action in the past.
Thrall explains that the aorist tense indicates
Vincent’s note on katallasso is illuminating...
Katallasso refers to the exchange of hostility or enmity to a friendly relationship. The basic idea of reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relationships after a period of enmity or estrangement. Thus katallasso means to change a person for the purpose of being able to have fellowship together. As discussed, Scripture always portrays God as the Reconciler and sinners as the ones reconciled, since it was human sin that ruptured the relationship between God and man Isaiah, for example, recording...
In the NT, katallasso speaks of the change that God makes in man through regeneration (New Birth), so that he may be reconciled to God. The idea is to set up a relationship of peace not existing before. To reiterate, man is reconciled to God, but God is not said to be reconciled to man.
Reconciliation produces restoration of a relationship of peace which has been disturbed between God and man in the garden of Eden. Sinful man is reconciled in that his attitude of enmity toward God is changed to one of friendship.
John MacArthur explains that...
Barrett writes that in regard to reconciliation...
The Believer's Study Bible adds that...
To summarize, to reconcile is to take someone who is hostile towards someone else and change that into a friendly relationship. Unsaved ungodly man is an enemy of God and is hostile toward Him and God takes the initiative in this estranged relationship and send Jesus to be our Mediator Who based on our faith in His sacrificial death and resurrection life brings us into a friendly relationship with God.
The great triumvirate of redemption, propitiation (atonement), and reconciliation is totally the work of God, accomplished through the death of Jesus Christ. Redemption pertains to sin, propitiation (or satisfaction) pertains to God, and reconciliation is for people (we were reconciled). Reconciliation is the removal of enmity that stands between people and God. Reconciliation is the basis of restored fellowship between people and God.
Through Christ - Through His fully satisfactory sacrifice for man's sin. Through His once for all time finished work (see It is Finished) He became our Our Great High Priest, through Whom we are now able to approach the Father. (Related Study: through Him = through Christ)
This covenant stands secure,
Christ (5547) (Christos from chrio = to anoint, rub with oil, consecrate to an office) is the Anointed One, the Messiah, Christos being the Greek equivalent of the transliterated Hebrew word Messiah (mashiach/masiyah). In the OT the word "anointed" was closely linked with two offices -- king and high priest. It was prophesied that Jesus, from David's kingly line (Mt 1:1, cp 2Sa 7:13, 16, Isa 11:1, Jer 23:5, 33:15, 16, 17, Zech 12:8, Lk 1:31, 32, 69, 70), would one day hold ultimate authority in our world. As High Priest, Jesus offered himself up for us and lives today to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25-note, Ro 8:34-note). In Jesus' day, then, the Christ was thought of as Israel's deliverer (cp Ro 11:26-note).
AND GAVE US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: kai dontos (AAPMSG) emin ten diakonian tes katallages: (Gave us: 2Co 5:19,20 Isa 52:7 57:19 Mk 16:15,16 Lk 10:5 24:47 Ac 10:36 13:38 Ac 13:39 Eph 2:17 Col 1:20)
SINNERS RECONCILED TO BE
This statement may be the clearest expression of his calling and mission in all his writings.
Gave (1325)(didomi) is a bestowal which is based on decision of will of giver (God in this case) and no merit of recipient (Paul, et al).
The ministry - Paul has previously alluded to ministry or service = "the ministry of the Spirit...the ministry of righteousness" (2Cor 3:8, 9; cp 2Co 4:1; 6:3).
God...gave us the ministry - It is both a gift and a stewardship (responsibility). While the direct application is to Paul, the wider application is clearly to all believers. The question arises then -- will I be found as a faithful steward when Christ returns? In his first letter Paul wrote...
Ministry (1248)(diakonia) means the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature serve, including such mundane activities as waiting on tables or caring for household needs—activities without apparent dignity.
Since service associated with the word diakonia necessarily involved dependence, submission, and constraints of time and freedom, the pagan Greeks regarded diakonia as degrading and dishonorable. Service for the public good was honored, but
That last sentence is strikingly contemporary, and is mindful of the fact that a culture that is focused on self-actualization and self-fulfillment will find little value in servant hood.
In Greek eyes, diakonia service is not very dignified. Ruling and not service is proper to a man. The formula of the sophist expressed the basic Greek attitude: “How can a man be happy when he has to serve someone?” expresses the basic Greek attitude. For the Greek in his wisdom and freedom there can certainly be no question of existing to serve others.
Diakonia - 12x in the epistles to the Corinthians - 1Co 12:5; 16:15; 2Co 3:7, 8, 9; 2Co 4:1; 5:18; 6:3; 8:4; 9:1, 12 13; 11:8
Ministry of reconciliation - This is primarily a proclamation of what God has done or accomplished. The proclamation and reception (by divine grace through personal faith) of the Gospel (in which is the word of reconciliation 2Co 5:19) is the means by which sinners are reconciled and brought into a state of favor with God, after natural estrangement or enmity (by virtue of being born in the likeness of their father Adam).
Henry Blackaby rightly reminds us that...
Reconciliation (2643) (katallage [word study] from katá = an intensifier + allásso = change - see study of verb katallasso) describes the change from a state of enmity between persons to one of friendship. It pictures the reestablishment of an interrupted or broken relationship. Reconciliation is a vivid word, pointing to the making of peace after a quarrel. Katallage describes the bring together again people who have been estranged and describes the state of those who have been restored to friendship. In the New Testament it refers, of course, to God's reconciling of the world to Himself through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Thayer describes it as "the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ." (See also Reconciliation - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
The concept of reconciliation refers to an objective state of peace with God, not simply a feeling of peacefulness. The strictly secular usage in 1Cor 7:11, 15 speaks of peace restored to a married couple in the case where one is a believer and the other is not.
Reconciliation assures us of the future bliss of eternal life and Christ’s risen and exalted life is the guarantee - this should be cause for exultation.
As Geoffrey Wilson pointed out...
God changes us from enemies to family, for foe to friend, from alien to adopted. The reconciliation is the effect of the death of Christ, and so reconciliation brings out the significance of the Cross, where God's wrath against sin was poured out on His Son Who was made sin on our behalf.
Katallage originally was used in Greek to describe an exchange (or profit from exchange), especially of money (of the business of money changers, exchanging equivalent values). This word group then began to acquire a wider sense of exchanging any one thing for another. Aristotle, for instance, speaks of professional and mercenary soldiers who are willing to barter their lives for trifling gain. And then the meaning came to be more than anything else, the change of enmity into friendship, as in the present passage.
Barclay summarizes the truths about reconciliation writing that...
Propitiation of God makes possible man's reconciliation to God...
Is Your "Bell" Sounding the Good News of Reconciliation? - There's a story about a bell that hung in the belfry of an old church. When some visitors tried to ring it, nothing happened. So they investigated and discovered something most unusual. The bottom of the bell was plugged with wood. Stranger yet, a door had been cut in the side of the bell and a padlock had been used to secure the door. The church was using the old bell as a strongbox in which to store money. This was a clever idea, but it certainly wasn't what the bell was designed for.
Just as a bell is made for ringing, Christians are meant to sound out the good news of salvation. But many remain silent and keep the precious message of reconciliation with God to themselves. Think carefully about your own life. Do you keep your knowledge of Scripture and your joy of knowing God locked up inside? Sound out the Gospel story! —Paul R. Van Gorder.
If Christianity is worth having,
Illustration of Reconciliation - The story is told that Britain’s Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, had a spat not long after they were married. Albert went away and angrily locked himself in their private residence at the palace. The queen pounded furiously on the door, and when Albert asked who was there, the answer was, “The Queen of England, who demands admittance.” But the door did not open. Victoria knocked again, and again Prince Albert asked who was there. The answer was the same: “The Queen of England.” But the prince would not open the door. Finally, the story goes, Victoria knocked in a more restrained way, and when asked who was there, responded, “Your wife, Albert.” The door opened immediately and the royal couple was reconciled. (as told by Tony Evans)
Undeterred Determination - (God...has given us the ministry of reconciliation) - One of the great privileges of serving at Moody Bible Institute was hearing about graduates who had impacted the world for Christ. Their stories of sacrifice, perseverance, and passion for the gospel were inspiring.
In the late 19th century, Mary McLeod Bethune spent 2 years studying at Moody in Chicago, training to become a missionary in Africa. But after she graduated, no mission board would give her the opportunity, as an African-American woman, to serve on the mission field. Unable to fulfill her dream to go to Africa, she didn’t give up on her calling to serve Jesus. Undaunted, she started a small school for African-American girls in Florida that would eventually blossom into Bethune-Cookman College. She became a powerful force for change in the status of women.
Mary’s legacy was forged by her determination to serve Jesus even in the face of shattered dreams. She knew that God had entrusted to her “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18)—and she wouldn’t give up.
That wasn’t just a mandate for Mary McLeod Bethune. Telling people they can be reconciled to God through Christ is a calling given to all of us. Look for a way to make a difference for Jesus today—right where you are! — by Joe Stowell (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Wherever You have placed us, Lord,
Family Stories - Everybody loves a family story, and today’s Bible reading contains one of the most well-known stories in all of Scripture—the Parable of the Lost Son.
Author Henri Nouwen, in his book The Return Of The Prodigal Son, suggests that all Christians, at some point in their walk of faith, are represented by each of the three main characters. At times we are the wayward child in need of repentance and forgiveness. At other times we are the big brother who wants to hold on to resentment and withhold forgiveness. But as we mature, we become like the father, whose highest desire is to have all his children reconciled.
Nouwen ends the book with these words: “As I look at my own aging hands, I know that they have been given to me to stretch out to all who suffer, to rest upon the shoulders of all who come, and to offer the blessing that emerges from the immensity of God’s love.”
What role are you playing in your family story? Do you need the courage to repent and seek forgiveness? Or do you need the compassion to extend forgiveness?
God has given His children the “ministry of reconciliation” (2Corinthians 5:18, 19). Now would be a good time to start.
Lord, grant me the courage to confess my faults to those I’ve offended, and the grace to accept the confessions of those who have offended me. May I become a minister of reconciliation to bless my family on Your behalf. Amen.
A right attitude with your family begins with a right attitude toward God.— by Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Make Peace - It was a dramatic story of forgiveness. In December of 2000, on the Battleship Missouri Memorial, a dozen American survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor embraced three of the Japanese pilots who had flown attacking planes. The reconciliation ceremony had been arranged by the American-Japan Friendship Committee.
That moving scene is only a dim reflection of what God’s grace does for us. Although we are sinful, we can be brought into a relationship with God through simple faith in Jesus. Because He died on the cross in our place, God blots out the record of our sins and makes us right with Him.
The Lord in His amazing love has not only forgiven us but has also given to us “the ministry of reconciliation” (2Cor 5:18). We have the honor of sharing the good news with others so that they too can be at peace with God. And when we are right with God, we are also to do what we can to live at peace with everyone (Ro 12:18).
Have you accepted God’s offer of forgiveness in Christ? Are you telling others about His love? And are you an agent of God’s grace in your relationships? Start today—make peace. — by Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
God has a purpose and plan for your life
John Henry Jowett has the following devotional on 2Cor 5:14-21:
HERE is a new constraint! “The love of Christ constrains me.” The love of Christ carries me along like a crowd. I am taken up in its mighty movement and swept along the appointed road! Or it arrests me, and makes me its willing prisoner. It lays a strong hand upon me, and I have no option but to go. A gracious “necessity is laid upon me.” I must!
And here is a new world. “Old things are passed away.” The man who is the prisoner of the Lord’s love will find himself in new and wonderful scenery. Everything will wear a new face—God, man, self, the garden, the sky, the sea! We shall look at all things through love-eyes, and it is amazing in what new light a great love will set familiar things! Commonplaces become beautiful when looked at through the lens of Christian love. When we “walk in love” our eyes are anointed with “the eye-salve” of grace.
And here is a new service. “We are ambassadors ... for Christ.” When we see our Lord through love-eyes, and then our brother, we shall yearn to serve our brother in Christ. We shall intensely long to tell the love-story of the Lord our Saviour. What we have seen, with confidence we tell.
2 Corinthians 5:19 Commentary
2 Corinthians 5:19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but canceling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). (Lockman)
Barclay: a ministry whose message is that God, through Christ, was reconciling the world to himself, not debiting their sins against them, and has given us the story of this reconciliation to tell. (Westminster Press)
ESV: that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (ESV)
HCSB: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. (Holman Christian Standard Bible - Study notes available online free)
KJV: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
NEB: What I mean is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, no longer holding men's misdeeds against them, and that he has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation. (New English Bible - Oxford Press)
NET: In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. (NET Bible)
MH: Its essence is this: God was present in Christ and operative through him when he was reconciling humankind to himself, no longer debiting people’s offenses to their account. And the obligation and privilege of declaring this message of reconciliation God has entrusted to our care. (Murray Harris' expanded paraphrase of 2Corinthians).
NLT: For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.(NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: God was in Christ personally reconciling the world to himself - not counting their sins against them - and has commissioned us with the message of reconciliation. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: We are to tell how God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not charging men’s transgressions to their account, and that He has entrusted to us the Message of this reconciliation.
Wuest: namely, that absolute deity in Christ was reconciling the world [of sinners] to himself, not putting down on the liability side of their ledger their trespasses, and lodged in us the story of the reconciliation. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: how that God was in Christ -- a world reconciling to Himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses; and having put in us the word of the reconciliation,
|NAMELY, THAT GOD WAS IN CHRIST RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF, NOT COUNTING THEIR TRESPASSES AGAINST THEM, AND HE HAS COMMITTED TO US THE WORD OF RECONCILIATION: os hoti theos en (3SIAI) en Christo kosmon katallasson (PAPMSN) heauto, me logizomenos (PMPMSN) autois ta paraptomata auton, kai themenos (AMPMSN) en hemin ton logon tes katallages: (God: Mt 1:23 Jn 14:10,11,20 17:23 1Ti 3:16) (reconciling: Ro 3:24, 25, 26 11:15 1Jn 2:1,2 4:10) (not: Ps 32:1,2 Isa 43:25 44:22 Ro 4:6-8) (word: 2Co 5:18)
The ESV Study Bible outlines 2Cor 5:18-20...
Namely that (os hoti) is more literally "as that" or "how that" and has been the source of some discussion among able commentators. The interested reader is directed to more technical commentaries for discussion of this topic. Suffice it to say, that in view of the fact that what follows in this passage reiterates and explains the previous passage, most conservative writers (and translations) render it with words like "that is" ("in other words" - NET, "namely") which explains that “God is bringing the world back into forgiven relationship with Himself, and He is doing this by means of a ‘word’ entrusted to the apostles.” (Barnett)
Barnett after discussing the various possible interpretations writes that...
God - As in 2Co 5:18 God is again the subject of two supernatural acts (1) reconciling the world to Himself and (2) not counting their trespasses against them. Stated another way, God is the "Initiator" of reconciliation in behalf of those who are His enemies. This is indeed amazing lovingkindness and grace! From (even in) the Garden of Eden God demonstrates this persistent, pursuing grace in which He takes a personal interest to restore the broken relationship with sinful mankind.
God was in Christ - In this case the NAS rendering is felt by most writers to be somewhat less likely for it emphasizes the incarnation of Christ whereas the context of this passage focuses more on the the death of Christ (2Cor 5:14, 15, 2Co 5:21) (Albeit, atonement wrought by Christ's death is of course the ultimate reason for the Incarnation so they are related.)
Most commentators favor that Paul meant to convey the sense of the translations...
In other words these translations emphasize the idea of "in Christ" depicting Christ as the instrument of the reconciliation (cp the closely related doctrine justification in Ro 3:24-note). "In Christ" is also analogous to Paul's preceding description of "through Christ" (2Cor 5:18). Finally note that in context Paul had just used the phrase "in Christ" in 2Cor 5:17. In summary, it was in and through Christ's death and resurrection that God accomplished the reconciliation of the world to Himself. The fact that Paul goes on to describe that the debts of trespasses are no longer counted against them is a truth that is more compatible with emphasis on Christ's death (which wrought payment of the penalty for sin) rather than His incarnation.
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned he stood;
Sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah! what a Saviour!
In a parallel passage in Romans Paul reminds us that
David Guzik has some interesting thoughts on God...in Christ writing that...
Hughes explains that...
Christ (5547) (Christos from chrio = to anoint, rub with oil, consecrate to an office) is the Anointed One, the Messiah, where Christos is the Greek equivalent of the transliterated Hebrew word Messiah (mashiach/masiyah).
Reconciled Through Death - It is said that years ago in a western city a husband and wife became estranged and chose to separate. They moved away and lived in different parts of the country. The husband happened to return to the city on a matter of business and went out to the cemetery to the grave of their only son. He was standing by the grave in fond reminiscence when he heard a step behind him. Turning, he saw his estranged wife. The initial impulse of both was to turn away. But they had a common hearted interest in that grave, and instead of turning away they clasped hands over the grave of their son and were reconciled. They were reconciled by death! Our personal reconciliation took nothing less than the death of God’s Son; but his death and its effects went far beyond any human death. (Clarence E. Macartney, Macartney’s Illustrations quoted by R K Hughes)
Reconciling (2644)(katallasso - see discussion in previous verse). This verb is in the imperfect tense which generally conveys the idea of incomplete action. In this case it is not that the foundation or basis for reconciling men was incomplete for the work of Christ was a once for all time event which paid the price of redemption in full. What is in a sense "incomplete" is that sinful man has to receive God's offer of reconciliation to "seal the deal" so to speak. Alfred Plummer phrases it this way "God did all that on His side is necessary for their being reconciled to Him; but not all men do what is necessary on their side." (Ibid)
World (2889)(kosmos related to the verb kosmeo = to order or adorn, to put in order [Mt 25:7 = "trimmed"], to adorn literally [1Ti 2:9], to adorn figuratively [Titus 2:9-note]) means essentially something that is well-arranged, that which has order or something arranged harmoniously. In the present context kosmos refers most likely to mankind in general (humanity, the inhabitants of the world, the sum total of all created beings above the level of the animals - and especially those who receive Christ by grace through faith). However, some commentators (Barnett) interpret kosmos as the whole created order similar to Paul's description of reconciliation in Col 1:19, 20-note.
As Puritan Thomas Watson wrote...
In Romans 5 Paul explains that...
The use of kosmos or world corresponds to the "all" who are mentioned three times in the preceding context...
Denney beautifully explains the need and the consequence of reconciliation writing that...
R Kent Hughes adds that...
Not counting their trespasses against them - Paul does not say by "overlooking their trespasses" for as Hughes has explained God's "mercy cannot be vindicated by injustice." Not counting trespasses is one result of reconciliation. Not imputing their trespasses, not putting them on their "account." Yes, the trespasses are imputed, however not to the sinner but to Christ, the sinner's substitutionary sufficient Sacrifice. The Son of Man came not to condemn the world but to save the world. The idea is that God's reconciliation of sinful men (who receive the reconciliation by grace through faith) results in the canceling of the debt they owe God because of their trespasses. Not counting one's trespasses is also a picture of God's forgiveness (which pictures His removal of our sins away - see aphesis and aphiemi).
David Guzik asks why has God not counted their trespasses against them...
In Colossians Paul explains what happened to the sinner's debt for trespassing against a holy God...
Not counting - Not reckoning. Not imputing. Not placing on one's account. The flip side of not reckoning is that He was forgiving or pardoning their trespasses against Him. Stated another way the means of reconciliation is the forgiveness of sins. Only by having the guilt of sin forgiven can sinners be reconciled to God, since it is sin that separates sinners eternally from Him. Note that in this passage we see that reconciliation is based on imputation. In other words because the demands of God’s Law have been fully met on the Cross, sinners can be reconciled to God through Christ.
As Spurgeon once said...
As James Denney said...
Wiersbe observes that...
Counting (3049) (logizomai [word study] from lógos = reason, word, account) means to reckon, compute, calculate, to take into account, to deliberate, and to weigh. Logizomai refers to a process of careful study or reasoning which results in the arriving at a conclusion. Logizomai conveys the idea of calculating or estimating. Logizomai is related to our English term logic (which deals with the methods of valid thinking, reveals how to draw proper conclusions from premises and is a prerequisite of all thought). Logizomai was a term frequently used in the business community of Paul's day and meant to impute (put to one's account) or credit to one's account.
Paul uses the present tense to indicate that because of the work of Christ to reconcile man to God, the Father continually does not impute or reckon our sins to our "spiritual account." (cp Ro 4:8-note cp Ps 32:1, 2-note) Christ's death on the Cross paid the believing sinner's debt in full and forever! Hallelujah!
A T Robertson...
Their trespasses against them - Paul is NOT teaching universal salvation, that all men are saved through the work of Christ! This truth obviously applies only to believers ("them"). It should be a continual source of great joy and gratitude and love, all of which should motivate us to lay aside the old ways of the flesh and continually seek to walk in the Spirit.
MacDonald adds that...
Trespasses (3900) (paraptoma [word study] from para = aside + pipto = fall) is literally a falling aside or beside to stumble on something (so as to lose footing) and in its figurative ethical use (which is the only way it is used in the NT) describes a "false step", a violation of moral standards or a deviation from living according to what has been revealed as the right way to live. Paraptoma is a false step out of the appointed way, a trespass on forbidden ground, a stepping out of line of true conduct, a deviation from truth and uprightness. Paraptoma describes what a person has done in transgressing the will and law of God by some false step or failure.
Paraptoma conveys the idea of a false step and so is translated a transgression (transgress in English means to to go beyond or overstep a limit or boundary and is from Latin trans- across + gradi = to step).
Vine writes that paraptoma is...
It should be noted that there is a subtle distinction between sin and transgression -- The idea behind transgression is that we have crossed a line, challenging God's boundaries. The idea behind sin is that we have missed a mark, God's standard that calls for perfection, every time!
Vincent has this note on paraptoma writing that...
Committed to us - Literally having put or placed in us. Having deposited in us (as if picturing the word of reconciliation as a sacred treasure!) "Lodged in us" (Vincent). The idea is that God entrusted or commissioned them (cp Gal 2:7, 1Ti 1:12). He has put the message in their mouths as it were. While "us" in context refers primarily to Paul and his fellow ambassadors, this charge is applicable to all believers.
Alford adds that the idea is not
As A C Gaebelein says...
Hughes writes that ...
The word of reconciliation - The message of reconciliation. This phrase is essentially a synonym for the Gospel as in Eph 1:13-note (message [logos] of the truth), Col 1:5-note (the word [logos] of truth, the gospel), 1Co 1:18 (the word [logos] of the cross), 2Cor 6:7 (the word [logos] of truth), 2Ti 2:15-note (the word [logos] of truth), Acts 13:26 (the message [logos] of this salvation), Acts 15:7 (the word [logos] of the Gospel), Mt 13:19 (the word [word] of the kingdom). This is tantamount to the "gospel of the glory of Christ" (2Co 4:4-note). In context this "word" is specifically given as a command in the 2Co 5:20 as "be reconciled (aorist imperative) to God." This word is spoken by men to other men but ultimately is a word from God to men through His human ambassadors.
What is the message committed to us, His ambassadors, to speak to a lost world? The message is that God has taken the initiative to end our hostility toward Him by charging our sins to the account of Christ, making peace with us through the blood of His Cross.
Word (3056)(logos from légō = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. In the Greek mind and as used by secular and philosophical Greek writers, lógos did not mean merely the name of an object but was an expression of the thought behind that object's name. Hughes adds that...
Reconciliation (2643) (katallage [word study] see previous verse) describes the change from a state of enmity between persons to one of friendship, specifically the Gospel is God's call to man to be restored to a state of harmony and friendship with Himself through faith in Christ's atoning work on the Cross.
Grace first inscribed my name
Warren Wiersbe reminds us that...
Illustration - Elizabeth Barrett was a Victorian-era poet whose father violently objected to her marriage to fellow poet Robert Browning. For ten years, Elizabeth wrote to her parents, asking them to reconcile with her. She never got a response. But finally, Elizabeth got a box in the mail. She opened it to find all of the letters she had written to her parents, not one of which had been opened. Her father never knew the depth of her love and her desire to be reconciled. God has written the world a letter telling people of His love for them and His desire to have them reconciled to Him. It’s our duty to open this letter, the Word of God, and help lost people understand how far God has gone to bring them back to Himself. Otherwise, if the message of His letter never gets through to those who need it the most, there will be no reconciliation. Let’s make sure we are fulfilling our duty as ambassadors who have a great message to tell. (Evans, A. T. Totally Saved).
Being An Ambassador - After visiting a homeless shelter, a group of teenagers couldn’t wait to express what they had experienced. Excitedly, they wrote about their visits with men and women of all ages who were poor and destitute.
One teen wrote: “I talked with a Vietnam vet and told him that in heaven he would have a new body. I was able to reassure him in his faith.”
Another said, “A guy named Michael showed me that even though he was living in a homeless shelter, having faith made all the difference.”
Still another wrote: “I talked with a man who had almost stopped believing in God. I tried to [encourage him in his faith].”
While desiring to share God’s message of reconciliation, these teens were surprised to find that some of the people already knew God. By cutting through the discomfort of their differences, the kids discovered people who needed the reassurance that God still cared for them. The teens’ roles changed from sharing the good news to guiding their new friends toward a deeper faith.
Being “ambassadors for Christ” (2Co 5:20) opens doors of opportunity both to share the gospel and to strengthen the struggling. Seek out someone today who needs encouragement or “the word of reconciliation” (2Co 5:19).— by Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, use us as Your instruments
The Father's Love - In his autobiography, a well-known TV personality describes the time when he asked, “If God the Father is so all-loving, why didn’t He come down and go to Calvary?” That comment reveals how little he understood the love of a good earthly father and the depth of love revealed in the Trinity.
Consider the love an earthly father has for his son. In Genesis 22, we read that God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. We can only imagine the agony in his heart as he and the boy climbed the mountain. Surely Abraham must have wished he could take Isaac’s place.
As a father and grandfather myself, I would choose to die in place of my offspring, if given the choice.
Our love as earthly fathers is but a faint reflection of our heavenly Father’s love for His Son and for us. Because of the close relationship between the Father and the Son, Jesus could say, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). And the Bible tells us that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2Corinthians 5:19). Without a doubt, therefore, the Father did share His Son’s pain at Calvary.
How wonderful to know that we have a loving Father in heaven! Because Jesus died for us, we can be forgiven and personally experience the Father’s love. by Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Died He for me, who caused His pain?