by: Gary L. Hutchens
“Reconcile.” A technical sounding word little used in common conversation, it seems to be utilized in more formal communication. The word can have various meanings based upon the immediate application: “Restore friendly relations between,” could refer to a formal relationship such as in business dealings. “Cause to coexist in harmony; make or show to be compatible,” would apply to a marriage relationship that has been on rocky ground. “To restore to friendship or harmony,” would be the case in a close personal relationship. It is this last meaning that will primarily apply in this article.
God created mankind in His own image (Gen. 1:26-27). The sense of that statement is not that God created man to look like God physically. God is not a physical being, He is Spirit. God created man in His own image in that He created man with a soul, a spiritual essence. Thus, man inherently understands existence from a spiritual perspective. He recognizes the difference between good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, what is moral and what is immoral. Nothing else that God created has this ability.
When God created man He not only created him in God’s own image, but He also created him in a sinless state. God is totally righteous (1 Jn. 1:5). To be in harmony with God, to be His friend requires that we live righteously before Him. Being created in God’s own image also means we have free will. Righteousness is a choice, our choice.
A sinful lifestyle puts us in disharmony with God and alienates us from Him. “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Isa. 59:1-2). We cannot live in sin and be God’s friend at the same time. Sin separates us from God.
God created Adam and Eve with free will, but He warned them that to choose sin would result in death (Gen. 2:17; 3:2-3). The apostle Paul reaffirmed God’s decree in his letter to the Romans: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23). To die physically while spiritually dead in sin, separated from God, results in eternal death (condemnation in Hell) (Rev. 21:8). But God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9). The decision to repent and turn away from sinfulness is up to us, it is part of our free will.
God wants us to come back to Him, to be reconciled to Him (2 Cor. 5:19-21). The gospel message opens the door for our lives to be in harmony with His will. He has set in place a plan through which we can be forgiven and become His friends again. He sent His Son to the cross to pay the price for the guilt of our sins. “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Rom. 5:10).
Through His sacrifice we can be reconciled to God. As we surrender to our Lord and Savior in baptism the blood He shed on the cross on our behalf will cleanse us of the guilt of our sins (Acts 22:16). We will be forgiven, redeemed, saved, reconciled! We will no longer be God’s enemy, due to our sin. We will once again be God’s friend…
Gary L. Hutchens