We are taught by religion that reconciliation is God sending Jesus to the cross and God pouring out His judgment upon Him for our sins, and if we confess our sins we can be “saved” from eternal punishment in a fiery hell. God gave us the ministry of reconciliation to remedy this. However, that is not what the Bible teaches. So, what does “reconciliation” actually mean? and what does the “ministry of reconciliation” mean?
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 KJV
We understand by this verse that God’s very being is love. God is love, not God has love.
Looking at this through the eyes of those who are hearing this, how can they reconcile the two? God’s unconditional love or punishment from a God whose wrath is yet to be satisfied upon them! They must think God is a psychopath!
Well, you may say, “God does not send people to hell, we send ourselves to hell by not accepting Jesus.” But, I have to ask, “If God loves us unconditionally, why would He want to send people to a so-called hell anyways?” Also, isn’t it God’s will that none should perish and come to repentance (2Pe 3:9)? Your response could be that Jesus satisfied His wrath. What about man being created in the image of God? Would God send a man who is created in His image to this so-called hell?
However, there are problems with these statements.
What is implied is that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and receiving the wrath of God in our place wasn’t enough to save all. In religion, there are some things you have to do on your part to initiate the New Covenant. However, the Bible says otherwise:
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:31-32 KJV
Jesus said it is, “now”, not sometime in the future! The judgment of the world is the destruction of the temple, and the prince of this world is the Old Covenant Law. However, that is another article.
If you notice in the KJV the word “men” is in italics. This means it is not in the original Greek but inserted to either enhance the translation or to further the beliefs of the translators. So, if “men” is not supposed to be included, then what is He drawing to Himself: Judgement (v. 31) or men? Either one you chose, has the same end result.
Let’s look at these literal translations:
And, I, if I be lifted up out of the earth, will draw, all, unto myself. John 12:32 Rotherham
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself. John 12:32 LITV-TSP
The word “draw” in Greek means, “to drag off with a notion of force, or to draw by inward power.” It is the same Greek word that is used when Peter drew his net full of fish in John 21:11.
Jesus by going to the cross and raising from the dead, drew all men or judgment to Himself, like a fisherman dragging his net full of fish, by the inward power of the resurrection! The power of the resurrection did and has saved all since he drew ALL to Himself!
Paul put it this way:
For God has consigned everyone to disobedience so that He may have mercy on everyone. Rom 11:32 BSB
The Greek word for “consigned” means: to shut up together, enclose a shoal of fishes in a net, shut up on all sides, and shut up completely.
Just as in the word “draw” in John 12:32, it means the same thing that God did in Romans 11:32. He has enclosed all as a shoal of fishes in a net in unbelief, so He can have mercy upon all.
Through the cross, the wrath of God has been satisfied, and in the resurrection, there is salvation for all, therefore the only things left are grace and mercy.
Grace in life as we live today, and mercy for those who didn’t find grace in this life.
To infer that there is a coming judgment upon man is saying that the sacrifice of Jesus wasn’t sufficient to satisfy the wrath of God!
God reconciled all things to Himself by the power of the cross, that is why He is the Savior of the world, which includes all men!
For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence… Eph 1:4 BSB
He chose us (Joh 15:16)! The Greek word is “eklegomai” which means “To call out. To mark out beforehand.” You were placed in Christ before you were ever lost in Adam. This is all-inclusive. Our origin was in Him before the creation of the world.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1Co 15:22 BSB
The first “all” determine the scope of the second “all”. In other words, if “all” died in Adam, then shouldn’t “all” be made alive in Christ?!
If we read it properly, it says, “in Christ all” — not, “all in Christ.” This passage is absolute, and we cannot take it out of context by adding conditions (yea, but…).
How can Christ be considered greater than Adam, if Adam has the power to condemn more people than Christ has the power to save?
- If that is true, then religion won and God lost.
- If that is true, then more of humanity will be in a so-called hell suffering “eternal conscious torment” forever for a judgment that will never be satisfied, than those that enter the kingdom.
- If that is true, then man’s will is greater than God’s will (2Pe 3:9).
- If that is true, then God’s love is not unconditional, since God hates his enemies by sending them to a so-called hell when Jesus tells us to love ours.
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Act 3:21 KJV
The NRSV translates as, “who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.”
The “restoration of all things” in Greek is called the “apokatastasis”. It means, to set into proper order or relationship. To set back to original condition. The “restoration of all things” took place at the end of the law of Moses. The sacrifices continued until the destruction of the temple in AD 70 and the end of the Old Covenant. At that time, the restoration of all things has been completed. If the restoration of all things takes place sometime in our future, then Israel must still be under the law of Moses and Gentiles are without hope (Mat 17:11-12, Luk 21:22, 2Co 5:19, Eph 1:10, Col 1:19-20, Heb 8:13, Heb 9:10). Through the judgment on Jerusalem and Israel by the destruction of the temple God concluded the restoration by the ending the law of Moses and establishing a new and better covenant. He effectively restored, and set all to its original condition that was lost by being “in Adam” by God placing all “in Christ”!
Rom 11:36 BSB For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
This is called, “the law of circularity”. Everything is for God, comes from God, and returns back to God.
What we have to understand is that restoration was all God, and it had nothing to do with us and our actions!
Religion teaches “dualism”. It is us vs. them, saved vs. unsaved, children of God vs. children of the devil, etc. But, the Bible teaches us otherwise. The Bible teaches “inclusion of all” by the Father of all!
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 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. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 KJV
The word “are” is not in the original Greek.
Therefore we can read, “…all things of God, who reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ…that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;”
Why was God not imputing their trespasses unto them? It is because, as we read earlier that God has consigned all to disobedience, so He could have mercy upon all (Rom 11:32)! If He has mercy on all, then how can God impute their trespasses upon them?
God reconciled the world to himself through Jesus. He was not imputing their (those who did not have the understanding of the Gospel) sins upon them and we are to proclaim this. This is the ministry of reconciliation.
Our job is to tell them that they have been reconciled to God so they can enjoy by grace the benefits of eternal life today, and not have to have God’s mercy later!