Some thoughts on reconciliation from The Work of Christ

  • ‘And Paul has a word of his own to describe Christ’s work – the word ”reconciliation”. But he thinks of reconciliation not as a doctrine, but an act of God.’ (p. 44)
  • ‘The most important thing in all the world, in the Bible or out of it, is something that God has done – forever, finally done. And it is this; reconciliation.’ (p. 45)
  • … this reconciliation, this atonement, means change of relation between God and man – man, mind you, not two or three men, not several groups of men, but man, the human race as one whole.’ (p. 57)
  • God ‘was not trying, not taking steps to provide means of reconciliation, not opening doors of reconciliation if we would only walk in at them, not labouring toward reconciliation…but ‘God was in Christ reconciling’ actually reconciling, finishing the work. It was not a tentative, preliminary affair. Reconciliation was finished in Christ’s death. Paul did not preach a gradual reconciliation. He preached what the old divines used to call the finished work. He did not preach a gradual reconciliation that was to become the reconciliation of the world only piecemeal, as men were induced to accept it, or were affected by the gospel. He preached something once for all – a reconciliation which is the base of every soul’s reconcilement, not an invitation only.’ (pp. 85-6)
  • What you have face to face with God in the Old Testament, is a collective nation, Israel. We shall never read the Old Testament with true understanding until we realise that … that the visà-vis of God in the Old Testament is Israel, and not the individual Jew.’ (pp. 94-5)
  • We must, therefore, avoid every idea of atonement which seems to reduce it to God’s dealing with a mass of individuals instead of with the race as a whole.’ (p.96)
  • To reduce the reconciliation merely to the aggregate of individual conversions would be a total misrepresentation of New Testament reconciliation, which is both solidary and final.’ (p. 100)
  • ‘What we are tempted to think of in our common version of Christianity is a mass of people, great or small, a mass of individuals, each one of whom makes his own terms with God and gets discharge of his sin. It is salvation by private bargain. In conversion every individual makes his own peace with God through Jesus Christ, so that the work of God becomes a mere change of attitude, feeling, or temper on the side of man after man. That is not the New Testament idea.’ (pp.106-7)
  • Reconciliation is not the result of a change in God from wrath to love. It flows from the changeless will of a loving God.’ (p. 180)
  • ‘What we have in Christ’s work is not the mere pre-requisite or condition of reconciliation, but the actual and final effecting of it in principle. He was not making it possible, he was doing it.’ (p.182)

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