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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
The restoring to favour or friendship those who were at variance. It is more particularly used in reference to the doctrine of the atonement. Thus God is said to reconcile us to himself by Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:18 . Our state by nature is that of enmity, dissatisfaction, and disobedience. But by the sufferings and merit of Christ we are reconciled and brought near to God. the blessings of reconciliation are pardon, peace, friendship, confidence, holiness, and eternal life. The judicious Guyse gives us an admirable note on this doctrine, which I shall here transcribe. "When the Scripture speaks of reconciliation by Christ, or by his cross, blood, or death, it is commonly expressed by God's reconciling us to himself, and not by his being reconciled unto us; the reason of which seems to be, because God is the offended party, and we are the offenders, who, as such, have need to be reconciled to him: and the price of reconciliation, by the blood of Christ, is paid to him, and not to us. Gratius observes, that, in heathen authors, men's being reconciled to their gods is always understood to signify appeasing the anger of their gods. Condemned rebels may be said to be reconciled to their sovereign, when he, on one consideration or another, pardons them; though, perhaps, they still remain rebels in their hearts against him.
And when our Lord ordered the offending to go and be reconciled to his offended brother, Matthew 5:1-48 , the plain meaning is, that he should go and try to appease his anger, obtain his forgiveness, and regain his favour and friendship, by humbling himself to him, asking his pardon, or satisfying him for any injury that he might have done him. In like manner, God's reconciling us to himself by the cross of Christ does not signify, as the Socinians contend, our being reconciled by conversion to a religious turn in our hearts to God, but is a reconciliation that results from God's graciously providing and accepting an atonement for us, that he might not inflict the punishment upon us which we deserved, and the law condemned us to; but might be at peace with us, and receive us into favour on Christ's account. For this reconciliation, by the cross of Christ is in a way of atonement or satisfaction to divine justice for sin; and with respect hereunto, we are said to be reconciled to God by the death of his Son while we are enemies, which is of much the same import with Christ's dying for the ungodly, and while we were yet sinners, Romans 5:6; Romans 5:8; Romans 5:10 . And our being reconciled to God, by approving and accepting of his method of reconciliation by Jesus Christ, and, on that encouragement, turning to him, is distinguished from his reconciling us to himself, and not imputing our trespasses to us, on account of Christ's having been made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21 .
This is called Christ's making reconciliation for iniquity, and making reconciliation for the sins of the people, Daniel 9:1-27 . Hebrews 2:17 , and answers to the ceremonial and typical reconciliation which was made by the blood of the sacrifices under the law to make atonement and reconciliation for Israel, 2 Chronicles 29:24 . Ezekiel 14:15; Ezekiel 14:17 , and which was frequently styled making atonement for sin, and an atonement for their souls. Now as all the legal sacrifices of atonement, and the truly expiatory sacrifices of Christ, were offered not to the offenders, but to God, to reconcile him in them, what can reconciliation by the death, blood, or cross of Christ mean, but that the law and justice of God were thereby satisfied, and all obstructions, on his part, to peace and friendship toward sinners are removed, that he might not pursue his righteous demands upon them, according to the holy resentments of his nature and will, and the threatenings of his law for their sins; but might mercifully forgive them, and take them into a state of favour with himself, upon their receiving the atonement, or reconciliation (Romans 5:11 , ) by faith, after the offence that sin had given him, and the breach it had made upon the original friendship between him and them?"
See articles ATONEMENT, MEDIATOR, and PROPITIATION; Grot. de Satisf. cap. 7; Dr. Owen's Answer to Biddle's Catechism; Guyse's Note on Coloss. 1: 21; Charnock's Works, vol. 2: p. 241; John Reynolds on Reconciliation.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Reconciliation'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/r/reconciliation.html. 1802.