Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
Ambassadors of Conciliation
March 12, 2010
As reported in issue #04-1025, March 9, 2010, Agnostic & Reconciliation , the word reconciliation has
been in the news quite a bit lately as politicians posture to pass healthcare legislation. They have a right
to use the word, even if they abuse or distort its meaning. But, where is the ecclesia of God when it
comes to this word? Has it dropped out of our vocabulary?
We have the true message of reconciliation that the world needs to hear, but have we lost the message to
those who speak falsehood? Has reconciliation become such a common and abused word that its
meaning is no longer understood, even among the Lord’s people? Have we lost the high ground and the
glorious word of reconciliation? May it not be coming to that!
So that we are clear on the meaning of the word, reconciliation means “to make friendly again or win
over to a friendly attitude; to bring two parties into harmony or peace with each other.” This is what
God has done and is doing through and in His Son, our Lord Jesus.
Now, what follows has been presented in other writings, but, as Paul wrote, to write the same things
again is not trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you (Philippians 3:1). The Concordant
Version is referenced, for it offers greater clarity on the subject by making a distinction between the
words conciliation and reconciliation . The fact of the matter is that we have been given the word of the
conciliation and are to be ambassadors of this word.
Most translations exclusively use the word reconciliation , but the editor of the Concordant Version has
pointed out that it is important to make a distinction between conciliate (or conciliation ) and reconcile
(or reconciliation ). The Greek word allasso means “to make different, to change.” From this root word
are derived two other words: katallasso , which is translated into the verb conciliate [noun form
katallage translated as conciliation ]; and apokatallasso , which is translated into the verb reconcile .
(18) Yet all is of God, Who conciliates [katallasso] us to Himself through Christ, and is
giving us the dispensation [ministry] of the conciliation, (19) how that God was in Christ,
conciliating [katallasso] the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them, and
placing in us the word of the conciliation [katallage] . (20) For Christ, then, are we
ambassadors, as of God entreating through us. (20) We are beseeching for Christ’s sake,
“Be conciliated [katallasso] to God!” (21) For the One not knowing sin, He makes to be a sin
offering for our sakes that we may be becoming God’s righteousness in Him. (2 Corinthians
5:18-21 CV [NASB])
The words conciliate and conciliation are probably foreign to most people since these words are seldom
used in common conversation; but they are vital words in understanding what God has done and is
doing. Conciliate means “to win over; soothe the anger of; make friendly; placate” and “to gain by
friendly acts.” We could say that this is the first part of a peace agreement. When two parties are at war
with each other, they are enemies. If one party makes peace with the other, then that party conciliates
with the other, and there is conciliation . Thus, conciliation refers to one side of a peace deal; that is, one
party is at peace with another, but it does not follow that the other party has made peace with the one
that has made peace. There is still enmity coming forth from one party. It is as if one waves the white
flag of truce, but the other continues shooting.
For a peace deal to be of any value, it takes both parties to be at peace with each other. When both
parties have entered into peace with each other, it is called reconciliation . Thus, the word reconciliation
means that both parties are in harmony and at peace with one another. It is a mutual peace agreement.
Each party has to make peace (to be conciliated) with the other to come into a mutual peace (to be
Notice that conciliation starts with God alone: For if, being enemies, we were conciliated
[katallasso] to God through the death of His Son, much rather, being conciliated
[katallasso] , we shall be saved in His life (Romans 5:10 CV).
When all mankind were dead in their trespasses and sin, Christ died! This is where conciliation starts.
The peace treaty starts at the cross. Mankind was incapable of entering into a peace treaty with God.
Can you imagine what it would be like if mankind wanted to be at peace with God, but He did not want
to be at peace with mankind? It is a sad commentary on our day that many seem to project our
Heavenly Father as one who refuses to be at peace with most of mankind, as if He were an angry and
mean God bent on destroying mankind. God is love , and He demonstrates His love, for He first
loved us ! His purpose is to bring all, without exception, into His will and love.
At the cross, God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them.
There was enmity between God and mankind, but God has made peace with mankind at the cross of
Calvary. In other words, man is no longer God’s enemy because enmity has been removed through His
Son’s death on the cross. God Himself has waved the white flag of peace . Through Christ, the
entire world, which means all mankind, has been conciliated to God, and God is not counting our
offenses against us. Do you grasp the greatness of these words? He is not counting your offenses
against you! Consider how a paraphrased version reads: That is, that God was in Christ making
peace between the world and himself, not putting their sins to their account, and having
given to us the preaching of this news of peace (2 Corinthians 5:19 BBE). Here we discover the
very heart of conciliation, making peace, and this is the message that we, as believers, are to be
proclaiming to the world that remains an enemy of the cross. God has made peace with the world
because of His Son, because of the LORD JESUS! We could say that Jesus is Peace.
Let us not think that God has given up or that conciliation is a thing of the past, for it is an ever-present
peace agreement that will continue until the consummation of the eons. In fact, it is God’s plan not only
to conciliate the world to Himself but to consummate the peace by being reconciled with all in the
heavens and on the earth. Ultimately, there will be a mutual peace with all in His creation. Let it sink in;
God fully intends to have reconciliation with ALL . How do we know? Paul tells us so.
(19) For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, (20) and
through Him to reconcile [apokatallasso] all things to Himself, having made peace through
the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
(Colossians 1:19-20 NASB)
In verse 20, Paul used the Greek word apokatallasso that is uniformly translated as reconcile . Not only
has God conciliated Himself to the world, but through His Son, He fully intends to bring about the
reconciliation of all. A day is coming when all creation will be in harmony with God; all creation will be
at peace, barring none. Think about it! If this is what God has done and is doing through Christ Jesus
our Lord, then how can we not be at peace with one another? How can we reckon the offenses of others
against them? How can we not forgive one another, no matter what the offense? Before reconciliation
becomes a reality, there needs to be forgiveness on the part of those who have been offended. Without
forgiveness, there can be no reconciliation because one party remains living in the past and is unwilling
to move beyond it. Forgiveness is an issue of the heart. One who forgives forgets the offense and
leaves it in the past or, as Paul did, forgets what lies behind. See issues #02-0821 through #04-0824,
April 2008, Forgetting What Lies Behind .
Dear beloved saints and all who are in battle with others, it is time to turn to the cross and see Jesus,
His blood, and His forgiveness of our sins. It is time to forget what lies behind and press on toward the
goal for the prize; and this begins with forgiveness, for without forgiveness, there is no reconciliation,
and there is no redemption (Colossians 1:14). God has forgiven all of us, and He has conciliated Himself
to all of us. It is time to get beyond the past and make peace with God, then make peace with others,
and then take the message to the world as ambassadors of Christ. Be conciliated to God!
The Upward Call: #04-1028
by: Stuart H. Pouliot