Reconciliation: Reconciled And More
November 8, 1998 / No. 2914
The Word of God that I would like to consider with you today is found in Romans 5:10. We read, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
In this verse of Scripture the apostle Paul is concerned that we have the assurance of final salvation, that the hope of eternal life be anchored in our souls. In order that we might have this assurance he engages in holy logic. In both verse 9 and verse 10 the apostle is reasoning. He is using a logical argument which is very common. He argues that if God has done the greater thing, how much more will He not also do the lesser?
In verse 9 we read: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” If we are now justified, then it is also true that God shall also glorify us. Also in our text (v. 10), the same argument is being used. If it is true that such an astounding thing has occurred, namely, that we have been reconciled to God by the death of His Son, if that is so, then it is also so that we shall be saved by His life.
There are many today who despise doctrine. There are many Christians today who feel uncomfortable when we speak of the reasoning out of our faith. Nevertheless, the Christian lives on reason, reasoning out his faith. There are many who think that if you enter into the realm of logic and reasoning you have left the heart and you have become cold and theoretical. But that is not so. Our faith, and the certainty of our faith, is not built upon sentiment, on feeling we know not what. But our faith is built upon eloquent, moving, and convincing logic. If this is so; then this also must be so. If God has done the greater (reconciling us unto Himself by the death of His Son), then shall He not also save us by the life of His Son?
Let us look a moment at the greater thing that God has already done for us and that is stated as a fact. Only when we grasp that can we see that our full and final salvation must necessarily follow.
We were reconciled, says the Word of God, by the death of His Son. Much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. We have received reconciliation. Now that is an amazing fact. Consider what Paul says first of all, that when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. God’s love was so astonishing in that He loved us while we were yet enemies. Remember the point. The point is this: if that is so, what can we expect now from God, having been made His children? If He did for us this act when we were yet enemies, what will He do for us now that we are reconciled children? Will He not do much more?
The word “enemy” here is very humbling. There is not one person who is listening to this broadcast who, of himself, is anything other than an enemy of God. When Christ died for His people, we were not, of ourselves, willing to obey Him, maybe even possessing a little smidgen of the love of God in us. If so, the cross and the love of God would not be so amazing. Man will not look at himself as totally depraved and deserving of hell. Man always desires to imagine that God saved him and took him to Himself because somehow he merited God’s love and favor. But that is not so. That is a lie. We were enemies. That is what you were, child of God, when God gave His Son to die for you. That means that that work of salvation is all of God. It is all of God’s grace. When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.
That statement, “when we were enemies,” refers to how God viewed us in His justice when He gave Christ to die for us. We must remember that Paul is emphasizing the love of God. He is emphasizing the amazing nature of that love of God. We were enemies. Does that mean that we had hatred towards God? Yes. But it also means this: we were in the legal position of enemies toward God. God looked on us, as we were of ourselves, as enemies. Enemies to His holiness. Enemies to His righteousness and truth. We were the ones whom the justice of God looked upon as being in rebellion, in revolt against His throne, proud and evil usurpers of His dominion. Where God was to rule over us we, as enemies, had revolted and become our own rulers. It was then, when we were enemies, as we stood in the light of God’s justice as those who had risen up against Him, it was then that God gave His Son to die in order to reconcile us. We are told that it was by the death of His Son that we were reconciled to God.
Reconciliation, as we saw last time, has to do with our standing before God. It brings to us the wonderful truth that harmony and peace has been established between the child of God and God in heaven. Ephesians 2:13-16 puts it so beautifully. There we learn that we were alienated because of our sins from the life of God. But we have been made nigh by the blood of Christ. That captures the idea of reconciliation. We have been made nigh, we have been brought near to God. To accomplish that, Christ died for us. It took the death of God’s Son to reconcile us to God. Imagine that! It was not the sacrifice of merely a good and noble man but, emphatically, it took the death of the Son of God, the pouring out of His life in obedience for us. How great was the love of God toward us? Would you give your son for your enemy? You see, there is nothing greater that God could do. I said that we have an argument here from the greater to the lesser. That is why I call this the greater: God has reconciled us to Himself by the death of His Son. Now if God did that, if God gave His own Son to die for our sins in order that we might be brought near unto God, if that is true, then how much more is it also true that we shall be saved by the life of Christ?
That we were reconciled by the death of His Son means that the only way the barrier, the gulf, between us and God because of our sins could be removed was for the Son of God to die in our place. We were not reconciled to God by Jesus’ teachings. Jesus Christ is not simply the great teacher who has come with profound insight into human existence and social justice in order to aid us in a better understanding of God and how to live our life more God-ward. We are not reconciled to God merely by the example of Jesus Christ, so that by following His example and making better choices and choosing to believe in God and saying the sinner’s prayer, that by these things peace is restored between us and God. Oh, no! We are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, by the awful death of the cross. That death on the cross was when our eternal death, due to us for our sins, was placed upon the head of Jesus Christ. By that death we were reconciled to God. When our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God in our flesh, took our place and died the death we deserved, even the eternal separation that we deserved from God, that was the way we were reconciled to God. Now, note. This is a fact. This great thing that the love of God has done is a fact. We are reconciled. We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. That is a fact.
Well, if that is a fact, that as children of God we are reconciled to God because of the death of God’s Son, then a conclusion may be drawn from that, namely, much more so shall we be saved by His life. Much more. That is, it is even more certain that we shall have eternal life through His life. If this great thing has happened in the past, if a tree was planted on Mount Calvary where God’s Son died for no other reason than to reconcile us unto God, and if as a result of the death of the Son of God I am now reconciled unto God and received into the arms of God, then much more is it also certain that I shall be saved by His life. Then the future salvation of the child of God is certain. It is not: “I hope so, it may be, I’d like to believe…,” but, “It is certain. It is unthinkable, impossible, that God would not do this.”
So the argument is this: If when we were in the state of alienation from God, God showed His love to the extent that He would reconcile us to Himself through the death of His Son, then how much more is it also true that we shall now be saved by His life even unto life eternal?
The apostle says, “Being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” He is speaking here of full and final salvation, when we shall rejoice in the glory of God. We shall be saved from wrath through Him.
It took the Lord’s death, then, to reconcile us to God. But it takes the Lord’s life to save us. If all that we could say is that Christ died for us, and then stop there, we would still have nothing. We must say, He lives in me. I shall be saved by His life. You see, the cross without the resurrection is still not the gospel. The cross and the risen Savior is the gospel. Christ died and arose again. And it is in His life that we shall be saved. It is a living Savior who imparts His life into us, who sanctifies us, who gives to us pure and holy desires, who preserves us, who lives in us by faith and we in Him by faith. Because He lives, we shall live also. That is what He said in John 14:19: “Because I live, ye shall live also.”
Not only has He sworn to us that He died on the cross to reconcile us unto God, but He also swears in the resurrection that “because I live, ye shall live also.”
Now let holy faith in your heart and mind do some thinking about what God has done-some holy reasoning. God has reconciled us by the death of His Son. God has removed the barrier between us and God by giving His Son to take away our awful sin, that vile mass of our sin. God’s Son now lives. His life is the life of His people. Well, then. Figure it out for yourself. Much more then shall we be saved by His life. We are looking at the mightiest argument that we shall ever meet in all of our life. We shall never meet with a greater argument than this. He died? Yes. But He lives! He is in heaven, there interceding in our behalf before His Father. He lives as the risen, powerful Lord Jesus who will never let go one for whom He has died. From heaven He imparts His life into us, His strength and power by which we seek the things which are above. We are in Him. Well, then, our position as children of God is absolutely certain and secure. If God gave His Son to death for us while we were yet enemies, how much more will He not also save us to the uttermost in His risen and living Son!
I am convinced, I am persuaded, it is sure! We shall be saved in His life. There is certainty there, a certainty that rests in God and in what God has done, which rests in the love of God through which He has reconciled me to Himself by the death of His Son. It would be an insult to God to think that He could accomplish the greater work and fail in the lesser.
There is reason for confidence. The same Savior who died to reconcile us to God now lives, and He lives for one reason: in order that He might sanctify, protect, and glorify His people. We shall be saved by His life.
That is a blessed knowledge. That knowledge is ours, as children of God, whether we go through life or death, sorrow or joy, heaviness and burdens or sunshine and rejoicing, whether there is ruin physically and financially or health and prospects of prosperity, whether our work is blessed or our work falls to the ground, whether evil men persecute us and we are made to fear death or whether we are surrounded by good men and kindness. This much we know: we shall be saved in His life. Why do we know that? We know that because when we were God’s enemies God reconciled us to Himself by the death of His Son. Much more, then, because Christ now lives, we shall also live in Him!
Now you say to me, yes, I can see this. I can see that this doctrine is very convincing and very wonderful. I can see that it has iron strength to it, that there is an unbreakable union between the resurrection and final salvation. Of course. Those reconciled by God’s Son must now be saved in His life. But is this true for me?
You notice that the apostle has used, throughout the chapter and in this verse, the plural personal pronoun “we”-Paul and the saints of God in Jesus Christ, but personal. It is something that is personally known. The gospel is not theoretical knowledge. It is personal knowledge through faith. Is that you?
Do you see that you are an enemy of God of yourself? Do you understand by the shining of God’s Word into your heart that of yourself you are not a good person, you are not self-sufficient, you are not simply better than most, but that you possess a heart of sin which is full of rebellion against God? Does this sin grieve you? Does it humble you? Does it knock you off your proud feet? Does it put you on the ground? And does your heart wonder in amazement over the love of God which would give His Son, not for good men and women, but for His enemies? Do you see the cross as the Son of God dying for those who are rebel sinners? Do you realize that if you are to be reconciled to God it can only be through the death of His Son?
This is the work of the Holy Spirit of Christ. This is the work of God in your heart. And now to you comes the word of assurance that although your sins be many, yet by the gift of God, a gift of faith, looking now to the cross and resurrection of your Savior, you may have certainty and confidence. You have been reconciled by His death. You shall be saved in His life.
And if you ask, Why, why me? What is the reason that I should receive such gifts from the hand of God? the answer is but one: the amazing love of God.
God bless this Word to our hearts.
Let us pray.
Father, we thank Thee for Thy Word so wonderful and so true. We pray that we may build our life by faith upon the Word of God and that we may live in that confidence that, being reconciled to God by the death of His Son, we shall be saved by His life. Amen.