Atonement: Wrath until Reconciled

Ken Hamrick

Active member
Reconciliation is mutual or there is no reconciliation. God is not reconciled to us until we believe. This is why elect unbelievers remain under God’s wrath.
Eph. 2:3 ESV
among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
John 3:36 ESV
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Rom. 1:18 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Rom. 2:4-5 ESV
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Rom. 4:15 ESV
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
God’s wrath is not removed from us until our sin is removed, and we remain in sin until we believe in Christ and His blood-sacrifice is applied to us.

The world is reconciled to God one sinner at a time, as each one comes to faith. No one is reconciled until they are reconciled.
2 Cor. 5:18-20 ESV
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
God reconciled us to Himself at the same time that He gave us the ministry of reconciliation—at our point of saving faith. God’s acts of “reconciling the world to himself,” and, “not counting their trespasses against them,” and, “entrusting to us the message of reconciliation,” are not spoken of here as past, finished actions, but as ongoing actions. This is further shown by the fact that we are still making God’s appeal, and imploring men, “Be reconciled to God!” From the first moment of Christ’s incarnation, God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself—and He has continued to do so even up to today. He is even now reconciling the world to Himself, and He does so through the combination of what Christ did on the cross and the ministry of reconciliation given to believers, whereby we implore men, “Be reconciled to God!”
Eph 2:1-3 ESV
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Col. 1:21 ESV
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
You who were once alienated and hostile in mind, a child of wrath—when were you reconciled to God? When was God’s wrath against your sins propitiated?
Col. 1:21-22 ESV
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
We are now reconciled, now that we have been saved through faith. How is it that we are now reconciled? —Through “his body of flesh by his death.” It is His death then that reconciles us now.
Col. 2:13-14 ESV
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
When we were still dead in our trespasses, God made us alive in Christ, “having forgiven all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us…” How did He cancel this record of our debt? By nailing it to the cross! Had He nailed it to the cross before we were born it would not need to be further canceled. The language is clear: we were dead in trespasses, and then God made us alive in Christ, and He did so by nailing the record of our debt to the cross. This speaks of our condition when we came to Christ, but does not mean that the two states, dead and alive, were in any way concurrent.

How is it that the record of our sins can be nailed to the cross today? It is by our blessed union with Christ…
Gal. 2:20 ESV
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Just as I was nailed to that cross at my point of faith (and union with Christ), so also was the record of my debt nailed to that cross at my point of faith.
Eph. 2:1-9 ESV
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Even when we were dead in our trespasses, the children of wrath by nature (“while we were enemies”), He made us alive together with Christ by grace through faith.
Rom. 5:1 ESV
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:6-11 ESV
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
In verses 6-8, we see that Christ died while all men were still sinners and weak. Paul and his immediate readers did exist at the time of His death, and so the pronoun, “we,” fits doubly for them. But notice the difference for us in v. 9: “…we have now been justified by his blood,…” Now can only refer to the point of faith that is spoken of in v. 1, “justified by faith.” “…much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” This refers to the future “day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (2:5). Verse 10 is held up by many as establishing that Christ’s death was an immediate transaction that reconciled us to God at the time of His death, but in the light of Col. 1-2 and Eph. 2, we see a different meaning. “While we were enemies” refers to our state before God “made us alive together with him.” We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son at our point of faith; and now that we have been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life from the wrath to come. It is now that we have received reconciliation (v. 11). To be reconciled by the death of the Son does not require that the reconciliation happen at the time of that death—and indeed, it cannot happen at the time of death for those who remain under the wrath of God.

Ken Hamrick
 

Stephen

Active member
Reconciliation is mutual or there is no reconciliation. God is not reconciled to us until we believe. This is why elect unbelievers remain under God’s wrath.

This may be a case of poor phrasing in your first sentence, however I don't think there needs to be mutual reconciliation at all. God does not need to be reconciled to us. We need to be reconciled to God. He's right. He's always been right. The scriptural model that I see in the verses you provide is that God reached out through is son and reconciled us to him through the cross. It is a one way street. We need to be reconciled to God, but God doesn't need to reconciled to us.

However, in his great love for his children, God has provided the means and shown us the way for us to be reconciled to him. It is very much as the picture shows in Genesis 3: Adam ran from God, and God had to coax him back. The dynamic hasn't changed.
 

Our Lord's God

Well-known member
Reconciliation is mutual or there is no reconciliation. God is not reconciled to us until we believe. This is why elect unbelievers remain under God’s wrath.

In Christ, God reconciled the world to Himself.

The above does not say God reconciled the world to Himself. It says God reconciled the world to Himself IN CHRIST.

Christ is our peace and all things in the heavens and on the earth, aka "the kosmos" were created anew IN HIM.

That's why those in him are NEW CREATIONS.


God’s wrath is not removed from us until our sin is removed, and we remain in sin until we believe in Christ and His blood-sacrifice is applied to us.

No wrath is required for a dead man. Believers are those who have DIED together with Christ.

The world is reconciled to God one sinner at a time, as each one comes to faith. No one is reconciled until they are reconciled.

No, the world was reconciled to God IN CHRIST.

God reconciled us to Himself at the same time that He gave us the ministry of reconciliation—at our point of saving faith. God’s acts of “reconciling the world to himself,” and, “not counting their trespasses against them,” and, “entrusting to us the message of reconciliation,” are not spoken of here as past, finished actions, but as ongoing actions. This is further shown by the fact that we are still making God’s appeal, and imploring men, “Be reconciled to God!” From the first moment of Christ’s incarnation, God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself—and He has continued to do so even up to today. He is even now reconciling the world to Himself, and He does so through the combination of what Christ did on the cross and the ministry of reconciliation given to believers, whereby we implore men, “Be reconciled to God!”

Men are in the process of being reconciled to God BECAUSE the world was reconciled to God IN CHRIST.

You who were once alienated and hostile in mind, a child of wrath—when were you reconciled to God? When was God’s wrath against your sins propitiated?

We are now reconciled, now that we have been saved through faith. How is it that we are now reconciled? —Through “his body of flesh by his death.” It is His death then that reconciles us now.

Dying with him is our appeal to God for a good conscience since this act of repentance is how our sins are washed away.

When we were still dead in our trespasses, God made us alive in Christ, “having forgiven all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us…”

Paul is here referring to THE LAW.

“While we were enemies” refers to our state before God “made us alive together with him.” We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son at our point of faith; and now that we have been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life from the wrath to come. It is now that we have received reconciliation (v. 11). To be reconciled by the death of the Son does not require that the reconciliation happen at the time of that death—and indeed, it cannot happen at the time of death for those who remain under the wrath of God.

Look again:

of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law, do the Law, these, they not having the Law, are a law to themselves..... But if you bear the name “JEW and rely upon the Law and boast in God...

3:9 What then? Are WE better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin....

4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, OUR forefather according to the flesh,....

..... For if while WE were enemies WE were reconciled to God through the death of His Son
 
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