The concept of being “reconciled to God,” as mentioned in the Bible, is truly remarkable. It implies friendship with God. The Greek term used for it is “apokatallassō,” derived from the verb “katallassō” which means to change from enmity to friendship and reconcile. This term is exclusively used in Paul’s epistles, such as Ephesians 2:16 and Colossians 1:20, 21. The Apostle Paul uses the prefix “apo” to convey that we are “brought back to a former state of harmony.”
We Once Had Friendship With God
The implication of this New Testament principle is that there was a time when there was no enmity, hostility, or separation between God and mankind. Just imagine- there was once a time when we lived in complete harmony with our Creator. When was that time? It was, of course, in the Garden of Eden. According to the Scriptures, Adam and Eve were created by God without any trace of sin. Their relationship with God was pure and unblemished, marked by an intimate bond and boundless love. They enjoyed the privilege of walking and conversing with their Creator, reveling in His divine presence, and relishing the vastness of God’s wisdom and grace.
Tragically Sin Broke Our Friendship With God
However, this state of perfection did not last. Tragically, sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Tempted by the serpent, Eve succumbed to the allure of forbidden fruit and convinced Adam to join her in eating it. In that moment, humanity’s innocence was shattered, and the consequences of their transgression reverberated throughout history. The very moment that sin entered the world, Adam and Eve immediately realized they were naked and immediately tried to hide from God. The perfect relationship between humanity and God was fractured, replaced by shame, guilt, and separation from the divine presence. From that fateful act of disobedience, the entire human race inherited a fallen nature, prone to sin and in need of redemption. This single act introduced enmity between God and mankind.
God Restores Our Friendship With Him
Nonetheless, amidst the darkness, God’s plan of salvation emerged, offering hope and restoration to those who would turn to Him. God’s plan of reconciliation rests solely in the redeeming power of Christ’s blood, which reconciles us to God and restored us to a state of harmony. Through His sacrificial act, we can experience a transformative change, akin to a “changing back” to the time before sin entered the world.
As believers, we are no longer in conflict with God; we have been brought back to that intimate connection we once had, reminiscent of walking with Him “in the cool of the day” as depicted in Genesis 3:8. Our hearts and minds are now able to commune with Him freely, unburdened by guilt or separation. The privilege of this restored relationship is an invitation to embrace the divine presence and experience the joy of deep fellowship with our Creator. It is a remarkable gift made possible through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.
Reconciled With God
It is quite interesting to note that the term apokatallassō is absent from Classical Greek. The basic verb katallassō was also not frequently used in ancient pagan worship. This is because the pagans did not believe reconciliation with their gods was possible. They had no concept of a deity with whom they could have a peaceful relationship. In ancient pagan religions, the gods were always furious and required constant appeasement.
It is worth noting that the idea of apokatallassō is exclusively present in Paul’s epistles. This is because there has never been a time since the Garden of Eden when humans have been restored to a state of complete harmony with God. Only the blood of Christ could accomplish that. Even the Old Testament sacrifices were inadequate; they were only an “atonement,” that is, a covering of sin. Only by Christ’s blood could we be truly reconciled back to God.
Christ’s Atoning Work Reconciles Us
The idea of reconciliation holds great significance in the relationship between humanity and God. Thanks to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, we have been reconciled with God. The gap created by sin has been bridged, and a path to restoration has been opened. This reconciliation surpasses human understanding, as it is not based on our own efforts, but on the infinite love and grace of God.
Through Christ’s atoning work on the cross, we have been forgiven of our sins, and we have been made right with God. This reconciliation is not simply a surface-level exchange; it is a deep and meaningful reunion with our Creator. We are welcomed back into His loving embrace, into a place of acceptance, forgiveness, and intimate communion.
This reconciliation is an invitation to walk hand in hand with God. It is a calling to live in alignment with His purposes. Friendship with God is an opportunity to experience the fullness of life found in His presence. This immeasurable gift is a testament to God’s never-ending love and desire to bring us into a harmonious relationship.