THE subject of this study was not chosen simply to make a play on words,
but to direct attention, to a fact that is lamentably serious, indeed. So far as I know,
after long study and wide acquaintance, only those who have profited by personal study of
the Concordant Version of the Sacred Scriptures have any true realization of the glorious
evangel of the conciliation. It is true that a few careful students have caught a glimpse
of the transcendent truth, but influenced by weak and faulty translations, they were never
able to arrive at a clear and full understanding of the subject as it is really revealed
by the Scriptures in their purity. The majority are taken up with the evangel of
Circumcision which is concerned with the kingdom, carrying pardon or forgiveness, and
consequently they never reach the glorious evangel committed to Paul for us gentiles,
bringing the exultant deliverance of justification and conciliation--peace.
is founded on Romans 5:10,11; 11:15; and 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, with especial attention
devoted to verses eighteen and nineteen of second Corinthians five. They read:
"Yet all is of God, Who conciliates us to Himself through Christ, and is giving us
the dispensation of the conciliation, how that, in Christ, God was conciliating the world
to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them, and placing in us the word of the
These verses of Scripture set forth an evangel and its dispensation, naturally dividing
the study into two sections:
I. The Evangel: What God did in Christ.
II. Its Dispensation: What God is saying through His ambassadors.
THE EVANGEL OF THE CONCILIATION
The evangel of the conciliation, or "reconciliation" as we are accustomed to
read and speak of it, should be of the utmost interest to all saints and truth lovers. But
before we can hope for any real progress in the realization of the grand truth as it is in
Christ, we must give diligent study to the words of our text and imbibe their true
significance as originally given by the spirit of God.
Conciliation, or "reconciliation," presupposes a state of estrangement. The
feeling of alienation and hostility may exist on one side only, or it may exist upon both.
The question arises as to the character or state of the estrangement which exists between
God and mankind independently of the evangel, and which the dispensation of the
conciliation is designed to overcome, Is it one-sided or two-sided? Is there something to
be put away in man only or something to be put away in God also, before reconciliation can
These questions have been answered very confidently in different ways, yet we may
profit where others have failed by giving heart diligence to a discriminating study of the
words used by Inspiration.
"God was conciliating."
In our common version of this text, we read reconciling instead of conciliating. The
two words carry different meanings. Some expositors, realizing that the word
reconciliation did not express the idea conveyed by the underlying original here, have
spoken of "a one-sided reconciliation," which is, to say the least, a difficult
idea to grasp. It simply involves the subject with difficulties rather than clarifies it.
The weakness is in the translation. Only a fresh rendering that will uniformly and
consistently express the precise sense of the original will clarify the subject and allow
us to enter into the precious truth with a full realization.
When, in English, we speak of reconciliation, we immediately think of two persons or
parties who were once estranged, becoming mutually conciliated, and so, at peace with each
other. Such, however, is not the meaning of the word conciliating in our text. It is
obvious to all, that the world, which God was conciliating, is not yet free of its
estrangement and enmity, and is not now rejoicing in the grace and fellowship of peace
with God. Therefore, the word reconciliation conveys a meaning entirely different from
that which is expressed by the original text here. And to fully apprehend this, it is
necessary to bear in mind that estrangement and conciliation may be either one-sided or
two-sided. When conciliation is two-sided, or mutual, it becomes reconciliation. But in
the Scripture we are studying, it is a one-sided change, conciliation, effected by God
alone. This is the basis upon which He is able to show an attitude of grace toward the
whole world. This one-sided change is expressed in the Scriptures by the Greek word
katalagee, DOWN- CHANGE, conciliation. The thought of a two-sided change is expressed in
the Greek by apo-katallassoo, FROM-DOWN-CHANGE, reconcile. The Concordant Version of the
Sacred Scriptures is the only translation I know of which brings over into English the
important distinctions made by the spirit in the original here.
Now the word apo-katallassoo, meaning reconcile, does properly occur three times in the
Scriptures, Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20,21. A brief consideration of these occurrences
will enable us to more clearly grasp the meaning of the word katalagee, conciliation,
which we are studying.
The first occurrence is in Ephesians 2:16. and reads:
"For He is our Peace, Who makes both [believing Jew and gentile] one, and razes
the central wall of the barrier (the enmity in His flesh), abrogating the law of precepts
in the decrees, that He should be creating the two, in Himself, into one new humanity,
making peace; and should be reconciling both with God in one body through the cross,
killing the enmity in it."
Here is true reconciliation. Jew and gentile are created into one new humanity in
Christ, where all racial antagonisms and distinctions vanish, with Him as our Peace, and
both reconciled unto God in one body through the cross, where the enmity was killed. The
teaching of this Scripture reveals a two-sided change by which enmity has been replaced
with peace, and is correctly expressed by the word reconciliation.
Our next occurrence is found in Colossians 1:20, and speaks of a glorious purpose of
God to be attained through the blood of the cross of Christ:
"And He is the Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from
among the dead, that in all He should be becoming first, seeing that the entire complement
delights to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile the universe to Him (making peace
through the blood of His cross) through Him, whether on the earth or in the heavens."
The conciliation (which we will more clearly appreciate as we progress in this study),
the peace that was made in the blood of the cross of Christ, was one-sided--"Yet all
is of God"-- and here we are given a glimpse of the glorious benefit that will
eventually accrue to the whole universe as a result of the grand work which God
accomplished in Him on the cross. Peace was made through the blood of His cross to
reconcile all things to God, whether on the earth or in the heavens, and speaks of the
finished purpose of God when the eons have run their course.
The next and last occurrence of reconcile is found in Colossians 1:21, and is addressed
to believers, who have "received the conciliation" and are, therefore, enjoying
a present two-sided change--reconciliation--with peace reigning between God and His
people, where once alienation and enmity held sway.
"And you, being once estranged and enemies in comprehension, in acts of
wickedness, yet now He reconciles by His body of flesh, through His death, to present you
holy and flawless and unimpeachable, in His sight...."
This Scripture reveals that at present, reconciliation includes only those who, like
the Colossians, believe in Him, and have the realization of this precious truth that God
has made peace in the death of His Son on the cross. It will be helpful to remember that
salvation depends only on the work of Christ and is not affected by our feelings, while
reconciliation depends on our side, upon our enjoyment of this favor through the reception
and heart realization of the truth that God has made the conciliation.
The brief study we have given to the three occurrences of reconciliation enables us to
clearly apprehend that a two-sided change is always implied in the use of the word. But in
the evangel of the conciliation, it is always a one-sided change:
"Yet all is of God, who conciliates us to Himself through Christ.
In Christ, God was conciliating the world to Himself."
These Scriptures tell us that "all is of God" in the grand work of
conciliation, and, unless we view it from this divinely revealed standpoint, it will not
be possible to appreciate the reality of the grace which is ours through this glorious
SECOND: "THE WORLD"
"God was conciliating the world."
But the world had no part in the great transaction! This is a fact of the supremest
importance to a clear apprehension of the truth of the evangel of the conciliation, for it
is here that the truth is perverted and lost. God was conciliating the world does not mean
that God was trying to convert men, or prevail with them to lay aside their enmity, but
that He was disposing of everything on His side which made peace impossible. When Christ's
work was done, the conciliation of the world was an accomplished fact. And when men are
besought to receive it, they enter into and respond to God's attitude. They may charge
their hearts and say: There is peace. God Himself has made peace. He did it through the
death of His Son. Before that death, God put barriers between Himself and mankind. Yea, He
shut the nations out from His presence altogether. But now every barrier has been removed.
The conciliation of the world has been made. All who receive the clear realization of the
transcendent truth can exult in peace that is full and abiding, which God wrought in the
death of His beloved Son, apart from man's knowledge or belief. It is no more affected by
man's enmity than sunshine is affected by blind eyes that do not see it.
Furthermore, the conciliation does not embrace believers only. The very universality of
the expression shows that all mankind have been brought into this grace. God can, and
does, ignore all their personal offenses to Him. In spite of the world's unbelief and
misapprehension and enmity, God persists in the peace He made by the death of His Son.
Though the world is not, on its side, conciliated to God, He has, at infinite cost, been
conciliated to the world. Men's sins and transgressions are laid on Christ, but their
offenses are all ignored--not reckoned to them. His justice requires satisfaction for the
ruin wrought by their sins and for the breach of His holy law. These must be expiated.
Offenses may be overlooked, just as God pleases, without tarnishing His name, but sin and
transgression must be taken into account if God is to sustain His righteous and holy
character. So for these, He Himself, provides a Sacrifice. Christ is His Sin-offering. And
so conciliation proceeds. Offenses are not taken into account, sins and transgressions are
put away. Then what is left between God and His creatures? Nothing on God's side! And on
man's side nothing but the grateful reception of the conciliation- -blessed peace. And
again, let me repeat that this grace includes the world, and it is God Who said it.
THIRD: "TO HIMSELF"
"God was conciliating the world to Himself."
How a righteous and holy God can be at peace with a world of malignant sinners is the
problem. But the conciliation, be it remembered, is not something we accomplish when we
lay aside our enmity to God, but it is something which God accomplished when, in the death
of His Son, He put away everything on His side that meant estrangement. Man offended and
injured His Maker. God's condemnation of the world and its sin--His indignation revealed
from heaven on all the irreverence and injustice of men--must be satisfactorily expiated
before there can be peace on the side of a holy and righteous God. Hence, God first dealt
with His condemnation of sin in Christ, at the cross, and effectually removed all
obstacles by that awful demonstration of His love. Now that this has been fully and
righteously accomplished, it is "the word of the conciliation" that He would
have us preach.
FOURTH: "IN CHRIST"
"In Christ, God was conciliating the world to Himself."
Christ, the Image of the invisible God and Firstborn of all creation, is the Emblem of
all His assumptions. All that God does is in and through His Anointed, whether in
creation, salvation, justification, conciliation, or reconciliation. So in the great work
of the conciliation, it was in Christ that God conciliated the world to Himself, and the
basis upon which it was accomplished is made known to us through a marvelous statement of
Scripture that is worthy of our most serious meditation.
"For the One knowing no sin, He makes sin for our sakes, that we should be
becoming God's righteousness in Him" (2 Cor.5:21).
Here is the grandest expression of God's love for mankind in all the Scriptures. He
makes Christ to be sin for our sakes! What is the significance of such a statement? Our
sin is made His. It is accepted, exhausted, annihilated in His death on the cross. When we
receive the conciliation, we become God's righteousness in Him, and may be having peace.
What a glorious evangel--good news--that in Christ, by virtue of the death He died for our
sakes, He exhausted God's condemnation of sin, and we take His righteousness!
The basis of peace is righteousness. And before there could be any peace, Christ must
be dealt with as sin, that God's condemnation of sin might be exhausted, so that mankind
might have righteousness indeed--the righteousness of God in Christ. Therefore, God having
effectually and satisfactorily dealt with sin in Christ--making Him to be sin for our
sakes--all may now receive the conciliation by faith and exult in the peace it provided.
Now the fact we must not overlook is, that we were not conciliated to God when we
surrendered to His entreaties, but while we were enemies. The Scriptures declare that:
"...being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the death of His Son"
The death of God's Son is the solitary and sufficient cause. "In Christ" God
did the work without human instrumentality. "All is of God." And as evidence
that God is satisfied with His own achievement, He does not "reckon to men their
offenses." How offensive were men at Golgotha! That crime was surely man's greatest
offense. But God met sin with grace, evil with good. Instead of pouring out well-deserved
wrath, He makes entreaties of peace. That very death which Christ endured at the hands of
offensive men, procured the conciliation, and constitutes the permanent, abiding basis
upon which the dispensation of peace may be proclaimed.
II. THE DISPENSATION OF THE CONCILIATION
We have now come to the consideration of the second part of our study "the
dispensation of the conciliation." God having conciliated the world to Himself, He
places it in us. He charges our hearts with His spirit of love in order that we may speak
"the word of the conciliation."
This is the "mystery," or secret, of the evangel. In Chapters IX and X, our
study engaged us with the evangels differentiated, with special attention given to the
evangel Paul preached, which he characterized by the words "my evangel." This,
we learned, was "God's evangel" for which Paul was severed and offers
justification, God's own righteousness, for the obedience of faith (Rom.1:15; Phil.3:9).
But the "mystery" of the evangel was a secret until made known through the
apostle Paul as the evangel of the conciliation, and is concerned with peace. His fervent
desire that we should be established in this glorious truth, moved him to set it forth in
praise to Him Who alone has the power to do so:
"Now to Him Who is able to establish you in accord with my evangel, and the
proclamation of Christ Jesus in accord with the revelation of a secret hushed in times
eonian, yet manifested now,...being made known to all nations for the obedience of faith
As we pointed out in former chapters on the evangels, so again we press the fact, that
Paul was not sent out in fellowship with the rest of the apostles. In the historical book
of Acts, chapter 13, we read of the holy spirit severing him for the work to which he was
called--"Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, a called apostle, having been severed for
God's evangel (which He promises before through His prophets in the holy Scriptures)
concerning His Son...Jesus Christ, our Lord, through Whom we obtained grace and
apostleship for faith obedience among all the nations for His name's sake"
Both he and the other apostles preached the kingdom of God as recorded in the book of
Acts, which chronicles the affairs of the kingdom and nothing more. The twelve preached
from the standpoint of John the baptist and that of our Lord during His earthly ministry,
and confined themselves to Jews and proselytes. But we find Paul conducting a twofold
ministry--witnessing the evangel of the kingdom of God in the synagogues to Jews and
proselytes, and when driven out, proclaiming the evangel of God, justification for the
obedience of faith to all, which he differentiates by calling it "my evangel."
The twelve never preached it.
During the proclamation of this evangel from Acts 13 to 28, the kingdom continued
through the twelve to Israel, confirmed by miracles and wonders done by the power of the
holy spirit. The nation was given opportunity once and again to repent under this
proclamation attested from heaven. The witness not only reached all the sons of Israel in
the land, but Paul carried it outside] to those dispersed among the nations. But the
representatives of the nation opposed the witness of the spirit, and with this fact in
view, Paul writes to the Romans of their apostasy, saying:
"God gives them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes not to be observing,
Ears not to be hearing,
Till this very day" (Rom.11:8).
"...their casting away is the conciliation of the world" (Rom. 11:15).
This Scripture speaks of a great change in the circumstances and condition of affairs,
little appreciated in Christendom today. It was not until the nation of Israel was thrust
aside, that the way was clear for the revelation of the secret--the conciliation of the
world. The kingdom was concerned with the restoration of the throne of David, and the
evangel of God reverted to the faith of Abraham, but the grace we are considering in the
secret of the evangel leads back to Adam. To apprehend and appreciate all this, we must
recognize that at one time "salvation was of the Jews," and that the time will
come again when they will be God's channel of blessing to all the families of the earth.
But now God makes their apostasy the occasion of revealing reserves of grace too great to
be channeled by them, and greater far than any of their promise covenants. It is the
conciliation which has to do with peace, and carries us back to Eden, directing our hearts
to Adam's lamentable offense, which brought estrangement between creature and Creator.
"There in that primeval innocence is a scene delightful to behold, when Jehovah
came, in the cool of the evening breeze, to enjoy the companionship of the man whom He had
created. And what greater honor, what greater joy, could Adam crave than to hear His voice
and be admitted to the intimacy of His thoughts in companionship with the Great Creator?
"When the trees and the creatures were found inadequate to meet the needs of
Adam's heart, He made the woman to satisfy his affections. In all this He proved His love
"But in an evil hour, when Jehovah was not there, it was insinuated that Jehovah
was not really desirous of their good, but was jealous lest they become His peers! The
dart was not aimed at Jehovah's power or His wisdom alone. It was aimed at His affections,
His very heart.
"The woman hearkened to the insinuations, and the man hearkened to the woman, and
Jehovah's loving kindness was trampled under foot!
"Adam's sin has various aspects: It questioned the wisdom of God and destroyed His
works. It questioned His justice and assailed His character. It questioned His love and
wounded His affections.
"It was a sin; it was a transgression; it was an offense.
"As a sin, it threw the grand machinery of the universe out of gear, so that it
grinds itself to pieces. And with the ruin it brings the groans and travail under which
creation labors and turns all to corruption. It wrecks the beauteous cosmogony into fuel
for the universal conflagration.
"As a transgression, it brought down the curse of a righteous God.
"But worse than sin, and sorer than transgression, was the offense which ached the
heart of God, and brought estrangement between Himself and the creature upon whom His
affection had been so freely lavished.
"For Adam's sin and transgression Jehovah provides a covering. The first blood
earth's startled soil ever drank was shed in that primeval paradise. And Jehovah Himself
it is Who slays an inoffensive beast to provide a covering for the guilty pair. A fit
picture of the blood of God's holy Lamb, which not only covers sin and transgression, but
puts it away.
"This much was done for Adam. But the breach was never healed. Confidence was not
restored. Adam was still estranged. So to prevent the mischief from taking an irradicable
root, Adam is driven from the garden. Cherubim are stationed at the eastern side and a
flaming sword, which turned every way to preserve the way of the tree of life."
[Excerpts from MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL, by A. E. K.]
The conciliation thus shadowed forth became a secret "hushed" in the eonian
times, until revealed through the apostle Paul, after the nation of Israel became
calloused in apostasy. And the proclamation is to continue in accord with the revelation
of the secret of the evangel, until the full complement of the nations be come in, as it
"For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret, brethren, lest you
may pass for prudent among yourselves, that Israel, in part, has become calloused until
the full complement of the nations may be entering" (Rom.11:25,26).
After the full complement of the nations enter, then Israel will be taken up again and
"saved according as it is written" (Rom.11:26,27). The day of the Lord will
ensue and the preaching of the conciliation will be withdrawn. But after the day of the
Lord has run its course, and the priestly ministry of Israel has been finished, we enter
the new creation, the day of God, when the universe, in the heavens and on the earth, will
be headed up in the Christ, as the Son of His love, when the word of the conciliation will
be dispensed to all creatures. God Himself will tabernacle with mankind, and glory and
honor and peace will be the blissful enjoyment of all.
The present Secret Administration is a spiritual counterpart of that glorious
"administration of the complement of the eras" of the last eon. We are now
blessed with every spiritual blessing among the celestials in Christ. Whatever blessedness
of glory and honor and peace God has in store for His creatures in the last eon, He has
already, now, in spirit, lavished it on all who are, and believe in, Christ Jesus. It is
thus that "the consummations of the eons have attained" to us. May He establish
all who read this in the heart realization of this grand truth.
So now is the era for the dispensation of this good news, this transcendent news, this
urgent news--the word of the conciliation--the grandest commission ever committed to man:
"We are, then, ambassadors for Christ, as God entreating through us. We are
beseeching for Christ, "Be conciliated to God!'" (2 Cor.5:20).
What a thought this is--God actually condescending to pray and beseech mankind to be
conciliated, to be at peace with Him! Then again, expositors have noted the amazing
contrast between the words "We are ambassadors" and "we are
beseeching." Am ambassador, as a rule, stands upon his dignity, maintaining the
greatness of the person whom he represents. Yet, no one thinks of Paul, in his lowly,
passionate entreaty, as being false to Christ, but by his attitude, manifests an
incomparable commendation of the grace of Christ in the dispensation of the conciliation
in the spirit of the evangel. Just imagine how Saul the Pharisee would have spoken on
God's behalf, with what rigor, what austerity, what unbending, uncompromising assurance!
"...there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo! it has become new"
This verse illumines as a lightning flash, the new world into which the evangel has
translated Paul. The fire that burned in the heart of Christ has now kindled in him an
ardent passion of overwhelming grace and love. Fully conscious of the grandeur of his
calling and commission, there is nothing he would not do to get men to be conciliated to
In his dignity as Christ's ambassador, and as the mouthpiece of God, in his humility,
his passionate earnestness, in the urgency and directness of his appeal, Paul is the
supreme type and example of the evangelist, pastor, and teacher today. In the passage upon
which our study is based, we have the appeal of the evangel in its simplest form. Wherever
Paul stood before men on Christ's behalf, his prayer and entreaty was,
"Be conciliated to God!"
This entreaty cannot mean anything but, Accept His offered friendship and enter into
peace which He made for the world in the death of His Son! Believe that He, at infinite
cost, put away all that stood between you and God! Receive the conciliation!
Let it be clear that, in the dispensation of the evangel of the conciliation, God is
not charging men with their sins. The sinner may be most offensive and insulting, but God
does not count these offenses against him. This is astounding to many, even the saints
today, and reveals how completely the evangel of the conciliation is lost in Christendom.
But some one asks: What about my sins? May I again emphasize the truth for a lasting
remembrance, that Christ died for sins, and satisfied God's justice in condemnation of
sin. That is full and sufficient and final, hence the evangel of the conciliation is not
concerned with the sinner or his sins at all, but with God's attitude toward mankind
through the death of His Son. God insists on being at peace with the world, no matter how
they treated His Son, or now treat any of His ambassadors. He will withdraw us, His
ambassadors, before He declares war in the coming day of indignation.
Let it be indelibly written on our hearts that God effectually settled the sin question
on the cross, once for all, when He made Christ "sin" for our sakes, that we
should be becoming God's righteousness in Him. Therefore if there is some estrangement
between you and God, it is all on your side. Do you cherish some enmity, some prejudice,
some stubborn unbelief, some desire to be rid of the restraints of His will? That is the
only hindrance between you and the peace that transcends knowledge. God is entreating
through us, and we are beseeching for Christ
"Be conciliated to God!"
What must I do? you ask. There is nothing for you to do, dear reader, but gratefully
accept in your heart His proffered love, and thank and adore Him for the grace glorious
which He is lavishing upon you, and rejoice in peace and fellowship with Him that is full,
free and abiding.
By inbred sin and practice far--
How very far from God!
Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him,
Through faith in Christ's own blood.
So near, so very near to God,
I cannot nearer be;
For in the person of His Son,
I am as near as He.
So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love wherewith He loves the Son--
Such is His love for me.