Not only do we enjoy the benefits of reconciliation, and of salvation through the life of our resurrected Lord, but we also are enabled to joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is no small benefit.  The person who does not know that his sins are fully and finally forgiven has no grounds whatsoever for rejoicing in God; for, if he truly understands who God is, in His character as a righteous Judge, he will tremble at the thought of being called to the bar of divine justice to give account for the deeds done in the body.  But the believer in Christ is in no such doubtful position.  He can uninhibitedly rejoice in God, viewing Him as a gracious Father, a tender Shepherd, a mighty Defender, because he has been brought into a state of reconciliation and acceptance through the work of Christ.  I will say this as well: only the person whose rejoicing in God is through our Lord Jesus Christ has a true right to rejoice.  Except we can claim an interest in the one and only Saviour God has provided, then we stand before Him still unreconciled, our sins still staining us, leaving us subject to His wrath.  Therefore, all religious rejoicing that men may exercise is based on faulty grounds, if it is not centered upon the work which Christ has done to rescue poor sinners from perishing.

I would notice also the possessive word our Lord Jesus Christ; here it is not the, but our.  Even this little word is not, I believe, without significance.  It indicates our present and abiding interest in Him as a Saviour, a Redeemer, an Advocate.  He is ours, as Husband, as Friend, as Guide, as Prophet, Priest, and King.  He is ours for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  Every true believer may justly claim a full interest in Christ, and proclaim, “My beloved is mine, and I am His!”

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Through Him we have now received the atonement.  As many have noticed, this is the only place in the Authorized Version New Testament where the word atonement is found; it is in every other place translated as reconciliation.  Perhaps it should have been well to do so here, yet I have no great argument with our translators.  We receive reconciliation only through Christ’s atonement, and therefore the two words boil down essentially to the same thing.  It is a happy thought that we have received reconciliation, which is the benefit of Christ’s atoning work, from the hand of God as a free gift.

And now the apostle will proceed to return to the concept of imputation, whereby he will confirm yet even more concretely the absolute assurance that all those should enjoy who have placed their faith in Christ alone for salvation.

 

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