(continued - 3)

by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXV

August, 1945

Number 1

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

The conciliation is made known in the pre-prison writings of Paul. In Second Corinthians 5:18-20 we find: "Yet all is of God, Who conciliates us to Himself through Christ, and is giving us the dispensation of the conciliation, how that God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them, and placing in us the word of conciliation.  For Christ, then we are ambassadors, as if God entreating through us.  We are beseeching, 'For Christ's sake be conciliated to God.'" 

This teaching was lost many centuries ago.  Today it is a strange doctrine.  The average saint has no idea what it is. The average preacher brings messages that are directly the opposite.  

The use of the word, "ambassador," should cause us to have a suspicion that God is at peace with the world, since no government keeps an ambassador at the capital of a government with which it is at war.  The average sermon we hear today not only says that God is angry, but also indicates that He is at war with humanity.  The constant call to sinners to "surrender" to God, presupposes that He is fighting them. Set over against such doctrine, is the declaration in our text, that God is not reckoning the offenses of the world to them.  The truth is He insists on being at peace with them, in spite of their offenses.  This is the Conciliation. 

Paul's language in our text is peculiar.  It requires explaining.  He gives the explanation.  When we read that God was conciliating the world to Himself, we imagine He means that the world has become friendly to God.  But as we read further, Paul says God is the friendly One—He is not reckoning the offenses of the world to them.  The amiable attitude is on His part.  

Conciliation, rather than reconciliation, is the correct word.   It denotes a one-sided amity.  God is at peace with mankind, and, through us, is beseeching them to be at peace with Him.  The King James rendering, "We pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God," implies that Paul was beseeching the saints, only.  "You" is not in the Greek.  "We are beseeching, 'For Christ's sake be conciliated to God.'"  We are to beseech all to be conciliated.  

 Our message, then, is, "God is at peace with the world.  Mankind, for Christ's sake, be at peace with God."  There is every reason why the world should be friendly to God.  No one has any right to hold anything against Him.  

Our text tells us the conciliation is in Christ, verse 19.  In Romans 5:10 the apostle tells us the conciliation is through the death of God's Son.  For three days He was dead.  I think the hardest thing any parent ever did was to look on the face of his or her dead child.  It was just as hard for God, beyond doubt.  For three days He looked upon that pale countenance, while it was hidden from the eyes of others.  Humanly speaking, God resolved that the death of His Son should not be in vain.  And it is just like Him to resolve to be at peace with the very world for whose sins He died.  The word, "world," is used in a figurative sense, for the human family on earth.  

But the conciliation could not immediately become a fact.  It had to await the casting away of Israel.  While they were closer to God than the rest of mankind, He could not be conciliated to the world.  So long as Israel was in His reckoning as a nation, any mistreatment of them by others brought down God's indignation.  Paul says, in Romans 11:15, that their casting away in the conciliation of the world.  They have been cast away, and now God is not reckoning the offenses of either the people of Israel or those of the nations, to them.  Notice, the word says "their offenses."  Acts which would otherwise wound God's feelings are passed over without notice, at present.  

While we beseech the world to reciprocate this peace, no one does, except as he obtains the conciliation.  This is a gift of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:11.  When we obtain the conciliation, we become conciliated in our feelings.  Conciliation on both sides means reconciliation, Colossians 1:21, 22.  

"Being, then, justified by faith, we may be having peace toward God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have the access also, by faith, into this grace in which we stand, and we may be glorying in expectation of the glory of God.  Yet not only so, but we may be glorying also in afflictions, having perceived that affliction is producing endurance, yet endurance testedness, yet testedness expectation.  Now expectation. is not mortifying, seeing the love of God had been poured out in our hearts through the holy spirit which is being given us," Romans 5:1-4.  Many saints who are justified by faith do not have this peace, because they have not been appraised of the conciliation. It is the forgotten doctrine. As a result, many who have justification by faith are under the impression that God may easily become angry at them.  Not so, those who have obtained the conciliation—have become aware that God is at peace with them under all circumstances.  

Being aware of the conciliation, we do not see our afflictions as evidence of God's displeasure toward us.  If not, then why are we afflicted?  We may not know, but we are sure that God intends it for our good.  Thus we glory in afflictions.  We feel it produces good.  

The conciliation dos not mean that we won't have to suffer when we do that which is wrong.  Being aware of the goodness of God, we suffer in our thoughts and minds.  But it is for our benefit.  It is not a sign that He is angry.  Even if our misdeeds bring other forms of suffering, we still are sure that He is not indignant at us.  He is just looking after our welfare.  

Neither should we conclude that, because the conciliation is a fact, unbelievers will not be judged at the great white throne.  His program calls for judging, and this, too, will result in good.  The condemnation that many will receive will bring suffering.  But it is only a means, and not an end in itself.  

Let us also remember that the period of conciliation will come to an end at the termination of the Pauline Interval.  The next administration will be one of indignation.  God will again have Israel in His reckoning, and His indignation will be poured out on those who mistreat them.. This, too, is temporary, and will not prevent the carrying out of His plan to ultimately save all mankind.  

The reconciliation of all in the heavens and on earth will take place at the consummation of his purpose of the eons, Colossians 1:20.  It will be the logical outcome of the present period of conciliation.  

He who preaches that God is angry today, does not know what he is talking about.  God is in an amiable mood toward all mankind.  And it is during this period that He is calling His chosen ones into touch with Himself, and baptizing them into the body of Christ.  He is doing this in grace.  Curing the period of conciliation He is acting in the sphere of grace.  

The world was never more offensive to God than it is today.  He is well-nigh forgotten.  Men are making every plan possible to get along without Him.  Independence is the slogan of the world.  But the conciliation shines brighter because of this offensive attitude of the world.  He absolutely refuses to become ruffled about it.  He is at peace with all mankind.  

And this is our message.  Let us delight in telling the world, "God is at peace with you."  And let us never tire of beseeching mankind, "For Christ's sake be conciliated to God." 

To us is given the dispensation of the conciliation.  We should not only proclaim it to the world, but we should find special delight in telling it to the saints.  When they become aware of it, it brings happiness that cannot be described. 

(To Be Continued)

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