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18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

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18. allGreek, "THE."

things—all our privileges in this new creation (2Co 5:14, 15).

reconciled us—that is, restored us ("the world," 2Co 5:19) to His favor by satisfying the claims of justice against us. Our position judicially considered in the eye of the law is altered, not as though the mediation of Christ had made a change in God's character, nor as if the love of God was produced by the mediation of Christ; nay, the mediation and sacrifice of Christ was the provision of God's love, not its moving cause (Ro 8:32). Christ's blood was the price paid at the expense of God Himself, and was required to reconcile the exercise of mercy with justice, not as separate, but as the eternally harmonious attributes in the one and the same God (Ro 3:25, 26). The Greek "reconcile" is reciprocally used as in the Hebrew Hithpahel conjugation, appease, obtain the favor of. Mt 5:24, "Be reconciled to thy brother"; that is, take measures that he be reconciled to thee, as well as thou to him, as the context proves. Diallagethi, however (Mt 5:24), implying mutual reconciliation, is distinct from Katallagethi here, the latter referring to the change of status wrought in one of the two parties. The manner of God reconciling the world to Himself is implied (2Co 5:19), namely, by His "not imputing their trespasses to them." God not merely, as subsequently, reconciles the world by inducing them to lay aside their enmity, but in the first instance, does so by satisfying His own justice and righteous enmity against sin (Ps 7:11). Compare 1Sa 29:4, "Reconcile himself unto his master"; not remove his own anger against his master, but his master's against him [Archbishop Magee, Atonement]. The reconciling of men to God by their laying aside their enmity is the consequence of God laying aside His just enmity against their sin, and follows at 2Co 5:20.

to us—ministers (2Co 5:19, 20).

19. God was in Christ, reconciling—that is, God was BY Christ (in virtue of Christ's intervention) reconciling," &c. Was reconciling" implies the time when the act of reconciliation was being carried into effect (2Co 5:21), namely, when "God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us." The compound of "was" and the participle "reconciling," instead of the imperfect (Greek), may also imply the continuous purpose of God, from before the foundation of the world, to reconcile man to Himself, whose fall was foreseen. The expression " IN Christ" for "by Christ" may be used to imply additionally that God was IN Christ (Joh 10:38; 14:10), and so by Christ (the God-man) was reconciling … The Greek for "by" or "through" Christ (the best manuscripts omit "Jesus"), 2Co 5:18, is different. "In" must mean here in the person of Christ. The Greek Katallasson implies "changing" or altering the judicial status from one of condemnation to one of justification. The atonement (at-one-ment), or reconciliation, is the removal of the bar to peace and acceptance with a holy God, which His righteousness interposed against our sin. The first step towards restoring peace between us and God was on God's side (Joh 3:16). The change therefore now to be effected must be on the part of offending man, God the offended One being already reconciled. It is man, not God, who now needs to be reconciled, and to lay aside his enmity against God (Ro 5:10, 11). ("We have received the atonement" [Greek, reconciliation], cannot mean "We have received the laying aside of our own enmity"). Compare Ro 3:24, 25.

the world—all men (Col 1:20; 1Jo 2:2). The manner of the reconciling is by His "not imputing to men their trespasses," but imputing them to Christ the Sin-bearer. There is no incongruity that a father should be offended with that son whom he loveth, and at that time offended with him when he loveth him. So, though God loved men whom He created, yet He was offended with them when they sinned, and gave His Son to suffer for them, that through that Son's obedience He might be reconciled to them (reconcile them to Himself, that is, restore them WITH JUSTICE to His favor) [Bishop Pearson, Exposition of the Creed].

hath committed unto usGreek, "hath put into our hands." "Us," that is, ministers.

20. for Christ … in Christ's stead—The Greek of both is the same: translate in both cases "on Christ's behalf."

beseech … pray—rather, "entreat [plead with you] … beseech." Such "beseeching" is uncommon in the case of "ambassadors," who generally stand on their dignity (compare 2Co 10:2; 1Th 2:6, 7).

be ye reconciled to GodEnglish Version here inserts "ye," which is not in the original, and which gives the wrong impression, as if it were emphatic thus: God is reconciled to you, be ye reconciled to God. The Greek expresses rather, God was the RECONCILER in Christ … let this reconciliation then have its designed effect. Be reconciled to God, that is, let God reconcile you to Himself (2Co 5:18, 19).