In these words the apostle gives us a short but full account of the grand doctrine of a sinner's reconciliation unto God by the death of Christ, which is the principal subject and substantial part of the gospel.
Where observe, 1. The privilege itself, reconciliation; this is two-fold; fundamental, in the death of Christ, he is our peace: God laid the foundation of our peace and reconciliation with himself in the death of his Son: actual, in the application of it, on our part, by faith. The death of Christ rendered God reconcileable. Faith renders him actually reconciled.
Observe, 2. The Author of this reconciliation, God the Father: he was the Person wronged by sin, declaring his anger against the sinner: hence we are said to have access to the Father through Christ, and by the Spirit. The Son brings us to the Father, and the Spirit directs us to the Son; Christ takes away God's enmity against us, and the Spirit takes away our enmity against God.
Observe, 3. The medium or mean by which we become reconciled to God, Jesus Christ; Christ was the meritorious cause of this privilege; Christ is the centre of that agreement between the justice of God and the mercy of God.
Observe, 4. The parties at variance, and made one by reconciliation: God and the world, God and mankind. Almighty God, in consideration of Christ's death, did so far reconcile and forgive the offending world, as to offer them pardon of sin, and salvation by a Redeemer, upon a conditon of their believing acceptance: but none are actually reconciled but believers, who actually accept the terms and conditions of peace and reconciliation by faith, which is a necessary receptive qualification.
Learn hence, That there is an happy peace and reconciliation made in and by Jesus Christ, between an offended God and an offending world.
Reconciliation is a repairing of decayed friendship, or the making up of a breach between two that were formerly friends, but now at variance. The reconciliation is mutual, because the enmity is such; yet the scripture speaks more of our being reconciled to God, than of God's being reconciled tu us, because we are in the fault, and not God; we the cause of the breach, we offended God, not God us; and because we have the benefit of this reconciliation, and not God, 'tis no profit to him that we are at peace with him; and because all the difficulty of being reconciled lies on our part, and not God's.