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WHEN WE WERE ENEMIES

By Lucien J. LeSage, Jr.

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:10, KJV).

This is a great truth that most religious people fail to consider. They usually think that they were reconciled when they believed or did enough good works to cancel out their sins, or did this or did that. Our verse plainly tells us that the Christians that Paul was writing to at Rome, and he himself, were reconciled while they were yet the enemies of God. And may I ask, what was the ground of that reconciliation? Well it was the death of God’s Son and nothing else. And certainly this applies to all who will ever be saved. The word "for" in our text looks back to the fact that God had commended His love toward His people and that while they were yet sinners He sent His Son into the world to die for them and that they would be justified by His blood.

Let’s now examine what our scripture text did not say. It did not say "when we believed we were reconciled to God by the death of his son."  Our faith had nothing to do with the reconciliation that was God-ward and besides we are told that when we were yet enemies of God that we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. Dear reader, the Bible does say we are saved by faith but nowhere will you find that we are reconciled to God by faith. Saved speaks of our deliverance from sin and takes in a lot under that umbrella. We are saved in a practical sense as well. Our lives are changed and we do things differently after we are saved and all of that through faith. For example the Bible says that Noah prepared the ark by faith. That was a lot of work involved in that, was it not? But why did he do such a thing when it had never rained before? Well the Book of Hebrews tells us plainly. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Hebrews 11:7). Now, if you really believed what God says and He told you that He was about to bring a flood on the world to destroy it and that you were to build an ark to save yourself and your family, what would you do if you really believed Him? Sit there? Why you would move with fear just as Noah did. So you see dear reader Noah built that ark because of faith. He believed God.

Now back to that word reconciliation that we read of in our opening verse. The word reconciliation there is from the Greek word "katallasso" which has to do with exchanging coins or things of equal value. Strong’s says, "to compound a difference." It means to exchange one thing for another. One lexicon had "exchange, as coins for others of equivalent value." It also means "to reconcile those who are at variance." Have you ever heard of reconciling your bank statement? That involves balancing it. So when we were yet enemies of God the Lord balanced the difference totally. This has to do with the legal aspect of our salvation. We had "ordinances" of God that were "against us" that could not just be overlooked. We owed a debt to the law and it had to be settled. And Jesus Christ settled it all; every last bit of it for His people. Listen to Paul’s words concerning this very thing. "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Colossians 2:14). Dear reader Jesus blotted out the entire debt of all who will ever be saved. And he nailed that debt to his cross and took it ALL out of the way while they were yet in unbelief. And the sobering fact is that He did this before we ever knew anything about it or had any concern for it. The writer of Hebrews when speaking of the Son declares, "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).

Let me give you an earthly analogy. Let’s say that you owed a banker one million dollars and you had no means to pay the debt. Unknown to you someone who you did not even like went and paid the entire debt for you. Now, is the debt paid or is it not? Will the banker come to you and require anything of you concerning this debt? Not if he is a just man. That may not be the best analogy that could be used but it illustrates the point. Isaiah said, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:11). The Father and the Son both are completely satisfied with what Jesus did and all for whom he did that will be justified in time, for he bore their iniquities. Paul tells us that Jesus hath "made peace through the blood of his cross." 

Now with reconciliation there is that part that is God-ward but there is a part that is man-ward as well. The American Heritage Dictionary definition says "To settle or resolve, as a dispute; To establish friendship between." John Gill says, "Reconciliation implies a former state of friendship, a breach of the friendship, and a making it up again." Of course this former state of friendship was in Adam before the fall because we were born spiritually dead in trespasses in sin. So, Jesus Christ has reconciled the elect of God when they were enemies by his sacrifice on the cross. God had made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). But He did not leave us in that state of unbelief and being His enemies. As Paul said in our opening verse "much more." We are told that since we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, while we were yet enemies, we shall receive that reconciliation and be saved by His life. It is a sure thing. Those that He reconciled will be saved and not one will be lost. The Lord will find all of His lost sheep and will not lose one of them. Now because we were still at enmity with God and that because we were dead in our sins, God was pleased to quicken us to life from that dead state, yea, and will quicken all His elect in time. You see, the carnal mind, which we all have being lost, is at enmity with God. There is a need of reconciliation on our end. Paul said, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7-8). Oh saved Christian, this is the way we were "but God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)" (Ephesians 2:4-5).  At the moment of faith we who were at enmity with God became friends with God. Repentance and faith came by grace in regeneration and we were reconciled unto God in our minds and were now His friend and now we had and do have the "peace of God which passeth all understanding". "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the "Friend of God" (James 2:23). But dear reader all of this has its foundation in the reconciliation that took place at the cross. Back in Romans we are told by Paul in the next verse, "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." The word atonement is from the Greek word "katallage" which comes from the same Greek word translated "reconciled" in the previous verse. So Christ reconciled His sheep at the cross and then in time they are quickened and receive the reconciling by what He has done in their stead and that new nature that they are given in regeneration joys in God.

Let me ask a question at this point. Can a dead tree produce fruit?  You say of course not. So what is faith? Well, Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22 that faith is the fruit of the Spirit. Philippians 1:29 tells us that it is a gift of God. So how can a sinner who is spiritually dead according to Ephesians 2:1 & 5 have faith if it is the fruit of the Spirit? Dear reader all of this (repentance and faith) is the result of the reconciliation that Christ would do for the Old Testament saints and has done for the New Testament saints. It is all because of Him and not of us. All we can do is praise him for saving our old wretched souls. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13). Jesus said, "Ye must BE born again."

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).

To the lost the question becomes this. Are you in need of reconciliation? Have your sins separated you from a thrice holy God? Do you know that "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31)? Are your sins so heavy upon your soul that you cannot bear the load any longer? Well, Jesus says this, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11;28). Paul said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (1 Timothy 1:15). Do you see yourself as the "chief of sinners"? If so then come to Christ. If you say, "No, I am not such a bad person." Then the invitation is not for you. As one preacher said, "I am looking for sinners!"

May God have mercy on lost sinners!

See Also: Were You Reconciled To God? by Curtis Pugh


Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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