"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Q: How does the term reconciliation serve as an umbrella description of what various theories of atonement aim to explain? Are their aspects of Jesus' atoning death that would not fit under the overarching theme of reconciliation?
Reconciliation is an interesting topic that gives salvation its very purpose, which is to reconcile us with God. Recently, an evangelist under the anointing of God recently called me out during an altar call at one of our revival services. Among the many things he told me the most distinct was that, “Although you know better, you think you have got God, but really He’s got you. You need to stop worrying about all this stuff that God has control over and worry about your relationship with Him.” The Evangelist was 100% accurate. Our text by Michael Horton also reiterates this by saying, “We do not reconcile ourselves to God; God reconciles himself to us and us to him.” There have been times in my relationship with God when I seem to get focused on everything and everyone else. The only spiritual matters that I need to be focused on is my relationship with God. If I prioritize these things, all others will naturally fall in line. The moral of the story is that when we are reconciled with God, He can meet all of our needs. He also answers any questions we seek through the study of His Word and revelation. Our text by Beth Jones states, “Salvation extends beyond human beings to the whole created order. Salvation is about reconciliation between human beings and God”.
These questions and concerns are all the other theories of atonement attempt to address. When we are reconciled and have a personal relationship with God, these questions and concerns are nothing for Him to answer. Take the theory of deification for example. This theory attempts to “parallel us with God in some ways” as I mentioned in the topic six discussion board. What they attempt to accomplish is simply answered by the terms of reconciliation or to be brought back with God again. Within each one of us, God has placed his Spirit to bring us to conviction to seek a relationship with Him. Once we are reconciled, we can then be one with God again. While we will never be as great and powerful as God Himself, we can be reconciled back into His presence. Reconciliation is a process and involves many moving parts of our faith such as sanctification. As we are sanctified, we are reconciled closer back to God. Sin will not be allowed in the presence of God (Habakkuk 1:13), so the more of its presence that is within us the farther our reconciliation back with God is. Repentance helps to remove that stain of sin away, allowing Christ to intervene and justify us so that we may be reconciled. It takes nearly all the theories of atonement to reach any type of conclusion for the whole of atonement itself, but then you have to accept all the incorrect assumptions that are brought in with those theories. Reconciliation answers all those questions simultaneously without accepting any incorrect doctrines. There is nothing regarding Jesus’ atoning death that does not fit under the overarching theme of reconciliation that I am aware of. If it were so, I do not believe that the great Apostle Paul would have been so confident as to have referenced the understanding of reconciliation in God’s Word so freely.
 Horton, Michael. 2011. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. GCU database. 500
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 154