The Biblical Difference Between Reconciliation and Salvation

There seems to be much confusion in the Church today concerning the Biblical and Theological differences between reconciliation and salvation. Most sincere Christians assume that these two terms are synonymous but the Bible is very clear that there is a difference.

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Paul seems to indicate that reconciliation proceeds “getting saved.” It’s been my experience most of my Christian life that many believers assume “getting saved” is the same as being reconciled to God. In other words, these believers would assert that a man is still in his sins until he confesses “Jesus as Lord” . Romans 10:9 -13 when taken alone  would seem to indicate that this is the case.

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.

For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

However, within the larger context of the book of Romans and Paul’s other writings, it becomes clear to me the “salvation” that he was speaking of in Romans 10. We have to keep in the mind that the entire book of Romans deals primarily with righteousness that comes by faith and not by the law. I don’t believe that the salvation spoken of in Romans 10 is the “saving salvation” that most Christians  believe in. In other words, this not a scripture that establishes right standing with God. Romans 10:9 salvation  speaks of a salvation that continually allows us to have power over sin’s dominion daily. It is a righteous that is maintained by FAITH in the death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’(that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).(Romans 10:6-7)

You see Paul was writing to the saints(Romans 1:7) at Rome who would’ve had a prior understanding about the Messiah being King. Although many Jews at this time didn’t want to acknowledge Jesus as God on earth, there were some who did believe in his divinity but yet wanted to keep the law of Moses. Paul mentions at the beginning of Romans 10 that Israel had a certain enthusiasm for God, however, their zeal was futile because they could not discern God’s righteousness that came by faith. This is what I believe he means when he says that his heart’s desire was for Israel to be saved(Romans 10:1). He wanted these believers to realize that faith in the blood atonement was the only means for a man to grow in righteousness.

In essence, belief is not required to be to reconciled to God. This may seem like a heretical statement at first, but keep in mind that all men were made sinners before the cross regardless of whether we believe it or not. It doesn’t take faith to be reconciled to God because God is the one who provides the reconciliation. If mankind were able to establish reconciliation by belief, then Jesus came to earth and died for nothing. Again, we had no control over the power of reconciliation just as we had zero control over being born a sinner (before the cross)! This is not just upheld by the book of Romans, Paul states in the book of Ephesians that we were declared the righteous in God while we were still sinners.

“Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:5)

The Amplified states it this way “even when we were dead(slain) by [our own) shortcomings and trespasses. He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ:  [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which he quickened Him,for] it is by grace (his favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgement and made partakers of Christ’s salvation.)

As you can see, we (all of mankind) were delivered from sin while we were dead to the knowledge of Christ (hallelujah). This was established by what Christ did and not in and of anything that we could muster up in our own strength. This coincides with Romans 5:10.

“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

Paul seems to indicate that getting saved is something that is a continual process that happens after we are reconciled. In most places that the word “saved” is used in the book Romans, it gives the idea of something that is ongoing. He also speaks of salvation in the continual sense in 1 Corinthians

” For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

In other words we were saved, are being saved, and will be saved in Christ Jesus. I like how this is brought out in the amplified version of Romans 5:10 it says that “it is much more certain, now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved(daily delivered from sin’s dominion, through His [resurrection] life.”

This is the salvation that Paul is speaking of  in Romans 10:9. As vital as this verse is to spiritual maturity, it shouldn’t be used as a provision to secure eternal reconciliation. As stated earlier this was made available for all of humanity two thousand years ago.

I would be remiss if I didn’t end this article with a solemn insight. Our message to humanity needs to be that they were made the righteous of God in Christ Jesus while they still dead to the things of God. Our message to the Assembly needs to be our hearts desire for you is to be saved. We need to realize that the word  of faith is near us . Every time we profess the word (Jesus) in faith we are fulfilling Romans 10:9. By doing this, we render the dominion of darkness futile. In other words, it is our faith in the reconciliation that maintains our salvation. We have to acknowledge this every time our hearts attempt to convict us. We must learn to rest in the “finished work of Jesus” and remember that his death was our death. All our sins have been forgiven past,present, and future. We have been acquitted and delivered from judgement by a historical act that took place over 2000 years ago. Now we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. In the next article we will deal with how to maintain your salvation (daily delivered from sin’s dominion).


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