Does God need to be reconciled or only man?

It has often been stated, and generally accepted, “That God did not need to be reconciled.”

Now Trench, in his “Synonyms,” points out that katallage has two sides :—(ist) God laying aside His holy anger against our sins and receiving us with His favour; (2nd) The daily depositions under the Holy Spirit of the enmity of the old man toward God. Did God need to be reconciled?


No question is raised as to God’s love to sinners, nor as to His willingness that all should be saved (the death of Christ does not make God love sinners. He “so loved that He gave”). But whether EFFECTIVE “reconciliation” is made in Scripture simply to depend on the sinner’s willingness to “make it up” with God, it is certain that our Lord by His atoning death has fully met POTENTIALLY all the claims of God on account of sin. This, however, only becomes ACTUALLY true for those sinners who individually acknowledge their guilt, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and until they do, God’s attitude toward them is not one of complacency, but of righteous displeasure. As the late Dr. Moule puts it—”Reconciliation (katallage) habitually points to the winning rather the pardon of an offended king, than the CONSENT of the rebel to yield to his kindness.” “Be ye reconciled to God,” would then mean, “As the offending party, secure while you can His acceptance through the atoning work of Christ.” This is borne out by Matthew 5:23-24, where it is the offender who is told to go and be reconciled to his brother, ostensibly by confession and amends. We, too, are the offenders: in order to be reconciled we must come to God, confess our sinfulness, and believe the Gospel, and then we have peace with God. As Trench (Syn. p. 292) writes of reconciliation: “To make the secondary meaning (that is the breaking down of the enmity of the carnal mind to God), the primary, is based . . . on a foregone determination to get rid of the reality of God’s anger against the sinner” (i.e., Psalm 7:11, “God is angry with the wicked every day”).

W.H.