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'...God was (in Christ), Reconciling the World...'


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#1 luke

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 05:07 PM

I think 2 Corinthians 5:19 can be rather misleading in some translations - in the KJV, for example.

2 Cor. 5:19 is sometimes quoted to try to prove that God was actually physically in Jesus - maybe by an "indwelling" of the Holy Spirit in Jesus - or something similar. The bit that is quoted from 2 Cor. 5:19 to try to support this says, in the KJV:
'God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself'
This is not what the verse is getting at though.

Often (as above) the emphasis in this verse is put on the 'in' of the phrase, so that people say "God was in Christ!" (suggesting that God was Himself actually physically in Christ), where as I believe the emphasis in the phrase is on 'Christ', showing that God was reconciling the world to Himself, and He was doing this by the plan of salvation that involved Jesus as the main part.

The point of the verse is that God was reconciling the world to Himself through Christ, as the context shows: v18 says:
'Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation'

This verse is talking about who God was using to reconcile the world to Himself - firstly Jesus, then those who follow Jesus (the 'us' v18) and who spread the gospel (the 'ministry of reconciliation').
It is not about God being physically 'in' Jesus, but that Jesus was the way through which we can come to God.

Edited by luke, 19 July 2004 - 04:48 AM.


#2 luke

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 05:09 PM

Maybe a better way for the KJV of 2 Cor. 5:19 to be read would be to include some of those brackets that the Apostle Paul is so fond of using elsewhere (like in Romans 4:17,19; 5:13-17; 10:6,7,8), and read it as: -
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was (in Christ), reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

#3 luke

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 05:18 PM

Some other thranslations that I think have more of the correct emphasis are: -NIV
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
ESV
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[1] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
(Although the ESV has a foot note that says: '1. Or God was in Christ, reconciling' - which, unfortunately, is probably intended to give the idea that God was actually physicall in Jesus, or something)
The Message
18 All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. 19 God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. 20 We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.
(I know The Message is a paraphrase, and isn't liked lots because it isn't real good in some places, but it seems to've got the right rendering of this passage :thumbsup: )
NET
18 And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us35 the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea36 through us. We plead with you37 on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!”
(Just for completeness, the foot notes there say:
35tn Or “he has entrusted to us.”
36tn Or “as though God were begging.”
37tn Or “we beg you.” )

#4 Evangelion

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 06:37 PM

New English Translation:And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation.

Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!”
[/list]:book:

The key to understanding this passage is Paul's deliberate use of two distinct parallels:
  • Christ (as God's representative) was charged with the ministry of reconciliation / we (as Christ's representatives) are charged with the ministry of reconciliation.

  • God's work was brought to fruition through Christ / God's work will be brought to fruition through us. :fortigurn:
If I might be permitted the liberty of creating my own paraphrase...Just as God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, so too is He in us, entreating the world to be reconciled with Him.
[/list]:parakaleo:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#5 Guest_Alethia_*

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 08:51 PM

Luke I agree. I think it is fairly obvious that this “God in Christ” is a misunderstanding of II Corinthians 5:19? It rather obviously means “through Christ” or “by means of Christ.”

That is: “God was (in Christ) reconciling the world to himself”

The NetBible for example makes this clear:

“In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,”

Or The Message Bible:
“God put the world square with himself through the Messiah”

Or the English Standard Version:
“that is, in Christ God was reconciling[1] the world to himself”

Or the Good News For Modern Man:
“God was making friends of all men through Christ”

To read it simply as “God was in Christ” makes the sentence in total sort of nonsensical. It is obviously not telling us that God was somehow inside of Christ, and it is certainly not telling us that Christ was God or that God was Christ.

The passage tells what God was doing (reconciling the world to himself) and it tells how he was doing it (in, through, by means of, Christ). Christ was the means through which God reconciled the world to him.

Additionally, the popular Trinitarian theologian Alister McGrath, in his Book “Understanding Jesus” (which he doesn’t in general, but get’s this one right) says this about that passage:

“Second, the phrase “in Christ” is understood to reflect a Hebrew grammatical construction with which Paul would have been familiar, which would be better translated as “through Christ.” In other words, “Through Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.” Christ is understood as the agent of divine reconciliation, the one through whom God reconciles us to him, the mediator or go-between.”

#6 Fortigurn

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Posted 30 September 2003 - 11:08 PM

Excellent thoughts, thanks Alethia. :first:




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