Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Soteriology"


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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible


    1. Old Testament words are incorrectly translated.
      1. In the Old Testament the word kaphar is translated "reconcile, " "reconciling, " and "make reconciliation" in the following passages:
        Lev. 6:30; 8:15; 16:20
        Ezk. 45:15,17,20
        Dan. 9:24

        This word should be rendered "atonement" in each instance.
      2. In 1 Samuel 29:4, the word "reconcile" should be "made an offering."
      3. In 2 Chronicles 29:24, "reconciliation" should be translated "made an offering."
        Neither 1 Samuel 29:4 nor 2 Chronicles 29:24 have any connection with the Biblical doctrine of reconciliation.
      4. The doctrine of reconciliation therefore disappears from the explicit teaching of the Old Testament, though undoubtedly it is implied.
    2. New Testament words are definitive.
      1. Katallasso means "to change thoroughly."
        Rom. 5:10-11; 1 Cor. 7:11; 2 Cor. 5:18; Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20-21
      2. In Hebrews 2:17 the word is hilaskomai. It should be translated "propitiation" rather than "reconciliation."
    1. Reconciliation is never used of God. He is immutable. He is not at enmity and does not need to be reconciled.
    2. Reconciliation is used of the whole world, 2 Cor. 5:19.
      1. The need for this universal adjustment is given in Romans 5:6-11. Men are ungodly (v.6); "while we were yet sinners" (v.8), "without strength" (v.6), "enemies" (v.10).
      2. By the death of Christ on behalf of the world, the world is thoroughly changed in its relation to God. The world is so altered in its position (respecting the holy judgments of God) through the cross of Christ that God is not now imputing their sin unto them. There seems to be a change in God but it is rather that God is dealing with the world in the light of what Christ has done for the world.
    3. Reconciliation is used of the individual.
      There are three changes indicated in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20.
      1. The position of the believer is now "in Christ" (v. 17).
      2. The general relationship: the basis on which salvation is offered to the world or all mankind (v. 19).
      3. The attitude or trust of the individual when he accepts the value in the death of Christ for him (v.20, cp. Mt. 5:24; 1 Cor. 7:11; Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:21).
      4. Reconciliation means "to change thoroughly. " Belief in Christ by the sinner effects this change. Once the sinner disobeyed, neglected, and hated God; but, seeing God's grace, he becomes the loving obedient child of God.
    Reconciliation is that work of God through Christ which effects in the believing sinner a thorough change toward God, from enmity and aversion to love and trust.

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