20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can have hope! Nothing in this world even compares to what God can do in our lives. He begins this good work when we place our faith for salvation in Jesus, in who He is and what He did for us on the cross. Nothing in this life compares to the eternal life God gives us through the Gospel. The hope of eternal life is based on our acceptance of the Gospel.
Nothing else compares to what God can offer me because Christ in me is the HOPE of glory. If you have Christ, you have the hope of the Gospel which includes the hope of salvation, the hope eternal life.
In other words, the basis of our hope is our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. Reconciliation has a beautiful and significant meaning for those who have come to know Christ personally. Our passage calls to mind the great change that occurs in lives that have been reconciled with God. Those saved by the gospel of grace are challenged to continue striving forward in the truth that had saved them. For the Son’s reconciling love gives persevering faith through the hope of the gospel.
We are going to break down these verses wit three points to consider…
I. THE NEED FOR RECONCILIATION, 20-21.
II. THE MEANS OF RECONCILIATION, 22a.
III. THE RESULT OF RECONCILIATION, 22b-23.
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.
What does reconciliation mean?
Reconciliation: reuniting, reunion, bringing (back) together (again)
an act of reconciling, as when former enemies agree to an amicable truce.
the state of being reconciled.
The preceding paragraph taught that all God's fullness is in Christ. The purpose of God's fullness in Christ was reconciliation. He is God in human flesh. As verse 20 teaches us, it is only in and through Christ that we can we be reconciled to God. “and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross”
Having proclaimed the deity and work of Christ, Paul now reveals what it means to us. It is only because of the deity and work of Christ that we can be redeemed. With joyful wonder the Apostle testifies to the Colossian believers that they too have become recipients of God's marvelous act of reconciliation when they believed the gospel. By faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ they had been made acceptable to God.
Note that peace with God is made "through the blood of His cross”.
Hebrews 9:22 (NIV)
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Without the death of Jesus on the Cross there is no forgiveness of sin before God. Jesus became our substitute as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Our reconciliation or atonement is because Christ went from being the spotless Lamb of God to being sin on our behalf as He died for us or in our place on the Cross. Our hope of Salvation is based on the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Verse 21, of our opening text impresses on us the transforming power of reconciliation by reminding us of what we were like before we were redeemed. 21 “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled”.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.
Here we encounter three words of separation that describe people before they are saved. First, they-we were alienated. Before we give our lives to Jesus, we are alienated from God. This means that we are separated from or estranged from Him.
Reconciliation is necessary because people are alienated. We are alienated because we turned away from God and have been shut off from fellowship with God.
Second, our minds were hostile toward God. Before conversion the Colossian believers were enemies or hostile to God in their minds, meaning in their internal thinking & external behavior. People are outwardly hostile against God because of their inward hostility. Our intellectual capacities were so distorted that we worked against God's purposes.
Would you readily admit that before you came to Christ, that your mind was hostile toward God? What this is saying is that we were strangers to God's ways of thinking and, as a result, we lead a life of sin. Thus, this hostility can manifest itself in outright rebellion against God to the subtle ways we ignored God in our everyday lives. We used our thinking ability to justify ourselves and our actions.
Third, we were engaged in evil deeds. Wicked works are the evidence and manifestation of alienation and hostility. Calling our deeds evil sounds harsh doesn't it? What are evil deeds? Everything we do that is in opposition to God's will is considered an evil deed. Not just the extreme actions. An evil deed is ANYTHING that stands in opposition to what God has told us. It is living for ourselves and not for God and His glory.
You and I were estranged and hostile toward God. We were without any hope of attaining eternal salvation. Without any hope of saving ourselves. And that is the condition of the whole human race. Rebellion against God reigns in the hearts of men/women - you and me, included. We are rebels by nature just as much as Khomeini, Khadafy or Osama Bin Laden.
II. THE MEANS OF RECONCILIATION, 22.
22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.
How can fallen man have fellowship with God? Only Verse 22 indicates God's terms of reconciliation with sinners. We can be reconciled to God only through the death of Jesus. “in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”
These blessed words should resound like thunder in our heart. The pivotal word "reconcile" is one of the most significant in the NT. It is a key to understanding what Christ has done for us. Jesus uses a group of words, all having basically the same meaning, to express the central experience of the Christian faith.
Please note that God has not been reconciled to a man, but man must be reconciled to God.
God's passionate yearning for His children's return home is never abated. the fire of love burning in His heart is unquenchable, constant, and continuous. Nothing lessens that love or turns it into hate.
The meaning should be clear. Through what Christ did, the lost relationship between persons and God, can be restored. What did Jesus do? He died, judged in our place, for our sin on the Cross. Jesus Paid it All as the old hymn reminds us . . .
We are reconciled through Jesus' death. The death must be understood in light of the person who died. Since the person was infinite. It could include an infinite amount of suffering and pain, and infinite amount of penalty and payment.
Reconciliation with God can be offered to us because of the life and death of Jesus, the fullness of God in human flesh…
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is a gift given to us from God. He is the gift-giver. Thus… He is the one who sets the terms for how to receive this free gift and then makes the offer to us. You did not purchase or earn your gift so you cannot dictate the terms of acceptance. Your either accept it on His terms or you have rejected it. He will not give His indescribable gift to us on our terms. We must receive it on His terms, or He will not gift it to us.
Notice if you will… Man was alienated from God, Jesus lived in perfect harmony w/ God. We were hostile toward God. Jesus was the Son of God. Our actions were evil, Jesus did only the works of God.
The reconciled God justifies by grace the sinner who accepts the means of reconciliation. Those who surrender to Jesus allow the Holy Spirit into their life to transform their relationship, mind, and behavior in order to bring them back to God. Have you done this... have you surrendered your life to Christ? Are you being brought back to God's way of believing, thinking and acting?
III. SOME RESULT OF RECONCILIATION, 23.
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Verse 22 also tells us that the purpose of Christ's death is redemptive. Christ died for you, "in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-"
To present you is the ultimate purpose of reconciliation Christ's death is the basis for judicial justification (Rom. 3:21-26), and for sanctification (Rom. 6-7). He cleans us and makes us holy for Christ's righteousness becomes our righteousness. We become sanctified as we follow Him.
So… a result of Christ's reconciling work is to present believers as "holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation." When you belong to God, you are set apart as something special, you have a special purpose. Holy, in this context, means to set aside to be dedicated to God, like the holy utensils of the tabernacle were set aside for the special purpose of service to God.
That does not mean you are sinless or perfect. But God has expunged our record and accredit to our account Christ's perfect record. He pronounced us justified after we acknowledge our sinfulness, place our faith in Jesus as Savior, and surrender our life to Him as Lord.
Verse 23 states that this reconciliation in Christ comes only by an abiding or continuing faith. “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
The text is insistent that believers must continue and confident that they will. They had a settled faith. It was established (grounded like a building on a strong foundation) and firm, so Paul expects they would continue or be able to continue building a God honoring life.
Because of Jesus' work on the Cross, we can be presented to God as holy and blameless “if” we continue on in faith or reliance on Christ and His teachings.
When we are separated from God, it will affect every other area in our life in a bad way. A right relationship with God is the foundation for everything else we do in life.
Atonement for sin was absolutely necessary for until alienation, hostility and evil works were dealt with, there could be no reconciliation. God cannot be reconciled with sin. Man must be reconciled to a Holy God in holiness. We can now be offered holiness, blamelessness, in Christ Jesus.
The only hope we have of being saved is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Once we are saved, we can have the hope of the Gospel, the hope of heaven, the hope of becoming more and more Christ-like as God continues the good work of redemption in our life.
To what are you clinging to establish your future? We need to believe in the promises of Scripture. We need to place our hope and faith in Jesus and the Word of God! We are to cling to the hope of the Gospel. When you receive Jesus, you are telling God that you are surrendering your life to Him on His terms!
Pastor Richard Santos
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