The Expository Files


The Preciousness of Reconciliation

 Colossians 1:19-29

A friend and I recently talked about America ’s lethargic interest in spiritual matters. While it is said religion is important, there is no sense of urgency to respond. I know of those who are lulled into believing their sin is not too serious. While I have my faults, I’m not really that bad of a person. The number of those who put off making a spiritual commitment because they feel they can smooth everything over in the end seems to grow with every passing generation. This same attitude persists with some New Testament Christians. Are we lethargic with our spiritual service? What can we do to fully appreciate what we have in Christ?

We need to pause and reflect.
It is important to remember from where we came, that we reflect on our situation before we asked Jesus to intervene. Time has a way of erasing the details from our minds. Remember what it was like to be caught in the web of sin and the hopelessness associated with it? We were headed nowhere fast. Separation from God is a painful, lonely thing. Until we fully realize the reality of just how terrible being lost is, we will never comprehend the preciousness of what it means to have been reconciled. When we do, we will be willing to go to any length to keep it, holding onto our redemption tenaciously when Satan seeks to snatch us away. Every effort will be made to live for Christ, as we trust Him for wisdom, guidance, and protection. Nothing will be counted as more important. Our entire life will revolve around our relationship with God.

The supremacy of Jesus in reconciliation (Colossians 1:19 -21)
It has been suggested that in Colossians 1:15-17 Paul states the supremacy of Jesus in creation and in 1:18-22 he stresses the supremacy of Jesus in redemption. No one has gone so far, been buried so deep, or rebelled against God to the point that reconciliation is impossible. Paul realized and appreciated this fact. It is interesting to compare Colossians 1:19-22 with 1 Timothy 1:12-15. What was true for the foremost of sinners is true for all Christians! Every human being can be reconciled to God! It makes no difference who you are and what is in your past. Even though we were hostile in mind and (did) evil deeds (Colossians 1:21 ), we have an opportunity to be released from those sins. At one time, all men have been an enemy to God (Romans 5:8-11). If you are not a Christian, please know that you are aligned against God. While you may consider yourself to be morally upright and not that bad of a person, your sins are still intact and you have no fellowship with God! Look to Jesus, seek God’s forgiveness for your sin, and obey the gospel! Believe that with God all things are possible and that He can create something out of your life – no matter how far you’ve drifted away from Him!

Reconciliation is hard to grasp (Colossians 1:20 , 22)
Reconciliation means “to exchange, to re-establish a close relationship, to settle or resolve.” It can be a difficult concept to grasp. When looking at someone’s marriage that has crumbled because of marital infidelity, we might stand back in amazement if the one betrayed chooses to take back their spouse. How could they do that when they were so deeply hurt? We wonder that if presented with such circumstances we could do the same. In applying this example to salvation, we are the ones who rebelled. We are the problem. We created the chasm and broke off fellowship with God by willfully engaging in sin. And yet, Jesus offers to purchase our pardon. Because He shed His blood, we can be reconciled completely. How could God do that when we’ve hurt Him so deeply? Because He loves us so (John 3:16 )!

You have an opportunity to be like Jesus (Colossians 1:22 )
There is a purpose behind this reconciliation. Christians have been created to be holy, blameless, and above reproach ( 1:22 ). We grow from being totally focused on self to living for Jesus. Paul wrote, he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised (2 Corinthians 5:15 ESV). It is the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood that enables us to go from the filthy, stained rags of sin to the pure, white robes of righteousness! We have the opportunity to be like Jesus! The high standard of being pure and above reproach is an ever present challenge before us. We must ever be mindful that we are expected to become the partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4). This means we must elevate our thinking, behavior, and character. Paul wrote, therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). Reconciliation allows us to become new creatures – living with full faith and confidence in Almighty God that He will help us succeed in being transformed.

This is why salvation is so exciting! Through the influence of the word, God helps our lives to become as shining lights in the world. Our spiritual possibilities are limitless! The Christian life should be full of faith, confidence, joy, and happiness, even if the circumstances of our physical life leave much to be desired. It is this hope that kept Paul going, despite all the physical suffering he experienced while preaching the gospel. He said to the Corinthians: we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

But don’t forget…Salvation is conditional (Colossians 1:23a)
The blessings in Christ are ours only if we continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which (we) heard (Colossians 1:23 ESV). There is a clear statement of fact in this verse: our salvation is conditional. If it were unconditional, what would be our motivation to live up to spiritual and moral excellence? This is one of the clearest verses in scripture refuting the doctrine of impossibility of apostasy. Examination, self reflection, and a firm resolve to make correction where necessary must be of extreme importance to the Christian. This verse should be taken as a solemn admonition to take Christianity seriously. Becoming stable and steadfast in Christ will not happen accidentally. Are you stable in Christ? Is your faith shaken easily? Resolve now to grow closer to God! Live for God!

Getting the message out (Colossians 1:23b-29)
The hope of the gospel, the message of reconciliation burned in their hearts to the point that the first century Christians proclaimed it in all creation under heaven (1:23b). These Christians shared what had been made available to them with others! So precious was their reconciliation, so precious was their hope, that they were willing to pay any price, go to any length, and suffer unimaginable pain to ensure the good news went out. Even while suffering physically, Paul rejoiced that the mystery had been manifested to His saints ( 1:25 ). The value of the gospel is unsurpassed. Even if one had access to the totality of the world’s riches, without the hope of the gospel, he would have nothing.

Does the message of reconciliation burn in our hearts? To what lengths are we willing to go to present every man complete in Christ? While we are quick to look at the masses of people who are lethargic in their response to their spiritual needs, how many of us need to increase our sense of urgency to share the riches of the gospel with those who need it? As we reflect on just how vast and huge our own reconciliation with God was, and how God’s grace was freely showered down on us through Jesus, it should create a drive within us to reach out to others. Whoever. Whenever. Wherever. All men need the gospel! All need to be admonished of their need to be reconciled to God. See also 2 Corinthians 5:18-6:2 .

Because of the supremacy of Jesus’ reconciliation you have the ability to stand in the sight of God holy, blameless, and above reproach. Do not take that for granted, but use it as an opportunity to manifest the power of God in your life. Pray for opportunities to glorify God and resolve now to use them to grow closer to Him and reach others with the hope of glory, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

By Matt Allen
From Expository Files 19.9; August 2012