Grace For The Journey
We are continuing our verse-by-verse study of Colossians. We come to a delightful and succinct statement on reconciliation in Colossians 1:19-23. The dictionary defines “rec·on·cile” (ˈrekənˌsīl / verb past tense: reconciled; past participle: reconciled) as restore friendly relations between. “she wanted to be reconciled with her father.” What does it mean that God “reconciles” Christians to Himself? And how exactly does this all work? The verses we are going to look at today tell us. Reconciliation comes . . .
1) By The Cross.
Verse 19 says, “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.” This verse is very similar to a verse Paul pens later in Chapter 2 verse 9, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” This truth is absolutely wonderful to consider! Everything that is God dwells within Jesus Christ. Everything.
The word “fullness” indicates that God literally “fills up” Jesus with everything that is essentially God. The essence of God is in Christ Jesus. Jesus is not only fully man, He is fully God. This is why Paul can later say that every Christian is “complete” in Him (Colossians 2:10). We need nothing else added to Christ in order to be reconciled to God and to be accepted by Him.
Verse 20 states, “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” Here is why sinful humanity is able to be reconciled to God, because Jesus Christ the “God-Man” is the means by which man approaches through faith.
As God “enfleshed,” Jesus Christ is perfectly righteous and that righteousness is credited to those who believe in Him. And Jesus Christ is also the perfect substitutionary sacrifice, dying on the cross not for His sins – He had none – but for ours, “having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
Verse 21 continues by saying, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” Yes, we once were “alienated and enemies” of God. Because of sin, our mind was infused with thoughts of natural rebellion against our Creator – even if we were unaware of this.
The consequence of this reconciliation is that we are . . .
2) In The Clear.
As rightful Judge of all His creation, God rightly considers us guilty in His presence. Yet, in His grace – HIS grace (!), He has made a way for us to be considered “not guilty;” reconciled to Him; able to stand in His presence.
Verse 22 shows us how this is done, “In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.”
There it is . . .
Through the work of the cross . . .
Jesus has made a way for us
To be in the clean, changed,
And in the clear.
Paul writes that it is through Christ’s death that God has worked “to present you holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Simply put, God is declaring that now He has reconciled us to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.
Isn’t that fantastic?!
Even though we are sinners,
If we believe in Jesus Christ,
God actually regards us as NOT sinners.
God thinks of our sins as completely forgiven that we may be “blameless” before Him and “above reproach in His sight.” I love that, don’t you?
God can not look at me
Without seeing Jesus Christ first.
Because I have accepted Jesus
As my Savior and Lord,
God sees me “in Christ.”
God sees my sins
As imputed to
(Or charged to)
And God sees
Do I need anything else other than my faith in Christ? No! We are COMPLETE in Him (Colossians 2:9).
We sing of this often in the traditional hymn:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne
Faultless to stand before the throne – not on account of my own righteousness, but His – dressed in His righteousness alone.
But wait! Reconciliation means so much more. Because of what Jesus Christ has done, reconciliation is . . .
3) To Be Continued.
The blessing of knowing our sins are forgiven and that we stand “faultless” before the throne of God comes only to those who “continue in the faith.”
Verse 23 states, “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 way Paul writes this verse does not mean that there is any doubt that true believers will, indeed, continue believing. They will! But not all who say they are Christians are really Christians. Some may only be affiliated with Christianity, or are church members who have never been saved.
Those who “continue in the faith” are those who are “grounded and steadfast.” This verse is reminiscent of our Lord Jesus’ teaching at the conclusion of His “Sermon on the Mount.” Recall His contrast between the man who built his house upon the sand and the man who built his house upon the rock in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Those who build their lives upon the Word of God will “continue in the faith,” persevering until that final day when they stand “faultless” and “blameless” before the One and Only Supreme Judge of the universe.
To quote again the hymn lyric:
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”