Colossians 1:15–23 | THE SUPREMACY OF JESUS CHRIST: PART II, HE HAS RECONCILED YOU

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The Supremacy Of Jesus Christ: Part II

He Has Reconciled You

Colossians 1:15–23

Key Verse: 1:22

“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

There had been some heresies and controversies floating around in the church at Colosse during the time of Paul and afterwards. They were heresies and controversies of the vilest kind— aimed at undermining the deity of Christ Jesus. So Paul wrote this introductory part of Colossians with a mind to emphasize the supremacy of Christ Jesus in all things in heaven and on earth. He wanted to leave no doubt in the mind of the Colossians and the early church about Christ who is God over all. The question of “Who is Jesus” is cross-generational and vital to us human beings. Jesus, talking about himself once said: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18) To know or not to know who Jesus is, and consequently to believe or not to believe who he is, is a serious matter. It is a matter of life or death. For this reason Paul was eager to inscribe in our hearts the supremacy of Christ; that in every way he is God, for Jesus is the image of the invisible God.

More than that, we witness in verses 15-19 that Jesus is the Creator God, the One who was before all things— the One who holds all things together— and the One whose Majesty extends beyond creation to the resurrection— for Jesus is also the Resurrection God. But Paul did not stop with teaching the Colossian Christians who Jesus is. He went on to teach them— and us— who we are, and what Jesus has done for us. He tells us that we— the human race— were wretched sinners, cut off from God and intrinsically irreconcilable [cannot make up with him] to Him, Jesus reconciled us to God.

Read verse 19-20. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Paul tells us two eternal truths here about God’s pleasure. One, God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus. In other words, God was happy to reflect in Jesus the full measure of his own deity. To have Jesus represent God in all things made God truly happy. And this is not the first time God shows his pleasure in Jesus. In his early ministry, Jesus who is himself “the fullness of God” was baptized by John the Baptist. The Bible then tells us that: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” (Matthew 3:16-17) God was pleased that although Jesus was himself “the fullness of God”, he still humbled himself to follow the path God had set before him to follow as the Son of Man who would save of the world.

In verse 20 we also see the other (2nd) thing that pleased God as well. God was also pleased to reconcile us to himself through Jesus. We will talk about what Jesus did to reconcile us to God. But we must consider this truth first: that it pleased God to reconcile us to himself through Jesus. This is a remarkable truth alluding to love of God for us— for the human race. In reality this is the most beautiful story every told. The world is broken up with God. And we human beings are irreconcilable to God— meaning that there is no way for anyone to make up with God. The moment the damage was done our condition became terminal. The separation with God happened in the Garden of Eden the moment we broke the one rule in the Garden. After that, we were thrown out from the Garden and we lost fellowship with God. And so had been our situation ever since. But God would not leave matters the way they were. Though we rebelled against him, and caused him grief over the generations of separation from him, he never stopped loving sinful humanity. In his love for us— for each and every one of his creations, God began a plan to reconcile to himself fallen mankind. It was his love that compelled him to seek us out, even though there was nothing in us worth seeking. The Bible clearly says: “There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” (Romans 3:11) It’s true. Regardless of how relatively good (and there is no one good) a person may be, no human being truly understands the depravity of his or her soul, and consequently no one truly seeks God for reconciliation. But God loved us and would not abandon us to the devil’s schemes. So from the beginning of time, God planned to  draw us back to himself, that he might reconcile us once more to himself. It was out of love that he did so.

Read verse 20 again. “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Here the word “peace” better describes what “reconciliation” is all about. God’s plan required that peace be made between God and sinful human beings. Why peace? Read verse 21. “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” This is not something easy to understand. People cannot possibly imagine the true condition of their own souls. They cannot possibly imagine what it means to be separated from God, and why they are separated from God in the first place. Most people are too blinded to see that they are walking the tight rope in a life that does not only end in the grave but ends in eternal condemnation. Most are under the illusion that as long as they live good lives, they would be easily translated to heaven upon their death. Others who do not believe in heaven, live as if there is no God and in that way become a god unto themselves. But most people, those who believe in God or do not believe in God, also live with a sense of crime and punishment. They feel the weight of their own guilt; they know that if there is a God, they are unworthy of him; yet their hearts and minds are sufficiently numbed to overlook this awful separation from God that they feel within their own souls. Yet not one of them can take a step forward to understand their own condition nor to seek out God in order to reconcile with him. Simply they can’t. And here is why.

Look again at verse 21. “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” We human beings start out not only as aliens and strangers in our hearts to God, but also as his enemies. Paul tells us that in our minds, we human beings are enemies of God. How? Paul tells us that human beings are enemies of God by their evil behavior. We cannot use the worldly definition of “evil behavior” otherwise we leave a large group of people as not belonging to this group. But all human beings belong to this group, because in a Biblical sense all human beings are of an “evil behavior.” How then does the Bible  define “evil behavior”? Romans 2:8 & 9 explain: “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil.” (Romans 2:8-9) In other words human beings’ evil behavior is reflected in “self seeking”, in “rejection of the truth” and in “following evil”. A selfish, self seeking, and stubborn mind is a mind in enmity with God. We all start out this way, selfish and self seeking, rejecting the Biblical teaching which is the same as rejecting the truth, which makes us evil doers, enemies in our minds of God. A heart and a mind like this cannot possibly seek God, nor reconcile with him because it is self seeking. In other words the Bible is right in saying that we were alienated from God, enemies in our minds to him because of our evil behavior! In a war like this, no man can win. Humanity is the loser. But God wanted to bring peace between the two. In other words God wanted to bring his enemies back to himself that the two might be at peace with one another. How did he do so? God did so through his Son Jesus Christ.

How then did Jesus bring peace between God and sinful humanity? Look at verses 20 & 22. Read them. “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (20) “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (22)

First, Jesus reconciled us to our God through his blood, shed on the cross. Through his blood he made peace between God and sinners. Let’s see what the Bible teaches us about the importance of blood in God’s plan of forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22 says that: “The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” But not any blood can forgive the countless sins of a man or woman, let alone the countless sins of the human race. For this reason God provided the blood of his Son Jesus to be shed on the cross for our sins. And in his blood we find all that we need to be forgiven and cleansed form the sins that have kept us separated from God. We only need believe. We only need put our faith in Him and in His righteous Blood, and claim that Holy Blood that was shed on the cross to cleanse and forgive us of our sins. This is no joke. God has never turned away any one who has humbled themselves in repentance and in faith and claimed the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for reconciliation. If you have not yet claimed the blood and put your faith in Jesus, what are you waiting for?

Second, Jesus reconciled us to our God by his physical body through death. Jesus not only shed his Holy blood in order to provide us with cleansing and forgiveness, Jesus also had to give up his life on the cross for our sins. Our sins are too serious for God to simply overlook them. Many people surprisingly believe in a loving and grandfatherly God who lounges in heaven cringing at the sins committed by men and lauding all the good and righteous acts of good and worthy people. But there is neither a good and worthy person like this on this earth. Nor is there such a sedate grandfatherly God in heaven. In heaven there is a righteous and Mighty God who has stood as the Judge of the world form the beginning of time. God never tolerates sin. It was sin that had ruined his precious creation man, and plunged man into millennia of darkness. So how could God just overlook sin. He did not. Rather, God provided the payment for the sins committed by sinful humanity. The payment was the life of his Son on the cross. While the blood of Jesus was shed for cleansing and forgiveness, so the physical body of Christ was sacrificed for the conquest over the power of sin at work in the world. Those who belong to Christ, who have tasted his forgiveness, also know that they can no longer live in sin giving themselves to sin’s whims in their lives. For this reason, Jesus offered up his body on the cross, and gave up his life so that we who believe in him might no longer walk in sin but walk in Him, victorious, overcoming, even when we stumble and fall once in a while.

Third, Jesus reconciled us to God that he might present us as holy in his sight, without blemish, and free from accusation. These are most beautiful words of comfort and assurance that the man or woman who are reconciled to God are made also holy and without guilt. The words “free from accusation” are words of glory to forgiven heart. In our hearts, before we have received the forgiveness of Jesus, we lived in guilt and shame until our conscience died or almost died. Day by day and throughout the generations, men have so lived in the guilt and shame of their hearts, and fearing the consequences. Only dead men do not feel the accusation of the devil in their own hearts when they commit sin from day to day. Only dead men do not feel their own hearts accusing them of wrongs and evils done from day to day in the secret places of their hearts or lives. Who can free men form the devil’s accusation on the last day? Who can free a man from the accusation of his own heart when he stumbles and falls to the same sin so often that he despairs of himself and lives without hope in sight? Only Jesus can and he has! God so ordained that once a man or woman are forgiven of sin, and their hearts are cleansed by the blood shed on the cross for their sins, they are clean. They are holy. They are free of the guilt and shame of their sins. They are free of accusation. And as such we are not only reconciled to God, but as the Scripture says, we can “… approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) of course, we find much more than mercy and help as we confidently approach the throne of grace. We find peace. We find that the old enmity with God is gone, and from the throne now emanates such love and assurance that we are his children— forgiven and restored to our place within his Own heart. Who but Jesus can offer us such a glorious reconciliation that we can walk the earth with our heads high as God’s children— and no longer his enemies. Only a foolish heart would reject such a blessing. Let’s not be fools! If we have not yet come to Jesus for peace and reconciliation with God— now that he has provided it freely—  let us do so, and leave behind the life of restless wandering.

The Bible tells us that Jesus alone is the Reconciler of men and God. The Bible teaches us that “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) Jesus teaches us saying: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 15:9) Jesus teaches us saying: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) He alone is the Supreme God who reconciled God with men through his sacrifice on the cross.

Read verse 23. “If you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” Why did Paul make a stipulation regarding approaching the throne of God without blemish or accusation— when in Gospel truth there are no stipulations? Paul was the Colossian Christians’ shepherd and the one who labored hard in prayer for them. He wanted them not to fall to any false teaching, nor give in to the heresies of the time. Jesus is the image of the invisible God— the only reconciler of men to God— the one who purchased our salvation through his dead on the cross and resurrection from the dead. This is the Gospel. This is the truth. This the faith we hold on to. We must not sidetrack from this faith regardless of how many gospels arise in our times to challenge the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must stand firm in this Gospel. We must not move from the hope that the Gospel holds out for us— that in the Gospel we find peace with God and fellowship with him in his eternal kingdom. May this Gospel, the true Gospel remain rooted in our hearts for all time. Amen.

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