THE BOOK OF COLOSSIANS
Reconciled Through Blood
Colossians 1:18-23 SCC 2/26/12
Christ is preeminent over His new creation, the church 18
1. He is the Sovereign Head of this New Creation.
The concept of Head suggests that He governs this entity in close association with the body it is attached to. Headship is not like kingship or dictatorship, a boss or a general. In these cases the leader can act without any personal loss. If your body dies though, then your head is useless. A head must rule over a body. That is essential for the life of the body.
2. He is the Creator of the New Creation.
He is the first one to break the hold of death in a glorified body by virtue of the resurrection. As such, He is the beginning of a new creation of God. Jesus has priority.
3. He is the Preeminent Sovereign in all Things.
The purpose of being head and firstborn is that he has 1st place in everything. He holds the chief place. Jesus has no rivals in the entire universe. Now the church here is His spiritual body of which every believer is a member. It is universal in scope and spiritual in nature. It is in the church that Jesus Christ expresses His preeminence. His love, His relational being, His glory and power are seen in and thru her.
The Son is supreme in God’s purpose to provide salvation through His reconciling work 19-20
The reason His saving work gives Him preeminence:
1. Salvation was fully supplied in Jesus Christ death 19
It seems that it might be better to understand “fullness” to refer to the fullness of God’s plan of reconciliation. In other words, Paul is declaring that the fullness of God’s saving grace and provision of salvation resides totally in the work of Christ. Nothing else can be added to the work of the Son. His work cannot be supplemented. It is completely complete!
2. Christ alone is the sole agent of reconciliation 20
A. It is the fullness that belongs to one constituted a Savior. All saving grace and power take up its permanent abode in Him. Through Him is emphatic pointing to Christ as the sole agent of reconciliation. Christ Jesus is the sole means of reconciliation and His death on the cross the sole method that God has chosen to use. In short, reconciliation is the finished and whole work of God through Christ Jesus by which man is brought from the place of enmity to harmony with God. Reconciliation is man ward, not God ward, in its direction. It is God’s reconciling of man unto himself (v. 20). God never has had need to be reconciled to man; He has always loved man. God is not reconciled; He is propitiated. It is mankind, through faith in Christ that is reconciled to God.
(1) Reconciliation is all from God through Christ. It is the work of God apart from man’s works.
(2) It’s a done deal because the Savior has accomplished all that needs to be done to provide salvation.
(3) It is on the cross that Christ became our substitute and paid the penalty for our sin.
B. This work of reconciliation extends to ‘all things…whether things on earth or things in heaven’. This shows that God’s reconciliation is not limited to humankind. The reconciling work affects not only man, but also the whole created universe. When man’s redemption according to the divine program for the age is completed, then that redemption shall be extended to the physical creation. This points to the completeness of the plan of God for the universe. This will include the defeat of the enemies of God and the new heavens and earth to be created following the millennial reign of Christ. All the fullness of salvation permanently resides in the person and work of His Son rather than in our record of good works or religious rituals.
Reconciliation is necessary because of our sinful nature 21
1. We were cut off from God and you were formerly alienated
In our pre-salvation condition in which we were born in sin as the children of Adam, we were without hope and totally helpless to deal with our sinful condition and totally unable to establish a relationship with God. We were estranged from God.
2. We were hostile to God in our minds and hostile in mind
The apostle links alienation with being enemies in your mind. Enemies explain how the alienation expressed itself in our pre-salvation condition. Enemies speak of a state of enmity or active hostility and opposition. This opposition is in realm of the mind, understanding, or thinking, disposition, or attitude. This condition was extensive—it pervaded within our character.
3. We were then evil in our deeds in evil works
Even religious and moral persons no matter how godly or moral they may appear in the eyes of others, or how many good works they boast of or engage in are evil before God. The reason—these works are associated with a sinful condition. They are evil in the sense that they cannot compete with the work of Christ to reconcile us. They are completely inadequate competition. Man does not need goodness. He needs holiness in order to be reconciled. That holiness must be applied by faith not procured by works.
Reconciliation is made possible by Jesus death 22
BUT NOW a new direction of thought—what our condition precluded Jesus performed.
1. Jesus has reconciled you yet He has now reconciled you
This is true for every single believer in Colossae and throughout history. In Jesus there is reconciliation before God. How has He done this—in His fleshly body through death. Salvation and reconciliation is a bloody business. A life for a life, we are now reconciled to God.
2. The purpose for reconciling us is to present us Holy in His sight.
The purpose of this reconciliation is that we might be presentable. Here the idea is twofold: (1) to be judicially pardoned from guilt and (2) to be spiritually perfected. Both requirements are necessary for a bona fide relationship with God. We just cannot be presentable any other way! This closes the door on any other basis people may attempt to lay. Holiness not goodness is the standard. This holiness includes being without spot—the absence of anything amiss that would make you unworthy and without accusation—free from any charge whatsoever! With this in our favor we can pursue a holy life.
Now reconciled our lives can be transformed 23
1. Reconciled we can live a holy live now if indeed you remain in the faith firmly established
Those who build their house on the finished work of Christ stand on Christ like a solid foundation, established and firm. Christ’s person and finished work constitutes the only Rock on which we may build our lives. Firm in the faith points us to the results of being built on such a foundation. The confidence we have in the work of Christ stimulates our devotion to live according that faith.
2. We live in the hope we have in the gospel and not moved away from the hope of the gospel
The negative warning is seen in the clause, without shifting from the hope of the gospel you heard. So the real danger here is a danger of not being presented before the Lord at the Bema as mature believers whose lives have been consistent in the process of spiritual growth. You fear in the direction of hope. If your hope is to be please God then you will not move away from the hope of the gospel because you will be accountable for the quality of your works. Keep your eternal rewards in front of you.
3. This gospel is nothing less than that has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant
This connects the Colossians with himself and this gospel. Epaphras was a servant trained by Paul to carry this universal and immense message to others, but its source was the apostolic preaching of Paul, one commissioned directly by the Lord Jesus.
A. Holiness or transformed living is by the power of the gospel.
B. Confidence in the sufficiency of our new life in Christ.