Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Gospel of Reconciliation

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 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. (Colossians 1:19-20)
In Colossians 1, Paul gives a rich account of the gospel, the announcement concerning King Jesus the Messiah. It is the gospel that has gone out into all the world, even in Paul’s day, and has been bringing forth fruit ever since (vv. 5-6). It is the gospel the believers at Colosse learned from Epaphras, one of their own, and Paul’s fellow servant (v. 7). It is the gospel by which God has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 13). It is the gospel by which we have redemption — the forgiveness of sins — through the blood of King Jesus (v. 14). Then in verses 15 through 18, Paul gives us a marvelous description of the divine Son whom this gospel announces:
  • He is the image of the invisible God.
  • He is the firstborn over all creation.
  • All things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible, including thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, were created by Him, through Him and for Him.
  • He existed before everything else.
  • In Him all things hold together.
  • He is the head of the body, the source of the Church, its very beginning.
  • He is the firstborn from the dead.
  • He leads the way in everything.
And now, in verse 19, we come to the point of it all — the reason for the gospel and the purpose of the kingdom: It pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell in the divine Son, and by the Son to reconcile all things to Himself. God’s plan is that everything comes together in Christ. The One by whom all things were made and in whom all things hold together is the One in whom all things are being reconciled to God. Paul says something very similar in Ephesians 1, where he is again describing the gospel:
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him. (Ephesians 1:7-10)
This is God’s pleasure and purpose, that all things, both in heaven and on earth, be gathered together into one in Christ. It is a reconciliation of cosmic proportions — and the point of the gospel. The underlying reality of this great reconciliation is what Jesus accomplished at the cross, where He made peace through the sacrifice of Himself.
  • At the cross, Jesus “disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).
  • “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).
  • Now King Jesus is bringing all things into alignment with God. “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:24-25).
  • All who belong to Him participate in “the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11).
  • Even creation itself is waiting for this great reconciliation to be fully realized. “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21).

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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