Reconciliation is one of the most descriptive terms for our salvation and the greatness of our salvation in the Bible. And that word, reconciliation, goes alongside other terms that most of us are familiar with, terms like justification or redemption or forgiveness.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Now let's turn to Colossians 1 as we join Skip for today's study. Any human relationship has tension and not only tension, but it can develop into disagreement, annoyance, even anger. So there was a very famous Irish boxer who became a preacher and he was setting up his evangelistic tent in a new city he had never been to before. He's getting everything ready and in walk two thugs, two bullies, and they start heckling this preacher.
They don't know his background. They just start heckling this preacher and saying foul things to him and trying to provoke something. Preacher just keeps doing what he's doing, getting ready for the meeting. And so one of these thugs comes closer and hits the ex-boxer preacher right upside the head on the cheek, on the right cheek. He shakes it off, sticks out his jaw, and turns the other cheek to the left. The guy hauls off and hits him a second time. At that point, the preacher takes off his coat, rolls up his sleeves, and says, the good Lord has given me no further instructions, and laid him out on the ground.
We like stories like that because we, in our core, like the idea of retaliation and revenge and people getting what they deserve to get. But God has given us further instructions. And the further instruction is a word we're going to examine, the word reconciliation. That's where relationships that are broken get made right again. You've heard the term reconciliation probably a number of times in relationship to especially marriage, where a couple that is estranged decides that they are going to reconcile, or they have a disagreement even in their marriage.
It could be a good marriage, but they need to reconcile because something has gotten in the way that has formed an obstacle in that relationship. That is what God has done for us in the substitutionary death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Reconciliation. We're going to look at Colossians beginning in chapter 1, verse 20, down to verse 23, but because the sentence begins in verse 19, that's where I begin. 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, and you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight.
If indeed you continue in the faith grounded and steadfast and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you have heard which you have heard which was preached to every creature under heaven of which I, Paul, became a minister. Reconciliation is one of the most descriptive terms for our salvation and the greatness of our salvation in the Bible, and that word reconciliation goes alongside other terms that most of us are familiar with, terms like justification or redemption or forgiveness or adoption. Now those are Bible words. That's Christianese, and if you've been a Christian for any length of time and you've read through the Bible even once, you have come across these terms.
John MacArthur in his commentary helps explain all of these great terms. He said, in justification, the sinner stands before God guilty and condemned but is declared righteous. In redemption, the sinner stands before God as a slave but is granted His freedom. In forgiveness, the sinner stands before God as a debtor, but the debt is paid and forgotten. In adoption, the sinner stands before God as a stranger but is made a son. In reconciliation, the sinner stands before God as an enemy but becomes his friend.
So this is all about God becoming our friend, reconciling that which is broken. Great story. Our third president—you know who that was? Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was riding his horse with a group of people, a group of men, government men across the country or across this part of the country where he was in the northeast part of the United States. He comes to a river, and because of the excessive flooding, the bridge that they wanted to cross has been washed away, so they have to ford across the river on their horses against the current. So a few men venture out, and a few more men venture out.
It's a pretty large group. But there's another man, not part of the group, watching all this from the shore, and he walks up to the horse where President Jefferson is sitting and asks him if he wouldn't mind helping him, ferrying him across the river. Jefferson says, sure, absolutely, hop on. And puts him on his horse, and Jefferson, the president, takes him across safely on the other side of the river.
On the other side of the river, one of the members of Jefferson's group goes to the man and says, I have a question. Why did you go to the president and ask him to help you? And the man was shocked. He goes, I didn't know it was the president.
Keep in mind there was no social media in those days, no news that people could really get a visual of who the president was, so he didn't know. And he said, all I know is that some of your faces was written the answer no, and on some was written the answer yes. His was a yes face. Reconciliation is God looking at you with a yes face, saying, yes, I will accept you. Yes, I will forgive you. Yes, I will adopt you. Yes, I will make you my own.
Yes, you can be my son, my daughter. That is reconciliation. I want to give you four aspects of reconciliation.
First of all, the meaning of it, then the magnitude of it, then the means of it, and then the measure of it. Let's begin with the meaning of it, and let's just kind of soak that word into our being in verse 20. And by him, by Jesus, to reconcile all things to himself, by him whether things on earth, things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of the cross, and you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled. Twice in the passage the word is used.
Paul uses it in several other places. The word reconcile or reconciliation is a Greek word, katalaso. Katalaso is a word that means literally to change or to exchange, to change or to exchange. So the idea then is to change enemies into friends or to exchange hostility for understanding and acceptance. That's the idea behind reconciliation. It is a word that is used to restore relationships between two parties that have formerly been at odds. It's moving from a place of separation to a place of restoration. It's exchanging fracture for fellowship. It's going from estrangement to endearment, even enjoyment.
It's a full-orbed change that occurs or exchange that occurs. Now Paul uses the word in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 when he speaks about a wife being reconciled to her husband. He says if there's a woman and she's married, she should not depart from her husband.
If she departs from her husband, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. Jesus uses the same word in Matthew chapter 5 to speak of a brother being reconciled to another brother. He said if you go to the altar and you have a gift but you know your brother has something against you, leave your gift at the altar.
First go be reconciled with your brother, then come and offer your gift. But here, here in Colossians 1, the word katalaso, reconcile, refers to human beings restored to right relationship with God. And because it is, Paul uses a slightly different word.
It's katalaso, but there's a word next to it that makes it a compound word. In Greek it's apakatalaso, and that's a preposition attached to the word. Anytime in Greek you put a preposition and you stick it on a word like that, it is meant to intensify the meaning.
So the meaning here, apakatalaso, reconcile, reconciliation, means to change thoroughly or to reconcile completely. And I think Paul uses the term especially here because, remember this group of heretics that are in Colossae, these would-be Gnostics who didn't believe that you could go directly to God, that you had to go through these emanations to get to God, and that if you want to be made right with God, you have to go through these steps. And Paul is saying, no, God by Himself, with no help from any other emanation, thank you, is perfectly powerful and capable to thoroughly reconcile humanity back to Himself. And by the way, when it comes to being reconciled with God, it's a one-sided process.
It's a one-sided process. Notice in verse 20, and by Him, that is by Jesus, to reconcile all things to Himself. And look in verse 21, you were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled. When it comes to reconciliation, God is always, always, always the initiator. We love Him because He first loved us. So God is the initiator.
We are always the responder. The Bible never says we reconcile with God. The Bible always says God reconciles with us. 2 Corinthians 5 18, now all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. So God always initiates the move to restore what happened at the fall. That is reconciliation. You might ask, why is that? I mean, why can't I make the first move? Why can't I reconcile with God?
Why is it always God? Well, that takes us to the second part of the meaning of the word reconcile or reconciliation. In the Greek, the term kadalosos was also used for financial transactions, and it meant a financial exchange. So in exchange for money, goods and services were rendered in equal value to the money that was paid. When the transaction was completed, those two parties were said to be reconciled.
We happen to use that term in a very similar way today. We speak of reconciling our bank account. We speak of reconciling our checkbook register, if you still use checks, or balancing our online accounts so that it's reconciled. Same idea. So for God to reconcile with us, there must be a transaction that occurs.
I just want you to hold on to that thought. For God to reconcile with us, there must be a transaction that occurs. So that's the meaning of it. Let's now look at the magnitude of it. And for that, I take you also to verse 20, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross, and you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He is reconciled.
There's two categories of reconciliation. Number one, everything. All things. The universe. All created things. And number two, people in particular.
Human beings in particular. So first of all, all things. God's ultimate plan is to restore creation because a curse has been placed upon it because of the fall.
So you remember how the story goes, right? When God first made stuff, He looked at it and said what? It's good. God saw all that He made and said, behold, it is very good.
But it didn't stay good long, did it? It went from good to bad, and a curse fell upon humanity because of Adam and sin, and good creation was marred by bad action. Man's curse brought sin and the need to reconcile creation back to God. Now, I asked you to put a marker in Romans 8, so turn to Romans 8 just for a second, and let's get some supplementary material which will help us understand.
Romans chapter 8, verse 20 is where I'm going to begin reading just a few verses. For the creation was subjected to futility or a curse. Not a curse. Not willingly. There wasn't any creature that wanted it.
No animal said, I'll sign up for a curse. 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, for we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs until now. We know what happened.
We know the story. Sin disrupted the harmony between creation and Creator, and God's plan from the beginning was to at some point restore all things back to Himself. Now, let me just press this a little bit because you might be thinking, well, so does all things mean like Satan, demons?
No, let me just qualify that. All things that are able to be reconciled, God will reconcile. It doesn't mean He's going to save every human being. The Bible does not teach universalism that every person will be saved. The Bible does not teach that Satan and demons will say, okay, sorry, we goofed up. Can we just, we'll be friends now.
That's never going to happen. The Bible promises in Revelation that Satan and his minions will be tormented in everlasting health forever and ever. So it's pretty clear that all things being reconciled are all things that God is able to reconcile, will allow themselves to be reconciled. But here in particular, He's speaking of creation. And this is why we teach and believe and insist on a literal millennial kingdom, a literal thousand-year period where Jesus Christ reigns upon the earth. Why? Because only during that time will the effects of the curse be reversed.
And when those effects are reversed, there's going to be dramatic changes in the universe, in the atmosphere, in the biosphere. There are so many texts of Scripture that give evidence of that. Let me just give you one. In Isaiah chapter 11, the wolf also will dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them, the cow and the bear shall graze, the young one shall lie down together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, the nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole. Honey, go out and play with the snakes.
Take your kids with you. And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. The cursed creation will become uncursed, will become restored, will become, here it is, reconciled, reconditioned. Every year we sing it. Every year we sing it. At Christmas time, we sing Joy to the World, right?
We think Joy to the World is about Christmas. Isaac Watts wrote the lyrics of that song, and he was writing about the second coming and the reconciliation in creation. Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King. One of the verses says, no more let sin and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow, for as the curse is found. That's reconciliation of God's creation.
So that's one category. Look at the next one in verse 21, and you. Now he's getting personal. If you want to know what it's going to be like, he's saying to the Colossians, look at yourselves. He has reconciled you.
And you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled. People are the target. They're the primary ones that God is interested in reconciling with. Individuals.
Individual personal relationships. That's his target because that's God's crowning creation. Because mankind is in the image and likeness of God.
And there's a problem. The reason people are the focus is because people are the ones alienated. Look at the verse. You were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works. God's reconciliation arises from mankind's miserable condition.
God's reconciliation arises from man's miserable condition. It's what theologians call total depravity. Ever heard of the term total depravity? Total depravity is the idea that because of the fall of man, there is not a single area of our lives that is not tainted and ruined and marred by sin. The idea of total depravity isn't that we are as bad as we can be. We're the worst possible people we can be. It means we are as bad off as we can possibly be.
Before God, we are as bad off as it possibly gets. And the word here is alienated. Estranged. Separated from God. It's a persistent condition. Hostility to God that begins in the mind, according to Paul here, and ends in our actions.
Begins in the mind. Here's the problem. People hate God. People hate God? Yeah, people hate God. Yeah, people hate God. And you know why they hate God?
The text says, wicked works. Says in the Gospel of John, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. They love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. So they want to hold on to their stuff, their sin, their activity. They don't want anybody, any deity telling them, you need to change your lifestyle. And you bring God in and God will confront you with the alienation factor.
Things have to change. That's Skip Heintzic with a message from the series Always Only Jesus. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep teachings like this one today going out around the world, connecting you and others to God's word.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 05:45:51 / 2023-03-21 05:54:23 / 9