Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Reconciliation - Colossians 1:21-23

"And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —  if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister." (Colossians 1:21-23)
Paul has been given a commission by God and he understands the work of that commission. Paul is called to preach the Gospel that it might be "proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister." The Greek word for Minister is the same word we get our English word for Deacon and it means a minister, servant, waiter, or errand boy. Paul's job was to facilitate the Gospel by doing whatever the Gospel required for its expansion and growth throughout the world. He was a servant of the Gospel not the Gospel a servant of him. The Gospel, without Paul, was strong, energetic, expanding, and bearing fruit for eternal life. Paul's job was to serve it and to do its errands so that it might continue to bear fruit in all places.

Paul also understands that the Gospel is not just a Gospel of salvation, healing, or even forgiveness. It is also a Gospel of reconciliation back to God. It is not enough to forgive mankind, heal mankind, and provide salvation to mankind, mankind must also be reconciled back to their heavenly Father in love and adoption as sons and daughters of the Kingdom.

Our plight before the Gospel was not just that we had lived the life of a sinner and that we bore the judgment and condemnation of our sins. Rather, our entire being, our soul and our flesh, was hostile towards God and we had fully walked away from our creator and our Father in heaven. Notice that it's not just our evil deeds that separate us from God but also the condition of our inner man. Paul will later say, "you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh." (Colossians 2:13) Here he is not speaking of physical circumcision but the circumcision of our heart. We need more then the forgiveness of our sins, we need to be fundamentally changed on the inside; we need to have our heart circumcised and our thoughts and attitudes changed that our mind may find its way to agree with the will of God rather then persisting in its obstinacy and anger towards Him.

Notice that the goal of Christ is that He might present us before the Father being spotless, without blemish, and having no occasion to be accused by the advisory. Salvation is just the beginning; the journey is sanctification. This sanctification is a process that will take the rest of our lives to accomplish, and maybe even longer. A life that is not changing is a life that is not being sanctified. God is fully committed to our sanctification, but it's up to us to yield to His work in our lives.

This is why Paul warns us that our salvation and sanctification requires our endurance to the end. Jesus said, "the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." (Matthew 24:13) The choice is ours. If we choose, we can opt-out at any time, thus forfeiting the work of salvation in our lives. We can choose to return to our former manner of life, to live once again like the world. However, in doing so, we forfeit the grace and the work of the cross in our lives. Paul encourages us to hold fast, to remain immovable in our trials and afflictions, to not give up the Gospel for the promise of an easy life. The Gospel has come to us with great hope. Not a hope necessarily for tomorrow, but a hope for eternity. Let us not surrender eternity for any false assurances for tomorrow.

David Robison

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