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The Book of Colossians part 3 – Week 13 / March 25th
“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the
Lord, so walk in Him….”
Having set forth the preeminence of Christ by looking at His credentials Paul now focuses on what I call, “The Excellence of His Ministry.” Here he wants the Colossian believers to understand the all sufficiency of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross. Jesus writes Paul, is all glorious because, “It pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.” (1:19) That is, they should by now have come to the conclusion that Jesus is God, one with the Father from all eternity and yet at the same time fully man. He is a perfect Godman! Jesus work on the cross was a reconciling one and so in this regard:
1. He has reconciled all things in heaven and on earth to God. (1:20)
The temptations of Christ reveal that the Devil offered Him the kingdoms of the world if only He would bow down, like all humanity has, and worship him (Matthew 4:8-10). Jesus resisted this temptation because He knew that He would win these back by suffering and the power of a perfect indestructible life. The heavens and the world were made by God for humankind but these were forfeited when we all sinned by rebelling against God. Since, by our sin, the devil took dominion over humankind, now cut free from the life and presence of God, the world also and the very earth were subjugated to slavery. So scripture correctly calls the devil “the god of this world” (2Corinthians 4:4) and confirms that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1John 5:19)
On the cross Jesus fully appeased the wrath of God on our behalf and thus opened the way for all people to return through Him to God their Father! This amazing work of grace and love accomplished by the incarnate God was the last thing the devil expected. He was defeated and now redeemed men, women and children could return to their place initially envisioned by God and in due course, when their numbers are complete, they will inherit the earth and the heavens when Christ comes again! All because the spilt blood of Jesus removed God’s anger from our lives and bestowed upon us the peace of God and the gift of His righteousness.
2. He has reconciled each one of us. (1:21-22)
Paul wishes to drive home this glorious work of reconciliation done only and completely by Christ’s death on the cross by reminding his readers of their sinful state. Thus he writes that they were alienated from God. This is death! Death is not annihilation as some presume or think; no we shall live forever with God, which is life, or without God, which is death! Death then is being separated from the presence and life of God (2Thessalonians 1:9). This is a terrible thing as it plunges one into eternal darkness and anguish. Our rebellion against God’s character not only separated us from Him but it left our minds in a state of hatred against Him and consequently our actions were quick to follow through in that they became wicked and thus the visible evidence of the true state of our minds. We were truly, “children of wrath” as Paul writes elsewhere (Ephesians 2;3). But now, because of what Christ has done, we are freed from God’s anger, declared righteous and above reproach. Jesus’ blood has covered all our sins so that one day we will be presented perfectly holy (like God) in His presence. Oh what a wonderful day that will be!
3. He is reconciling each one of us. (1:23)
Christians are declared holy as an imputed gift and then by the power of Jesus in them they are made holy progressively; that is holiness is imparted to them (Philippians 3:12). This means that we have been reconciled by Christ’s death and are being reconciled as we continue to follow Christ. This is where Paul is urging them to stand firm and not be moved away from the all sufficiency of Christ’s death. They must “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast” and must not in any way be moved away from the glorious hope of the Gospel. We cannot add to or subtract from what Christ has done for us and so we must focus on Him at the beginning, in all of life and at the end.
We too need to hear this message because it is so easy to trust other things for our spiritual well being and many do and have. We must resist all of these “temptations” and follow Jesus only.
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries