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Reconciled to God through Christ

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Text: Colossians 1:20-23

Title: Reconciled to God through Christ

Theme of the book of Colossians: Jesus Christ:  The preeminent and all-sufficient Savior
Theme of Text:  
Since Christ has reconciled all things to himself, believers should continue in their faith of Jesus Christ.

Proposition: Those who are truly reconciled will continue in the faith.

Colossians 1:21-23
21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 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— 23 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.

Introduction

Illustration: Have you ever had to reconcile a relationship with another person? I have had many occasions where I needed to reconcile a situation or relationship with a friend or family member. Many times I have needed to reconcile my relationship with my wife. I’m going to tell you a true story of a person that needed to reconcile his relationship with his wife.

 

Bride Had 13 Bullets In Her

Kfar Sava, Israel, (UPI)—Zadok Nager, 35, and France Peretz, 28, proving that love conquers all, even the 13 submachine gun bullets he shot into her, were married for the second time.

The couple, who had already divorced each other once, were courting again when Nager suspected his ex-wife of being unfaithful and shot her.

After recovering from the shooting, Miss Peretz visited Nager in jail, pending his trial for attempted murder. Nager told a district court judge in Tel Aviv, “She forgives me and we love each other.”

Guarded by two plain-clothes policemen, the two were wedded. Then Nager was escorted back to his cell. (Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations)

Meaning of Reconciliation:

This text presents one of the most blessed concepts in salvation: reconciliation. So what is reconciliation? It is a restoration of friendly relationships and of peace where there had previously been hostility and alienation. Ordinarily, it also includes the removal of the offense that caused the disruption of peace and harmony. This was especially so in the relation of God with humanity, when Christ removed the enmity existing between God and mankind by his sacrifice. It implies that the parties being reconciled were formerly hostile to one another. The Bible tells us bluntly that sinners are ‘enemies’ of God (Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:21; James 4:4). (New Bible Dictionary)

As in Greek marriage records “ἀπαλλάσσεσθαι” is a technical term for the separation of married couples, so “καταλλάσσεσθαι” is used for their “reconciliation.” (1 Corinthians 7:11; TDNT) This should help us understand that reconciliation is mending a broken relationship. Every person is born a sinner; therefore, every person is the enemy of God. God is holy; therefore, God cannot have sin or sinners in his presence. In fact, God’s holiness requires him to punish all sin. The only hope for the sinner is some sort of reconciliation with God. Through Christ, every person can have reconciliation. This reconciliation beautifully turns an enemy of God into a friend of God.

Paul only uses the word for reconciliation a few times in his thirteen epistles; in fact, he only uses this specific word for reconciliation (ἀποκαταλλάσσω) in Colossians and Ephesians. This word in Colossians 1:22 specifically talks about being reconciled to Christ. It is an even stronger word for reconciliation in the Greek. Paul was using this word as a direct attack against the false teachers of Colossae. The false teachers said that there is no possibility of being reconciled with God, but Paul counters their teaching by saying that because of Christ, man can have reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:17–21: In that powerful text we can discern five truths about reconciliation.

-First, reconciliation transforms men: “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (v. 17).

-Second, it appeases God’s wrath: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (v. 21).

-Third, it comes through Christ: “All these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ” (v. 18).

-Fourth, it is available to all who believe: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (v. 19).

-Finally, every believer has been given the ministry of proclaiming the message of reconciliation: God “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (v. 18), and “He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (v. 19). (John MacArthur, Colossians)

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The most important passages in the New Testament concerning reconciliation are the following: Rom 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Eph 2:11-22; Colossians 1:19-23. We will be studying Colossians 1:21-23. This passage will tell us about the need for reconciliation, the nature of reconciliation, the purpose of reconciliation, and the evidence of reconciliation.   

Those who are truly reconciled will continue in the faith.

I.  The Need for Reconciliation  v. 21

In verse 21, the “you” is specifically talking about the Colossians, but it also applies to all believers. Paul describes the desperate, wicked condition of every person without God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Ephesians 2:1-2 1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

 

a. Separated from God

Illustration: I want to announce to everyone that Hannah and I are aliens. We are not from Taiwan. We were not born in Taiwan, we were not raised in Taiwan, and therefore, we are not Taiwanese. We are foreigners to your country. In this verse, Paul says that the Colossians were foreigners to Christ.

 

Before Christ’s reconciliation was applied to the believer, they were totally separated from God. This is indicating that they were forcibly and persistently out of harmony with God. The word here is alienated or alien. It comes from the Greek word that meant “foreign, separated, or strange.” Paul is saying that the Colossians were once aliens or strangers to God. The Colossians were once continuously and persistently out of harmony with God. They did not serve God because they were enslaved in idolatry and sin. This alienation means that they were completely different than and separated from God. Every unbeliever is an alien to God since God cannot accept his or her sin. This was because of their mindset against God.

Ephesians 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

b.  Hostile to God

A person that has not been reconciled by Christ is also hostile to God. They are enemies and the opponents to God. In their minds, they are at enmity with God. The word here for enemies can mean hateful. Every unbeliever is not only a stranger to God, but they are also the enemy of God since they hate God. It is not that God hates them, but that the sinner hates God. In their heart and mind, the unbeliever is against God. Paul is saying that before reconciliation, the Colossians, and any believer for that matter, is an enemy of God because of their hateful mindset.

c. Active in Evil Deeds

A stranger to God that has a hateful mindset against God will also engage in behavior against God. Godlessness naturally leads to evil, immoral, sinful actions. Without Christ’s reconciliation, a person is constantly doing things that are contrary to God. This phrase indicates that a person not reconciled by Christ is actively engaged in wicked deeds that will lead to their physical and spiritual destruction. This is not just case of a few Colossians, but of all the Colossians. This is also the case of every person before they are reconciled with Christ. Each one of us that have accepted Christ as our savior were once the enemies of God that did wicked deeds against God. This is the case for every person that has every lived except Christ Jesus. Before salvation, every person is an alien to God, hates God, and is involved in evil deeds against God.

-Romans 3:10-12 10 as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”

-Ephesians 2:3  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

-Romans 1:21-24 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

-John 3:19-20

 

Those who are truly reconciled will continue in the faith.

 

II. The Means of  Reconciliation  v. 22a

The death of Christ is the basis or means of reconciliation. It is only through the death of Christ’s fleshly body that we can be reconciled. Christ provided the bodily sacrifice that was needed so that people could be reconciled to God. The death of Christ is the decisive event by which we are reconciled. Before Calvary, a barrier hindered any person from becoming righteous. The barrier was sin. Because of sin, God had to punish man by eternal death, but because of the bodily sacrifice of Christ, God can deal with man differently. Man can be saved from that eternal punishment because of Christ’s death. Christ’s righteousness can be applied sinful man. Once a person accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior, he has the righteousness of Christ applied to his life.  

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the death of an innocent lamb or approved animal was required to be the substitute for the punishment of sin. Christ came to abolish that flawed system. Christ came to earth to die for humanity’s sin once and for all. No other sacrifice has to be made. -Romans 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

There is an emphasis that Christ died in the flesh. Paul is emphasizing that Christ came and truly died. He possibly emphasized this because the false teachers were teaching against Christ’s bodily sacrifice.

Application: (The futility of the Buddhist Sacrifice) There is not other means by which man can be saved. You must be saved by trusting in Christ as your Lord and Savior. He sacrificed his life for you so you don’t have to make any payment for sin. Simply trust Christ and ask for the forgiveness of your sins.

-Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

-Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

-2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

 

Those who are truly reconciled will continue in the faith.

 

III. The Purpose of Reconciliation  v. 22b

Christ died and rose again so all things can be reconciled to God. (Col 1:20) Christ died especially to reconcile believers so that he can present them holy, blameless, and beyond reproach before God. All men will stand before God for judgment; God must declare the person guilt or innocent. Christ died to reconcile men to Him so that God could declare people innocent.

-Ephesians 5:27  that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

-Jude 24-25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

-2 Corinthians 4:14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

a. Holy

It means to be separated from sin and to be set apart to God. When a person is reconciled to God through Christ, God sees that person as totally and completely sinless. This is an amazing truth. As read before, Romans 3:10 tells us that there is NONE righteous, and NONE that do good, but after Christ’s amazing sacrifice, God sees us as righteous and good as Christ. This is the purpose of reconciliation, to present us to God as holy people.

Ephesians 1:4  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

b. Blameless

This means, “Without a blemish.” A blameless character cannot be accused. This was used of the sacrificial animals in the Old Testament. A sacrifice animal had to be spotless, without blemish.

Illustration: If a person was sacrificing a lamb, it had to be a perfect lamb, not a cripple or wounded animal. In Malachi, God condemns the priests for offering blind, lame, and sick animals. God did not accept the imperfect sacrifice. Fortunately, Christ was the perfect, blameless sacrifice. God accepted Christ’s sacrifice. We are presented to God as a perfect sacrifice!

c. Above Reproach

Not only does Christ present the believer to His Father as holy and blameless, but he also presents the believer as above reproach. No one will be able to bring a charge against a reconciled person. Christ has taken away all their sin and guilt. The have been made completely innocent. Paul is asserting that the purpose of God’s work of reconciling the readers through Christ’s death was that they should be irreproachable when they finally stand before him. (Rom. 14:10)

Romans 8:33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;

Revelation 12:10 (NASB95)
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.

 

The purpose of Christ’s reconciliation is to present us to His Father as holy, blameless, and above reproach. Praise the Lord because of his amazing plan and provision for sinful man. A worthless, depraved man can be transformed into a perfect, holy individual because of Christ! Christ is supreme because of his sacrifice and reconciliation!

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

 

Those who are truly reconciled will continue in the faith.

 

IV.  The Evidence of Reconciliation v. 23

**Continue in the Faith: The person that has been reconciled to God will continue in the faith until death. Paul is giving somewhat of a warning here for each person to examine his life to make sure that Christ’s reconciliation has been applied to him. This means that a person will not just give up on Christ or leave the faith if they are truly reconciled. Paul is insuring that the readers do not fall into a state of false security. He wants to make sure they truly preserver as believers. To continue in the faith is to remain steadfast in one’s commitment to Christ, without falling prey to the religious fads that periodically the attention of the church. A person is not saved by his own efforts, and neither is a person kept saved by his own efforts. Paul is simply saying that a saved person will persevere because he has been reconciled to Christ. If a person does not preserve or does not show the proper evidences of a Christian, then they are not saved.

These verses make that extremely clear! This is a chief test of salvation! Continue in the faith!

Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

-John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

-1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

**Firm Foundation:  Paul says that a true believer will be established and steadfast in the faith. They will not move away from the things that they have learned. The wording that Paul uses draws ones mind to a building. The foundation is firm and secure. This foundation is Christ. Ephesians 2:20 explains that Christ is the chief cornerstone. Christ is the most secure and sound foundation possible.

Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Illustration: Taiwan is very familiar with earthquakes and typhoons. Both can bring devastation. They can especially bring devastation to a house or building that not structurally sound. If a building is built on the side of a muddy mountain, then the foundation is not secure. When an earthquake happens or the typhoon rains come, then that insecure foundation will give way.

Application: This church is named Cornerstone Baptist Church. It is called that because the salvation that we have is based on the most secure foundation possible-Christ Jesus. Are you a Christian? Do you have Christ as your Lord? Is he your foundation for salvation and eternal life? If you are basing your salvation in works, money, ancestors, traditions, or any other thing but Christ, you have an insecure foundation!

**Foundation of the Gospel: What is a believer to be steadfast and grounded to- it is the hope of the Gospel. If you remember, we read in Colossians 1:6 that the Gospel was spreading throughout the world. I told you that the Gospel of Christ gives hope to the world. The Gospel is the preaching the message of Christ. You must remain faithful to the true, pure Gospel. The Gospel that preaches anything but Christ as the Lord and Savior is a false and unworthy Gospel. Paul says this Gospel has spread throughout the world, and it is the Gospel Paul preached. He is emphasizing that the believer must remain faithful to the true Gospel, not some false gospel that the false teachers were promoting.

Paul wants the believers to remain steadfast to the Gospel that they have heard. Now what does that mean? It means that Romans 12:1-2 will be evident in your life daily. It will be something that happens for your whole life.

 Romans 12:1-2 1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Conclusion

Paul considered three time perspectives here. In the past, they were reconciled. In the future, Paul expected purity. In the present, they were to continue until the day of the Lord. (Richard Melick)

Christ has provided the means for reconciliation to God. Every person can become the friend of God instead of the enemy of God. Have you done that yourself? Have you been reconciled by the precious blood of Christ? If you have not been reconciled to God, then you need to be. The enemy of God is going to face eternal destruction and punishment. Do not remain an enemy of God!

            If you are a Christian, then continue in the faith that you have learned. Continue to follow the doctrines and teachings that you have learned from God’s Word! You are not in jeopardy of loosing your salvation, so rejoice and continue in the faith.

Illustration: Once you are saved, you are always saved. The test of your faith is your steadfastness and endurance. If you were a marathon runner, you would want to finish the complete race. If you ran only half the race and then quit, you would not be a marathon runner, you would just be a runner. To actually be called a marathon runner, you have to complete the marathon. (f you are a pitcher like Chien Mien Wang, you don't get a complete game unless you pitch all 9 innings.) You have to stay the whole course!

Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 

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