21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
Reconciliation, according to Mr. Webster, is the act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement. I sure you have heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys. The McCoy’s lived in Kentucky and the Hatfields in West Virginia. Actually, the only thing that separated them was the Big Sandy Creek which represents the line between Kentucky and West Virginia. The feud erupted over one of the McCoys serving in the Yankee army in the war of Northern aggression. He was dishonored by his own family and sought refuge in a cave but one of the Hatfields [uncle on mother’s side] found him and murdered him. That raised tensions and then tempers flared over a pig. The feud lasted for almost 30 years and claimed at least 12 lives and several others were wounded. With the Harfields and McCoys, both parties were guilty and neither party was really superior. The reconciliation that Paul is referring to here in Colossians involves two parties: God being the superior party and man who is at fault. So tonight, we are going to talk about RECONCILIATION.
I. THE NEED FOR RECONCILIATION [V.21]
[v. 21] This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.
The human fall in the Garden left us with a severe spiritual concussion. There were some immediate consequences and then there were so long term consequences. Immediately, we felt guilt, shame and fear. These feelings drove us into hiding. Our great grand father hid himself in the forest. The idea of hiding from God is ridiculous but sin causes us to do ridiculous things. Adam moved away from God because he felt guilty and ashamed. His children moved even further and their children further and we became totally alienated from God. This alienation or separation is referred to many times as being lost. The distance between ourselves and God is too great for us to travel. Besides the distance, we don’t have a sense of direction, so we are like a lost lamb in the wilderness.
It gets worse. In our lostness, we became rebellious and self-willed. We became enemies of God. We fought His will and were determined to carry out our own. Our depravity just gets worse with the passing of time. We are lost, alienated and rebels. You see it all in verse 21, we stepped away, far away [because of our sin, guilt, fear and shame], then we became self-willed [Cain] and fought against God becoming His enemies. Then we were separated to an extent that there was no way for us to reach God and last we became totally depraved in our thoughts and actions. We had no hope of finding our way back to God and no means of renewing a relationship with Him even if were able to bridge the gulf.
II. THE MOTIVE OF RECONCILIATION [V.22]
We must understand that we don’t find our way to HIM; we were not even looking. He came seeking us. Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “The Son of man has come to seek and to save the lost.” He is the Seeker and we are the lost. So we are not talking about God being reconciled to us, we are talking about you and I being reconciled to Him. God is the superior party. As such He took the initiative. Paul said in Romans 5:8, But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Paul explains reconciliation clearly in II Corinthians 5…And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Reconciliation is a God thing. It is not a man thing or a religious thing. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Reconciliation was God’s initiative and His doing for A-Z.
III. THE MEDIUM OF RECONCILIATION [V.22]
Colossians 1:22, “Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body.”
The big problem in reconciliation is not simple the distance or the separation, it is the fact that we have no grounds, no means of atoning for our sins. What could we ever present to God that would justify our sin and rebellion? We don’t have anything that He will accept. Religious folks think that they will be reconciled by presenting to Him their righteous but that will never work. Our righteousness is tainted with a vain and selfish motive. We do good things, but we don’t do them for the right reason. So what do we have to bargain with? Nothing, we have absolutely nothing. God not only took the initiative to seek us, He also paid for our sins through blood of Christ. This is what II Corinthians 5:21 it talking about, For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. Jesus took our sin and shame to the cross. He literally died for our sins. He died because of our sins and He died to pay for our sins. You may not want to see yourself at the cross but you are there whether you like it or not. Jew, Gentile, male or female, barbarian or civilized, slave or free–you were there. Your sins were there just like mine. Our greed, lust, envy, hatred, anger, fear, cruelty, injustice, corruption, guile, deceit, cowardice, etc. If I haven’t hit a sensitive nerve yet, I can keep going because every deep dark black ugly sin in your life and mine were there screaming “Crucify.”
Jesus died because of our sins and He died to pay our sin debt. He who knew no sin became sin in our place so that we might be declared righteous. You have only one hope and that is Jesus. He is the only Hope I have or anyone.
IV. THE RESULT OF RECONCILIATION [v.22]
[v.22,b] As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
God is doing more than restore us to our original state in Adam, He is transforming us to the image of His Son who is infinitely greater than Adam. Because of what Christ has done in our behalf, we are now…
- Presentable–because of the blood of Christ we will walk into the very presence of God.
- Holy–like Christ, transparent, real, without pretense, no charade
- Blameless–without a blemish [sacrificial lamb]
- Faultless–immunity from trail, unreprovable
Put them all together and you have SANCTIFICATION [which is a process]. This may be the most unbelievable aspect of our salvation, that we will someday be holy, blameless and faultless. I bet if I started right now that without slowing down or coming to a complete stop, I could name two maybe three dozen faults in my life. Give me time to think and write and I will come up with more. Then when I have found every fault I can find in my life, others will find more. There is no telling how many the devil could name right now. To be faultless blows my mind. It has to be a God thing and a Grace thing.