Welcome to our Colossians Bible Study In the month of November 2019, we began a verse by verse study of the Book of Colossians.
This is a review of Day 6: Colossians 1: 18 -23 - The work of Jesus in reconciliation done by our founder, Omotayo B. Adeoye. You can download the full study on her website Biblestudynote.com. Find previous studies on our blog
After establishing his power and authority, Paul here then seeks to establish his position as head and first of all.
- Head of the church: We can’t do church without Jesus, this is why any church or pastor that claims to have many ways to God outside of Jesus alone being the holy way is very false. The church is not just a social construct, it is Jesus’s body. It originated from him and he rules over it as the head provides guidance for the entire body. He is the way, the truth and the life; he is the author and perfecter of our salvation. He reigns and rules over the church. Once we become born again, we become a member of the church; not a denomination but the organized church which is the body of Christ and transcends culture, denomination, race or gender. As the head of the Church, he controls the Church and the Church’s activity; as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, are you going out of the Church to seek out blessings, help, favour etc.?
- The firstborn from the dead: Something I particularly love about the position of Christ is that he shows us what is possible and what we can expect by being a part of him. What does Jesus as the firstborn from the dead mean?
“he being the first that ever resumed the natural life, with the employment of all its functions, never more to enter the empire of death, after having died a natural death, and in such circumstances as precluded the possibility of deception. Jesus Christ is not only the first who rose from the dead to die no more, but he is the first-fruits of human beings; for as surely as the first-fruits were an indication and pledge of the harvest, so surely was the resurrection of Christ the proof that all mankind should have a resurrection from the dead.” - Adam Clarke’s Commentary
Jesus rising from the dead simply means to me and every born again child of God that I will rise as well. The first born connotes a leader, one whose example we follow - Jesus as the firstborn of all of us means that what applied to him, applies to us as well this includes resurrection from the dead, to die no more! Hallelujah
V.19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ
God chose him as a worthy carrier of everything God.
“That in him there should be such dignity, authority, power, and moral excellence as to be fitted to the work of creating the world, redeeming his people, and supplying everything needful for their salvation. This is to us a most precious truth. We have a Saviour who is in no respect deficient in wisdom, power, and grace to redeem and save us. There is nothing necessary to be done in our salvation which he is not qualified to do; there is nothing which we need to enable us to perform our duties, to meet temptation, and to bear trial, which he is not able to impart. In no situation of trouble and danger will the church find that there is a deficiency in him; in no enterprise to which she can put her hands will there be a lack of power in her great Head to enable her to accomplish what he calls her to. We may go to him in all our troubles, weaknesses, temptations, and wants, and may be supplied from his fullness--just as, if we were thirsty, we might go to an ocean of pure water and drink.” - Albert Barnes’ NT Commentary
V.20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
To reconcile someone with someone else means to serve as a mediator. You go to party A and hear their side, then go to party B and listen to their grievances as well, then you become a go between between them while terms of the reconciliation are negotiated. This is an amateur description of the work of Jesus in reconciling us with God. Man fell and had become separated from God, only a sacrifice of blood could restore the connection that had now been lost and Jesus became that sacrifice. Through his sacrifice, he reconciled us to God and brought us back into a place of peace with God and everything in heaven.
2 things are worthy of note in this verse;
- The reconciliation was between the things in heaven and on earth as specified. Nothing is said about the redemption of those already in hell, fallen angels or evil spirits and thus we can’t infer from this verse that they were also reconciled to God.
- This work of reconciliation doesn’t mean that all men are automatically reconciled with God. No, the work of acknowledging and repenting from sin must still be done in the heart of the man to bring him back into relationship with God. Jesus’s reconciliation simply created a bridge, an opportunity for reconciliation to happen. Before Christ’s sacrifice, it was impossible to repent and go back to a place of fellowship with God but now all men have the legal right and access to God, but they have to recognize, acknowledge and use that right.
Colossians 1:21-23 Commentary
21This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22Yet 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.
23But 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.
We should remember that at some point, before coming into the revelation of Jesus Christ and receiving his gift of salvation, we were separated from God by our thoughts and our actions. Now that we are back in fellowship with him, how are we changing those thoughts and actions?
Now after receiving salvation and coming into fellowship with God, we are holy and blameless, without a single fault! This statement may be shocking to you as it was to me as well when I first read it. You would agree with me that because someone gets born again doesn’t mean they have immediately stop sinning, there is a work of sanctification that must be done in the person’s life.
However, Paul is telling us that once we come back into fellowship with the Father, irrespective of what we may have done in the past, we are holy and without blame! How can this be possible?
This reality rides off the back of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb. In the old testament, the people got rid of their sins by presenting a white, blameless lamb. That lamb was then prepared for slaughter, the sin of the person presenting the lamb is transferred unto the lamb and the lamb is killed making the person blameless. The same principle applies to us today. The wages of sin is death and that’s a very expensive price to pay; this is why God gave his son to serve as a sacrificial lamb for us, on him we place our sins, blemishes and short coming and he died with them on the cross - effectively making us blameless! Unlike the old covenant in which continuous sacrifices needed to be made to maintain one’s holiness; under the new dispensation, the work of Christ was done and completed forever on the cross, making you and me holy and without blame forever!
Paul is here emphasizing the importance to hold that truth with us continually and to never forget it. The gospel and the finished work of Jesus is so simple and incredible and that it is very easy to doubt that it is real, but it is! It is obvious that some people were trying to minimize the work of Jesus and thus Paul is admonishing us to not drift away from the assurance we had when we got born again - how is your assurance?!