Friday, August 21, 2015

COLOSSIANS—Peaceful Reconciliation

When you have had an argument with a friend or a spouse, the 'air' between you remains 'thick' until someone makes a move to restore the relationship.

Depending upon the depth and length of the relationship, the time it takes for one of you to step up and own up can be quite lengthy. During the 'cold war,' tensions may increase, and little skirmishes may pop up over seemingly insignificant things.

At least in the beginning of the relationship, both parties usually feel that they are 'right' and the other owes an apology. This is the element that causes the tensions to remain for longer than necessary.

Eventually, though, one of the two will decide that the relationship is more important than being right, and will begin to takes steps to restore harmony.

At this point, the one wanting the relationship will take on the responsibility for the tiff and make whatever apology is appropriate and necessary, not caring how it may look on their "right" record. (Translate that to "win" record, for that is often how the one who holds out the longest is viewing the situation.)

However, it still remains for the other party to join in the effort at the reconciliation. They must at least accept the other's desire for a peaceful restoration and accept the apology. Eventually, as this sort of childish behavior is lessened within the holdout, there will also be something of an attempt to accept part of the blame for the disruption.

If this acceptance does not occur, the one trying will eventually give up and the relationship suffers irreparable damage. Many of us have learned the hard way that the need to be right—the refusal to accept any kind of blame for anything—can drive a wedge between two people that will eventually cause a permanent separation.

The Apostle Paul addresses this scenario in the opening remarks of his letter to the Colossians.
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (Col. 1:20-22 KJV).
There are many things to notice within this short passage of scripture.

The first is that through the blood of the cross, peace has been made. The peace comes before the reconciliation, and this is important to understand also.

Many are claiming that the reconciliation has already occurred. This is only half true.

While it may be true that God is not mad at the world, the world does not yet recognize that fact. Many are still mad at God.

That is the situation pointed out within the analogy of argument first given.

Notice that Paul continues his thought by pointing out that these believers were at one time alienated from God, and were actually enemies of God. Now, however, that is no longer the case, thanks to the work of the cross.

We can see from this verse that this does not yet apply to all humans everywhere for all time; but is only for those to whom this conciliatory aspect has been applied.

If you are one of those to whom the reconciliation has been fully applied, then you should be on your face before the Lord in thanksgiving, for not all have this experience.

It is important during these days of the emphasis of a single aspect of God's grace that we recognize that Paul did in fact say that God was "...reconciling the world to Himself..."(2 Cor. 5:19).

We cannot, however, stop there and make that a doctrine in and of itself. For, if we read on, we will find that he also said, "...be reconciled to God" (v. 20).

These two statements must be taken together in order to recognize the significance and reality of the gospel that we, as followers of Jesus, should be proclaiming.

For decades (at least), we have proclaimed only the second part—get right with God.

This has led to all sorts of perversion and caricature of the true gospel of peace, the gospel of the kingdom (Rom. 10:15; Eph. 6:15 and Matt. 24:14).

We have taken one little isolated verse out the Epistle of Jude (Jude 1:23) and tried to use the fear of hell to scare people into the kingdom of love and peace. Oxymoronic, is it not?

That is NOT good news.

The Good News is that God is not mad at you for your sin. He has paid whatever debt there was, and is just simply waiting for you to wake up to what has been yours all along, just like the so-called prodigal son of Luke 15:11-32.

Therefore, "Be ye reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20), because He has reconciled with you (v. 19).

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