Jesus reconciles us (Col. 1:15-20)

Pray We And Our Children Value Proper Theology and Soteriology(Colossians 1:20)

Prepared and Preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, August 5, 2018

Praying Scripture Series

In July 2009, Parade magazine ran an article entitled, “The Race for the Secret of the Universe.” It focused on Fermilab, a four-mile-round particle accelerator that resides west of Chicago. The scientists gathered there are searching for the ever-elusive Higgs boson, also known as “the God particle.”

The article explains more: “Physicists believe that this special subatomic particle allows all of the other particles in the universe to have mass and come together to form, well, basically everything that is around us. [According to one Fermilab theorist], without so-called God particles …. ‘atoms would have no integrity, so there would be no chemical bonding, no stable structures—no liquids or solids—and, of course, no physicists and no reporters.'”

While it’s certainly possible that God built such a tiny particle into the deepest part of his creation, it isn’t the God particle. The God particle that holds all things together—actually, the God person—is Jesus Christ. Consider what Paul writes in Ephesians 1:10: “[Christ] bring[s] unity to all things in heaven and on earth.” Consider also Colossians 1:16: “for in [Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”[1]

Today, I want to talk about our soteriology. Soteriology is the study of salvation.

I have been convicted to pray a number of Bible passages and the number keeps growing. I have been convicted to pray that my children and descendants recognize proper Theology and Soteriology. This means that they understand we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10) and that Jesus holds all of creation together. I have been convicted to pray that my descendants understand Ephesians 2:8-10 and Colossians 1:15-20. I encourage you to pray these passages.

My theme is:

Pray We And Our Children Value Proper Theology and Soteriology(Colossians 1:20)

Let’s read Colossians 1:15-20:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

  1. Theology matters, Christology matters.
    1. We must know God. We must study God.
    2. You know that I preached a sermon series on the Study of God.
    3. In this passage in Colossians Paul is combatting erroneous Theology.
    4. But Theology matters.
    5. Tozer writes:

Now, the Bible has a great deal to say about the manner in which sinful man may come into the fellowship and the presence of God, and it all has to do with forgiveness and grace and regeneration and justification in Jesus Christ! It all boils down to the teaching that Jesus Christ is everything that the Godhead is! The image of the invisible God, the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person—all of these we find in and through Jesus Christ!

We believe with rejoicing that Jesus Christ was the begotten of the Father, before all ages, that He is God of God, Light of light, very God of very God, begotten and not made, of one substance with the Father, and it is by Him that all things were made!…

He was and is and can never cease to be God, and when we find Him and know Him, we are back at the ancient fount again! Christ is all that the Godhead is! ITB020–021[2]

  1. I desire that my descendants recognize and submit to proper Theology.
  2. This whole passage is about the supremacy of Christ and I have preached on it before so I will not today.
  3. Let’s jump ahead to verse 20, I want to focus on that verse for the rest of this sermon.
  1. Jesus reconciles the world.

20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

  1. That word reconcile is a very important word. It means “to reconcile, to set up a relationship of peace not existing before, in that apokatallássōis the restoration of a relationship of peace which has been disturbed.”[3]
  2. I like what MacArthur shares:
  3. Now the term, the familiar term in the Bible is katallasso, and I only mention that because I want to make a distinction in a minute. And Katallasso means “to reconcile”, among other possibilities. It can mean to change, or to exchange. It has been used in terms of exchanging coins. But basically, in the sense that we will use it in its figurative sense, it means to “reconcile”. Now that particular term is used in the New Testament only twice in the reference between God and man; that is, reconciling God to man, that term is only used two times. It occurs in 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 and verse 19. It is used in that sense there, and it occurs in Romans Chapter 5 and verse 10. And in both of those passages the general basic word reconcile is used when a man is reconciled to God, or when God and man end their battle and declare themselves partners again as they once were before the fall. But there is another term for reconcile that is used here in Colossians, Chapter 1. It is not katallasso that is used, it is apokatallassoand again I point out to you that whenever a preposition is added to the front of a word it intensifies the word, and so what you have here is the word reconciled intensified, so that it means thoroughly recon­ciled, completely reconciled, totally reconciled. And that is the termin­ology that is used here in Colossians; the word is different than the normal word reconcile. It has a greater intensity. And there is a reason for that, and I need to point that out to you.[4]
  4. Wow! What a great application. We are completely reconciled in Christ, but only through Christ.
  5. Paul had been combatting false teachers in Colossians. A Theologian named Lighfoot gives us more information: The false teachers aimed at effecting a partial reconciliation between God and man through the interposition of angelic mediators. The Apostle speaks of an absolute and complete reconciliation of universal nature to God, effected through the mediation of the Incarnate Word. Their mediators were ineffective, because they were neither human nor divine. The true mediator must be both human and divine. It was necessary that in Him all the plenitude of the Godhead should dwell. It was necessary also that He should be born into the world and should suffer as a man.[5]
  6. Those are great words about correct Theology, which is the study of God, and correct, Christology, that is study of Christ, and correct, soteriology, that is study of salvation.
  7. Notice the passage says, to reconcile “all things…” all things are reconciled.
  8. This is referring to the whole world.
  9. The whole world has been marred by sin.
  10. As regards the human world, there is the possibility of a voluntary reconciliation; but for those who are not reconciled to Christ there is the sentence of death. We must trust in Christ. But the whole world is waiting on salvation.
  11. Romans 8:20: For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope.
  12. Eric Sauer says in his book, The Triumph of the Crucified he says, “The offering on Golgotha, that’s the death of Christ, extends its influence into universal history. The salvation of mankind is only one part of the world embracing counsels of God. The heavenly things will also be cleansed through Christ’s sacrifice of Himself. A cleansing of the heavenly places is required if on no other ground than that they have been the dwelling of fallen spirits and because Satan their chief has for ages had access to the highest regions of the heavenly world….The other side becomes this side. Eternity transfigures time. The earth, the chief scene of reconciliation, is reconciled itself and becomes the palace of the universal Kingdom of God forever.”[6]
  13. Jesus reconciles us, only Jesus.
  • Applications
    1. Who or what are you trusting is for salvation?
    2. Do you recognize proper belief systems about God, Jesus and salvation?
    3. I once heard that Elvis Presley would wear a cross and a Star of David around his neck because he did not want to miss Heaven on a technicality.
    4. Though that sounds good, it does not work that way. We must be trusting in Jesus’ grace for our salvation.
    5. We must pray that we accept and understand Jesus is supreme.
    6. We must accept and understand these passages from the Bible.

In William Steig’s Yellow & Pink, a delightfully whimsical picture book for children, two wooden figures wake up to find themselves lying on an old newspaper in the hot sun. One figure is painted yellow, the other pink.

Suddenly, Yellow sits up and asks, “Do you know what we’re doing here?”

So begins a debate between the two marionettes over the origin of their existence.

Pink surveys their well-formed features and concludes, “Someone must have made us.”

Yellow disagrees. “I say we’re an accident,” and he outlines a hypothetical scenario of how it might have happened. A branch might have broken off a tree and fallen on a sharp rock, splitting one end of the branch into two legs. Then the wind might have sent it tumbling down a hill until it was chipped and shaped. Perhaps a flash of lightning struck in such a way as to splinter the wood into arms and fingers. Eyes might have been formed by woodpeckers boring in the wood.

“With enough time. A thousand, a million, maybe two and a half million years, lots of unusual things could happen,” says Yellow. “Why not us?”

The two figures argue back and forth.

In the end, the discussion is cut off by the appearance of a man coming out of a nearby house. He strolls over to the marionettes, picks them up, and checks their paint. “Nice and dry,” he comments, and tucking them under his arm, he heads back toward the house.

Peering out from under the man’s arm, Yellow whispers in Pink’s ear, “Who is this guy?”[7]

Let’s pray.

God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)


[1]Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois; source: Stephen Ford, “The Race for the Secret of the Universe,” Parademagazine (7-26-09), p.4

ITB I Talk Back to the Devil

[2]Tozer on the Almighty God : A 366-Day Devotional(Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2004).

[3]Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).


[5]Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, 8th ed., Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (London; New York: Macmillan and Co., 1886), 157.


[7]Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, How Now Shall We Live? (Tyndale House, 1999), p. 97; submitted by Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky

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