Thursday, September 27, 2012

Colossians 1:21-22

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—

In Preschool choir a few weeks ago I introduced the concept of reconciliation. Standing on a line of tape, the kids and I took steps further and further from the “God side” for each wrong thing we admitted to having done. We kept naming things and taking big steps until we reached another line of tape. We stood on the new line and turned to face the starting line. One by one we kept thinking of good things we could do to try to get back to God. The good deed gave us an opportunity to take one huge leap towards the “God side”. Thankfully I had positioned the tape far enough away that no one quite made it! Then I laid a paper bridge between the two lines labeled with the single word “Jesus”. Only He could bridge us back into reconciliation with God. We walked back to "God" and had a big dance celebration. Powerful stuff goes on with my 3-6 year olds!

Of course I had one girl who would admit to nothing, so as I told her mom I eventually pulled her into sin to get my analogy to work. But if we are honest, we have all experienced the emptiness of being separated from God because of our sin. We were alienated from God, even enemies because of our evil thoughts and deeds. Our entire way of thinking was hostile to God and contrary to His truth. We were shut out with no hope of getting back to His side of the tape. Yet despite our unworthiness, He reconciled us through the death of Jesus. He paid the price for our sins and became the bridge that allows us to return to God. In fact, the Greek word here is Apokatallasso (ἀποκαταλλάσσω), "to reconcile completely". The prefix “apo” added to the word for reconcile is basically like saying “super reconciled”. Rather than being reconciled as separated spouses who may or may not split up again, we are grafted permanently as sons and daughters of God. Remember, the false teachers at Colossae taught that you needed more than Jesus to be reconciled to God – you had to add angel worship and secret knowledge. Paul’s use of “apo” at the beginning of the word would be a strike against this train of thought. Christians today may not look to angel worship or secret knowledge, but far too many people believe the way to reconciliation must combine the forgiveness through Christ as well as good works.

We look forward to the day when we will be presented before God, holy and blameless without reproach. We will stand before God and take on the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Regardless of the sins in our past, through Christ’s sacrifice we are now holy, blameless, and without reproach before a holy God!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.   
 - Romans 8:1-4

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