b. We are all equal in this new race.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
Pride is the greatest cause of conflict within churches.
An admirer once asked Leonard Bernstein, the celebrated orchestra conductor, what was the hardest instrument to play. He replied without hesitation: "Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm or second French horn or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony" (Illustrations Unlimited, 450).
Without humility, there is no harmony.
Someone once said, "Pride is the ground in which all other sins grow." From pride comes selfishness, criticism, gossip, complaining, and conflict.
A few years ago two ministers got into a fight about what they considered to be an important doctrinal matter. They settled the fight when the first minister told the second: "Look, what are we fighting for? We’re both striving to do the Lord’s work. You do it your way and I’ll do it his way!" (Illustrations Unlimited, 90).
The pastor of a small souther church was on his way home when he met an acquaintance from town who was not a member of his church. After chatting a while the man was asked how many members he had. The pastor responded, "Fifty active members." The friend said, "My, that certainly speaks well for you." But the pastor responded, "Well, I wouldn’t say that. All fifty are active—but twenty-five are actively working for me and the other twenty-five are actively working against me" (Illustrations Unlimited, 90-91).
Our pride should melt away when we consider what it cost Christ to bring us together. He gave up His life so that we could be brought together as one. Will we show disregard for what Christ has done by not loving our fellow Christian?
When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.—Isaac Watts
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that firefighters in Genoa, Texas, were accused of deliberately setting more than forty destructive fires. When caught, they stated, "We had nothing to do. We just wanted to get the red lights flashing and the bells clanging."
The job of firefighters is to put out fires, not start them. The job of Christians is to help resolve conflict, not start more of it (Fresh Illustrations for Peaching & Teaching, 28).
Colossians 3:15 declares, "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body." In other words, "as members of one body you were called to peace" (NIV). We are called to peace! We are called to put out fires, not start them.
II. CHRIST HAS MADE PEACE BETWEEN MAN AND GOD (vv. 16-17).
"AND THAT HE MIGHT RECONCILE BOTH UNTO GOD. . . ."
What does "RECONCILE" mean? The Greek word that has been translated "reconcile" in this verse is found in only one other place in the entire Bible. "And, having made peace through the blood of the cross, by him to RECONCILE all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven [one day all things will be reconciled to God]. And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he RECONCILED" (Col. 1:20-21).