Summary: The medium of reconciliation was the blood on the cross. The dynamic of reconciliation is the death of Jesus Christ. The cross is the medium of reconciliation because the cross is the final proof of the love of God; and a love like that demands and answer
Opening illustration: An African proverb says, "When elephants fight, grass gets trampled." Elephants do not throw their weight around for nothing. The average African elephant weighs 16,534 lbs. The largest elephant on record weighed about 24,000 pounds and was 13 feet tall! Wild elephants eat all types of vegetation, from grass and fruit to leaves and bark— about 220 to 440 pounds each day. They also drink about 30 gallons of water each day.
Building a church is hard enough without bigger than life characters causing a stampede. Often, there are conflicts, disagreements and misunderstandings. The church at Corinth had been nurtured by two of the world’s greatest evangelists: Paul and Apollos. Their individual followers were displeased with each other, disrespected each other, and distant from each other. This strained the fellowship in the church, neglected the work of the gospel, hurt the name of the church in the community, and destroyed any hope of possible reconciliation.
Let us turn to Colossians 1 and catch up with Paul as he addresses these issues ~
Introduction: During this time in Colossus, Paul and other Christians face a mighty challenge from the Gnostics who were also called the intellectual ones. These men were dissatisfied with what they considered the rude simplicity of Christianity and wished to turn it into a philosophy and try to align it with the contemporary philosophies. All their philosophies and doctrines were refuted by Paul and the apostles during the early church. The Gnostics went by some logical consequences ~
• They saw that the creating God is not the true God. He seemed to be ignorant and hostile to the true God.
• They never saw Jesus as someone unique but considered Him as just one of the intermediaries between God and man.
• They stated that the spirit is good and matter is evil therefore God can have nothing to do with matter as He was a spirit.
• They emphasized on man to pursue to find his way God which apparently is an endless ladder and is not God’s way.
• The Gnostics claimed that salvation was intellectual knowledge and was not for everyone, which Paul refutes and says that salvation is the redemption and the forgiveness of sins and was a free gift for the entire humanity (past, present and future).
Let us get into seeing how Christ’s role is adequate for our reconciliation.
What is the total adequacy of Christ?
1. What Christ is in Himself? (v. 15)
The Gnostics said that Jesus was merely one of the many intermediaries and only a partial revelation of God ~
• Paul says that He is the image of the invisible God. Paul uses the Greek word eikon which is translated as image, representation which can become a manifestation. Paul is conveying a message that Jesus is the perfect manifestation of God in a form that man can see and understand.
• The Greeks were haunted by the thought of the logos, the word and the reason of God. Now this very word eikon is used again and again by philo of the logos of God. He calls the invisible and divine logos, which only the mind can perceive, the image (eikon) of God. Apparently Jesus is the logos of God.
• God created man in this image of Himself.
• In verse 19 Paul says that Jesus is the fullness and complete picture of God. Jesus is not merely a sketch of God, not a summary or a lifeless portrait of God, but a full, complete and final revelation of God. Nothing more is needed or necessary.
2. What Christ is to creation? (v. 16)
The Gnostics believed that creation was carried out by one of the inferior gods being ignorant of their hostility to the one and true God. Paul stated 4 things related to Christ’s relation to creation ~
• Christ is the firstborn of creation. In English it seems He is the first person to be created ~ the production of God’s creation. But in Hebrew and greek the word firstborn (prototokos) has only very indirectly a time significance at all. Firstborn is a common title of honor. For instance, Israel is the firstborn son of God (Exodus 4: 22) implying that Israel is chosen, honored and the favorite child of God. Secondly it is the title of the Messiah (Psalm 89: 27). Clearly firsborn is not used in the time sense at all but in the sense of special honor.
• It was by Christ all things were created in heaven and earth ~ things seen and unseen. The Jews and the Gnostics had a highly developed system of angels and lower creation … but Paul lays it down that the agent of God in creation is no inferior but Jesus Christ Himself.