Summary: God permanently transforms his enemies into friends through the cross of Christ.
Please turn in your Bibles to Colossians 1:21-23.
Despite its great complexity, this passage gives us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the course of God’s salvation. It is something of a road map, tracing the spiritual journey of God’s redeemed people from its beginning to its final destination. Thus, verses 13-14 help us understand what happens at the beginning of our spiritual journey, when we are converted to or confirmed in Christ for our salvation from spiritual darkness and death. Verses 15-20 celebrate Christ’s current and cosmic lordship over God’s creation and new creation, and show why we can be confident, even in the midst of a broken and fallen world, that the Lord Christ continues to mediate the blessings of God’s reconciling grace within the life of the new creation, the church. Finally, based on verses 21-23, we are drawn toward the future, the eternal consequences of our reconciliation with God through Christ.
Salvation is like a many-faceted diamond that can & should be valued from many different angles. This morning we’re going to look at a couple more exquisite qualities of our salvation; reconciliation and perseverance. Whereas reconciliation describes how Christ restores our broken relationship with God, vis-à-vis perseverance portrays how Christ keeps us in right relationship with God.
Recently I had a conversation with someone where the topic was raised about whether or not it is good for believers to think about our past condition, to think about what we were or what we would be apart from Christ. Should we not just look forward at the grace, the mercy, the hope, and the promises of the gospel rather than looking backward at the sin, wrath, hopelessness and judgment that we are being saved from?
It’s a good question. This text answers it. There is a helpful remembrance of our sin. There is a place for remembering our past condition apart from Christ. In fact, without it we can’t fully understand or be deeply affected by what it means to be united with God.
According to the text, He has now reconciled you if you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, crucified for you. Reconciliation is what this passage is about, and reconciliation is about restoring broken relationships. Reconciliation is about ending a rift between two people due to an offense. It’s about moving from enmity to intimacy.
And so, to understand reconciliation and to be moved by the thought of God reconciling us to himself, we must remember that there was a rift between us and God, that we were enemies at one time. Salvation is more than just a transfer from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Jesus where life is better for us. Salvation is going from enmity with God to being friends with God, and knowing intimate, blessed fellowship with the person of God.
Title: We’ll Make It!
Big Idea: God permanently transforms his enemies into friends through the cross of Christ.
To see this, we’re going to look at three stages of human existence. As we go through these, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to reveal in which state we are currently living. We’ll begin with our former condition apart from Christ – the state we were in that needed to be reconciled. Then we’ll look at our present condition in Christ, the reconciliation that is ours through the cross. We’ll close with our future condition because of Christ, that ultimate end that God had in mind in reconciling us to himself.
God permanently transforms his enemies into friends through the cross of Christ.
Our first stage of human existence is that we were or still are God’s…
1. Enemy: Our Former Condition Apart from Christ
Paul said this in verse 21. And you, “who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,” those who sin separated from God in both their thoughts and actions.
That’s the condition of every person apart from Christ. Paul was talking here about what the Colossian believers were before salvation. Alienated. Hostile. Doing evil deeds.
Now when I hear words like alienated, hostile and doing evil deeds, the image that first comes to my mind is one of criminals, or the rebellious teenager, or the person who is just obnoxious and unfriendly and who doesn’t want anything to do with other people.
When I hear those words I want to believe that it doesn’t have anything to do with me. That the Colossian believers must have had a really bad past, that they were exceptionally wicked, that this doesn’t describe the average person like me. But it does have something to do with me. It does describe who I was, and it describes who you were if you are now believers in Christ, and even who you are right now if you are not believers.