Tag Archives: reconciliation
We are thinking about major themes which the Apostle Paul emphasizes in this incredible letter. We’ve seen his great emphasis on the labor of prayer and the truth that one can never over-worship the Lord Jesus. But we can’t leave Colossians 1 without noticing Paul’s great description of our salvation:
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— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Ch. 1)
I’ve been an alien. Not an Area 51-UFO-kind of alien, but a “resident alien” in Canada before we became dual citizens. How does one move from being an alien of God to being a friend of God? The answer, of course, is God’s reconciling work through the Lord Jesus! Please note that it was through “Christ’s physical body through death” that our reconciliation was accomplished. And His goal? Not just to save us, but to present us holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation!
In this final post on Ephesians 2, we want to conclude our study in preparation for Sunday School at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on February 3rd. We’ve seen in this passage that we are to remember what we were as Gentiles. Like the Ephesians believers, these truths were and are applicable to us (before our conversion):
It helps me to see these actions of God in a kind of chart form. Each of the following expressions merit discussion, but our purpose here is to simply list what God has done for us Gentiles in Christ!
Again this year I have the privilege of presenting several workshops at Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference held in Dubuque, Iowa, May 26-28. My three topics are entitled: (1) “None (or at least, Fewer) Dare Call It ‘Sin’: I Timothy on Homosexual Behavior”; (2) “The Forgotten Virtue of Forgiveness (I Timothy 1)”; and (3) “Becoming Worldly Saints — An Evaluation of Michael Wittmer’s Needed Challenge.”
Let’s think a bit this morning on the topic of forgiveness. Are Christians always to forgive? With or without the offending person apologizing? When Jesus cried out on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing,” was He forgiving those who crucified Him? Was He declaring that all people everywhere without exception are already forgiven of their sins by God (as some of my universalist friends say)? Are forgiveness and restoration the same? How does reconciliation relate to forgiveness? What is genuine forgiveness and why is it so important?
I Timothy (the book we are studying at the “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference), although it does not use the word “forgiveness,” provides some insight into this important Christian virtue. As he describes his own conversion, the Apostle Paul says he was “shown mercy” (1:13) and that “the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly.” Mercy and grace and two elements of genuine forgiveness: mercy >> withholding judgment and grace >> expressing kindness and favor toward another. Paul later says that he was saved in order that God “might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” Patience is difficult to show toward those who have offended or hurt us. Immense patience is doubly hard!
One writer said, “I don’t mind forgiving and forgetting — It’s just that I don’t want the person I forgave to forget that he has been forgiven!” Is there someone who immediately comes to your mind that you need to think about considering maybe forgiving? (to be continued).