Thursday, September 27, 2007

Colossians

I have been reading Colossians lately and I read in 1:19-20 about how God was pleased to have his fullness become human and through his blood on the cross to reconcile to himself ALL THINGS, things in heaven and on earth. While I have always known of the reconciliatory power of Christ's death for those on earth...I guess I never thought about anything in heaven having to be reconciled. Any thoughts?

5 comments:

Matthew N. Petersen said...

These are I suppose...reaching, but in choir last year we sang "pacem Deus redidit in se reconcilans ima summis." "God has restored peace in himself bringing together the base and the highest." Perhaps it doesn't mean that he reconciled in the sense of solving a war, but in the sense of bring together. Like we might say the man and the wife are brought together, united and made one flesh. So then Christ brought together in Himself the things in heaven and on earth.

This would then (I'm talking myself into it as I write) relate to Hebrews which says he has cleansed the heavenly temple through his blood of the new covenant. Hebrews makes an equally odd statement that Christ cleansed, not only us, but the heavenly temple "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves [should be purified mnp] with better sacrifices than these."

And in Hebrews our entry into the heavenly is through the veil of his flesh. In is in and as Christ that we go into the Holy of Holies, into the presence of the Living God. And it is in and as Christ in his humanity that we go into the Heavenly Sactuary. We enter into the Holy of Holies where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, through our union with his flesh, and in His Spirit.

I'm rambling, but earlier it says "He is before all things, and by [or perhaps in, which would make sense if my thoughts are correct] Him all things consist."

And later we see "yet now hath he reconciled [you] in the body of his flesh through flesh." We have been united to Christ in His flesh, that we may be presented holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.

I don't know I understand what I'm saying, or where all to tie the connections I'm making. I think I would want to tie it all to the sacrament, which you would probably object to, which is (on my reading) Christ's flesh, and so by being united to Christ's flesh, we are united to God and brought into the holy of holies. I kept hearing Sacrament in every passage I was looking at.

(And yes, I did come up with the Hebrews analogy while I was writing, and then see further into it as I read Hebrews so I could finish, and then related that back to Colossians as I was writing, so this is all very rough and ready.)

thebeloved said...

Okay. I think I understood the first part and I hadn't thought of it meaning to reconcile the heavens and earth to each other. I had been thinking to reconcile each the heaven and the earth to God. Perhaps you are right. After that, I kind of lost your train of thought...although I wonder at your assumptions on my views of the sacraments.

I applaud your ability to find things elsewhere in Scripture that remind you of this. Blessings and thanks for responding!

Nick Jesch said...

We know that Lucifer rebelled against God by making war in the heavens. That rift remains, though in Christ we have the fulfillment of reconciliation of all things....I would think this to include the enmity mentioned above. Of course, that reconciliation has yet to be fully worked into reality. Perhaps it is this to which Colossians refers. MY reading (for what that's worth) is that things "in heaven and on earth" will be reconciled, within each category..thus, things in heaven will be reconciled with other things in heaven, and same on earth. The "clue", if you will, is the use of the two distinct prepositions....IN and ON. Of course, we will also see reconciliation of things in heaven with things on earth as well...but that rift in the heavens is yet to be made whole...despite the fact that God is eternally sovereign. His glory will be the more perfectly shown when ALL things are again brought under His feet..as they were before the first rebellion of Lucifer.

Jeff Moss said...

Seems like people have a lot to say about this topic!

"Let no man deceive himself: Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation." I was surprised and a little confused at first to read these words of the early Christian bishop and martyr, Ignatius of Antioch. But in the end, I think it makes sense: The death of Christ cuts in half the world, and history, and everything. You either pass through the blood to be on His side, or you pull away and let the blood separate you from Him. Even the "principalities and powers" in the New Testament (look up this phrase wherever it shows up in the KJV) seem to have to make this choice...and if they come down in submission to Christ, they are closer to Him than ever before.

If even the heavenly beings have to face the blood of Christ and be turned to the right or to the left (in some mysterious way that I don't claim to understand), then how much more are the children of Adam being winnowed out for reconciliation or eternal isolation!

Jeff Moss said...

Wait, what I wrote before is not all: Not only are some beings restored to full friendship with God and others condemned, but there's a deeper reality where all things are being reconciled to God in Jesus.

The exaltation of Jesus to the Father's right hand is making every knee bow and every tongue confess His Lordship--not just on earth, but also in heaven and in hell (Phil. 2:10-11). Meanwhile, our wrestling is not really against mere flesh-and-blood enemies; it's against those principalities and powers, and against evil spiritual beings that are at work even in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). Christ created these mighty beings in the beginning (Col. 1:16), and at the moment of His humiliation on the cross He stripped them of their power that had been directed against Him, exposing them as part of His triumph (Col. 2:13-15).

This much I know: Before the end, everything living or dying, in heaven or on earth or in the underworld, no matter how great or small, in the delights of salvation or in the terrors of damnation... all will come under the complete dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ and will take their places in the total glorification of God. This is the ultimate reconciliation of all things. Is it simple to understand? No...but it's beautiful, and it's true.