SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
God Offers Us Reconciliation through His Son Jesus Christ
Key Verse: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers. -– Colossians 1:15-16
Many intelligent people believe that Christianity is simply one of the major religions of the world. People may choose one religion or another and if they are faithful to its teachings, they will all arrive finally in heaven. God is love so eventually he will save everyone. Even those who were evil to the day they died will be given a chance to change in the next life.
The man we
Few verses in the entire Bible are more important than these nine verses upon which today’s lesson are based. This passage is packed with absolute truth. Feel free as you read each verse to pause and shout “Praise God!” to express your gratitude for the powerful revelation of the nature of almighty God.
Here is the “Christology” that every Christian needs to embrace. Paul helps us see the true identity of Christ. We can never say too much about Christ! He reveals God to us. He puts a “face” on God. Before Christ we had a picture frame so to speak, with no idea what God looked like. When Christ comes, he becomes the “picture” of God in our frame. Finally, we have a definitive revelation of what the invisible God is like. He is like Jesus – “Like Father, Like Son”!
Paul dares to say, with the authority of one voicing the Word of God, that God was “pleased” to allow all that he was, his “fullness,” to dwell in the man Jesus Christ. Praise God for such revelation! No wonder Paul would say in another letter, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself! (2 Corinthians 5:19).
This means that when we study the life of Jesus, we “see” God the Father. Through the life and teaching of Jesus we see what God cares about and we see his purposes for his people. Most of what we know for sure about God, we learn from Jesus! Remember what Jesus himself said to Philip: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Paul says this extraordinary thing: in Christ “all things hold together.” Without Christ life falls apart. Everything falls to pieces. When we are in Christ, he gives us stability by holding us together. So Christ is the spiritual “glue” of the universe! When he is Lord he holds our world in place; he holds our marriage together. He holds our scattered thoughts together, giving us precious unity of mind and heart. Christ then is much like the power of gravity in the earth. Without him we and everything around us would be flying off in all directions, drifting into space without hope or direction. With Christ we are held together by “strong cords of love.”
Do not be bothered by the seemingly impossible statement that Christ was involved in creation and that “all things have been created through him and for him.” Paul is simply affirming that from the very beginning God was “like Christ” in his nature. The God we see in the incarnation is the same God who created all things in the beginning. God does not change.
The Son was with the Father in the beginning so he shared in creation. The marvelous thought here is that we were not only created through Christ but we were created “for” Christ! We were created for God’s pleasure, that we might become intimate with him. We were created for Christ so that we might not only become like him but belong to him! The destiny of every person is to belong to Jesus, become like Jesus, and live like Jesus so that people “living in darkness” might see his great light in us. What great meaning and dignity this gives to our lives!
So why has this not happened? Sin is the reason. We have been disobedient. We have wanted to be “first” rather than give Christ “first place in everything.” Our sin has created a great gulf between us and God, a gulf we cannot cross without his help.
But God offers us help! He sent his Son to die for our sins so that we might be reconciled to God. He offers us reconciliation. To accept his forgiveness we must repent of our sins and believe “there is power in the blood” of Christ, sufficient power to redeem us and make us reconciled, acceptable to God. When we are willing to trust God’s plan and put Christ first in all things, he gives us the grace to become established, steadfast in the faith.
By trusting Christ, and Christ alone, for salvation, we discover the good news of God’s love. We begin to see that Christ died for all people and that no one comes to the Father but through the Son. We realize that Christianity is so much more than one of the religions of the world that salvation is not about religion at all. Salvation is about knowing Christ and trusting him to be Lord of your life. It is the great joy of having a personal relationship with the gentle Shepherd who is “the image of the invisible God”!
The good news is that we do not have to trust in religion to save us from our evil ways. We can be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ and instead of the pain of estrangement, we can have the peace of his undeserved grace. So great is God’s great offer of reconciliation it should be the passion of our lives to make it known to all people everywhere! + + + +
(Contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org)