Friday, March 4, 2022

The Drama of Redemption (Colossians 1:15-23)

"And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled [you] in the body of His flesh through death" (Col. 1:21–22a).

Many people throughout church history have believed that the atonement is unnecessary. They claim that man is righteous enough in himself to obtain eternal life on his own. Against this heretical view stands those who maintain that the atonement is absolutely necessary for salvation.

To understand why the atonement is absolutely necessary, we must analyze sin and how it relates to our relationship with God and His law. Three things occurred when man sinned: a debt was incurred, enmity was established, and a crime was committed.

God is sovereign over all that He created, including of course every person. In the garden, He established certain obligations of obedience to which man was to conform. Mankind was responsible for carrying out those obligations, but he failed. Whenever we fail in an obligation, we become indebted to another person. In this situation, we are indebted to God Himself for not meeting His standard of obedience. Unlike many debts, this is one we simply can never repay because the debt is infinite. It would require perfect obedience, but because we are already sinful we can never be perfect. However, Christ as our perfect surety backs up our debt, taking the payment upon Himself.

Sin also creates enmity between us and God. By our very nature we are enemies against God. When two parties are at war, as we are with God because we are “by nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:3), a mediator is needed for reconciliation to occur. Christ as the Prince of Peace stands in the middle between us and God, bringing reconciliation and peace.

Finally, sin is a crime. God is not only creator, but He is judge. He has laid down laws to be obeyed, and we have failed to conform to those laws. When a law has been broken, a crime has been committed. Thus, a penalty must be paid. God cannot turn His back on this crime because He is just and His law is unchangeable. The payment of disobedience to God is death. Jesus Christ paid this penalty, putting Himself under the law to meet its perfect demands and then dying on the Cross. Such is the infinite grace of God who sent His only Son to reconcile His people to Himself.

Consider things that people do to try to cover or pay their debt to God. How have you also attempted to pay the debt and reconcile yourself? Ask God this weekend to show you again the depth of your sin. As you contemplate your sin and its depth, thank God again for His abundant grace.