Grace Family Bible Church
What Christ Has Done For Us
By: Scott Morton
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
The Apostle Paul is continuing here to speak about things related to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is important for us to understand some things about Him, as the world system works to tear down who He is. The feeling is if they can make Him to be less than whom He is, then it will impact the effectiveness of the message going out. Those who are saved will be less likely to live the Christian life which is intended and will start to shy away from sharing the good news of the gospel message for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
This passage starts with the issue of the fullness dwelling in Him. This is something which continues later on in this chapter:
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
This means the entire Godhead dwells in Him. It is tough to imagine what this truly means and we will get into more detail of this when we get to that section of the book. The fullness refers to the Father, the Word, and the Spirit (1 John 5:7). All of them are part of the Godhead and all three are identified as God. Paul identifies the closeness of the three parts of the Godhead in 2 Corinthians 13:14. He also shows us how the three work together:
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.  Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Paul is speaking here about how the entire Godhead is part of this process. He makes it clear that there is a unity in the functioning and everything is happening according to the eternal promise which had been laid out before the foundation of the world. This is something which is important for us to realize.
The problem many have is they place limitations on who God is and ultimately impact who the Godhead actually is. There are limitations which are placed on the Lord Jesus Christ by many individuals who would attempt to identify themselves as being Christian. They look at Him as a created being, as being less than God and trying to attain to being God, or various other viewpoints which do not line up with what the Bible says. There are major consequences to these viewpoints, as it would really lead to the issue of how He could have been the proper sacrifice to take care of the issue of sin for us.
Individuals will also have a similar viewpoint on the Holy Ghost as well. They will state the Holy Ghost is not God, is simply a 'force' which works through the universe. This is not what the Bible actually states.
The reality of what we see is the Lord Jesus Christ was full man and fill God during His earthly ministry. This is why we see Paul speaking about the fulness dwelling in Him. This is something we could clearly see and understand if we simply let the words actually say what they say.
Paul then starts to speak about the peace which we have. This is something which we did not deserve. He has told us what the position of the Gentiles was in time past:
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
The Gentiles were completely separated from God. There was no hope, as the only people who were being dealt with was Israel. In order to be able to receive the blessings which God was giving at the time the Gentiles had to join themselves to Israel and follow all of the commands which were given to them.
Those who were outside what God was doing were going to face the wrath of God. This is what had been promised to those who were breaking the commands which were given or were outside of the program. This is what mankind deserved, which is the opposite of the peace which Paul states is being given to us.
The only way there could be peace for us is for there to be a different program in place. This is where we speak of the dispensational differences. As man changed, God dealt with man in different manners. Once Israel fully rejected the program which had been given to them, the only thing which could have been done was an extension of grace towards man. This is why the Apostle Paul continues in this same epistle to describe what has happened during this dispensation:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
When the middle wall of partition (the law) was broken down, the only thing which could be there would be peace. This is why Paul speaks about the members of the Body of Christ not being appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10), as this is not part of what God is doing today. He has extended a period of peace in order to offer salvation to all of mankind, which is why the Gentiles are being described as being nigh here. In time past, we were far away and could only get salvation by joining ourselves to Israel. Now, all of mankind has been brought close, giving everyone access to the salvation needed (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Paul speaks about how there is a reconciliation that has occurred. This is a word which causes confusion for many individuals. We will need to define what this means in order to be able to figure out what Paul is telling us has happened. The following comes from Easton's Bible Dictionary:
A change from enmity to friendship. It is mutual, i.e., it is a change wrought in both parties who have been at enmity.
(1.) In Col_1:21, Col_1:22, the word there used refers to a change wrought in the personal character of the sinner who ceases to be an enemy to God by wicked works, and yields up to him his full confidence and love. In 2 Co_5:20 the apostle beseeches the Corinthians to be 'reconciled to God', i.e., to lay aside their enmity.
(2.) Rom_5:10 refers not to any change in our disposition toward God, but to God himself, as the party reconciled. Romans (Rom_5:11) teaches the same truth. From God we have received 'the reconciliation' (R.V.), i.e., he has conferred on us the token of his friendship. So also 2 Co_5:18, 2 Co_5:19 speaks of a reconciliation originating with God, and consisting in the removal of his merited wrath. In Eph_2:16 it is clear that the apostle does not refer to the winning back of the sinner in love and loyalty to God, but to the restoration of God's forfeited favour. This is effected by his justice being satisfied, so that he can, in consistency with his own nature, be favourable toward sinners. Justice demands the punishment of sinners. The death of Christ satisfies justice, and so reconciles God to us. This reconciliation makes God our friend, and enables him to pardon and save us. (See ATONEMENT.)
We automatically see the problem with this definition. In this, God has changed, which the Bible clearly states does not happen. God's changing of how He deals with man is based on the changes man makes. Everything always stays consistent to the plan which had been developed before the foundation of the world. Since this one does not work, we will need to find a different definition. The following comes from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
RECONCI'LE, v.t. [L. reconcilio; re and concilio; con and calo, to call, Gr. The literal sense is to call back into union.]
1. To conciliate anew; to call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated; to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement; as, to reconcile men or parties that have been at variance.
Go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother - Mat 5.
We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2 Cor 5. Eph 2. Col 1.
2. To bring to acquiescence, content or quiet submission; with to; as, to reconcile one's self to afflictions. It is our duty to be reconciled to the dispensations of Providence.
3. To make consistent or congruous; to bring to agreement or suitableness; followed by with or to.
The great men among the ancients understood how to reconcile manual labor with affairs of state.
Some figures monstrous and misshap'd appear, considered singly, or beheld too near; which but proportion'd to their light and place, due distance reconciles to form and grace.
4. To adjust; to settle; as, to reconcile differences or quarrels.
This is closer to the reality of what is being spoken of. God has done something so there can be fellowship again between Him and mankind. The Bible actually talks about how there are four different things which are identified as having had a reconciliation occur:
1. The world: Romans 11:15, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
2. The individual: Colossians 1:21, 2 Corinthians 5:20
3. The Body of Christ: Ephesians 2:16
4. The governmental system: Colossians 1:20
These are the things which God has restored unto Himself. In this passage in the book of Colossians, He is speaking specifically about these governmental positions which are being restored to Him. This is dealing with the culmination of the plan of God, which the Apostle Paul reveals to us the timing of:
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
This is a future event. When the dispensation of the fulness of times arrives, which will be after the new heaven and new earth are established, then these positions are going to be gathered unto Him. The Lord Jesus Christ will have the position over the entire governmental system which is set up at that time. As the members of the Body of Christ, we will be given positions of rank and authority in the heavenly places, as we have been promised these. It is a guarantee we will rule and reign with Him in the heavenly places for all eternity.
We see this promise of the Lord Jesus Christ having this position in other passages written by the Apostle Paul:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This is the position He has over the entire universe. Everyone is going to bow at that time. This demonstration of who He is shows the relationship man is going to have with the Godhead at this time. Everyone is going to acknowledge who He is and will recognize Him.
When we speak of the issue of reconciliation, there are some things we have to realize related to how this was accomplished. The Lord Jesus Christ took care of the sin issue and has provided for this reconciliation to occur. Paul speaks about some of this when he writes to the local assembly in Corinth:
1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The work done on the cross is what allows for reconciliation to be possible. The result of this promise is we are going to receive a glorified body which is going to allow us to be able to exist in the heavenly places for all of eternity. It will not break down like our current body, which is good considering how long we are going to be with Him in the heavenly places. This work done on the cross is why the Apostle Paul can speak about how he glories in nothing but the cross (Galatians 6:14). It was only the shed blood at the cross which could have taken away the issue of sin and allowed us to be able to be identified as being forgiven (Colossians 1:14). Paul brings up the issue of this changed body several tomes:
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
This reconciliation and new body associated with it means we are going to receive a glorified body which is like His. This is something we never deserved, yet we are given a promise we are going to have this. How truly wonderful it is to know this is something which has been promised to us.
The Apostle Paul brings up the issue of what we were and the change that has been given to us because we have put our trust in the gospel message:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The starting point is man comes up short compared to the glory of God. There is nothing which we have done, or could do, which would change this. It is only through what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross which gives us this relationship with God and created the change. This is what Paul continues to address:
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
There are some who teach this is the actual gospel message. This is not what saves a person today. The Apostle Paul is describing here what happened to the believer as a result of putting their trust in the gospel. We have been justified and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ was a satisfactory payment to take care of the issue of sin. This is what allows for the opportunity for there to be fellowship with God.
Paul continues to address these things in the book of Romans, speaking about the cross:
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The Apostle Paul speaks about the love of God has been demonstrated towards us. This love was shown towards those who were labeled as being ungodly, as they had sin associated with themselves. This is why He had to die on the cross, as He had to be the sacrifice to take care of the issue of sin. This is the demonstration of love which was shown towards mankind.
As a result of this demonstration, we are to be using this as our motivation to do the things which the doctrine lays out. This is why the glory can be in nothing but the cross (Galatians 6:14), as this is what the basis of who we are comes from and what our motivation should be based on.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
This passage shows that our identity is supposed to reflect how we are living our life. As members of the Body of Christ, we are to have the Lord Jesus Christ living through us (Galatians 2:20). This means when we are doing the right things (according to the doctrine laid out in Romans through Philemon), it is Christ living through us and He is getting the glory. When we do the things contrary to the doctrine, it is us trying to do these things on our own without Christ.
The individuals Paul is speaking about here have done the exact opposite. They have denied who God is and have not allowed the doctrine to have an impact on them, refusing to even accept the salvation which has been offered. This is how God views them. He even rejects the good works they are doing, as these are not associated with an identity in Christ.
The Apostle Paul concludes this passage by speaking about how we are being presented in the heavenly places. This is related to the Day of Christ, when the saints are caught up and we are given our positions in the heavenly places, ruling with the Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Later on in this epistle the Apostle Paul speaks about who we are and identifies we are seen as being complete. This is not because of who we are, but is because of who He is that we can be seen in this manner. We can see what this means from the following definition (Webster's 1828 Dictionary):
1. Having no deficiency; perfect.
And ye are complete in him who is the head of all principality and power. Col 2.
2. Finished; ended; concluded; as, the edifice is complete.
This course of vanity almost complete.
In strict propriety, this word admits of no comparison; for that which is complete, cannot be more or less so. But as the word, like many others, is used with some indefiniteness of signification, it is customary to qualify it with more, most, less and least. More complete, most complete, less complete, are common expressions.
3. In botany, a complete flower is one furnished with a calyx and corolla. Vaillant. Or having all the parts of a flower.
It is clear that the issue of being complete means perfect. Our perfection has nothing to do with us. It is all based on who He is and what He did on the cross to take care of the issue of sin. This is how we can be seen to be perfect in the eyes of God. Everything associated with our old man would be considered worthless to God. This is why we have to be given this new identity.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
As members of the Body of Christ we are seen to be a peculiar people. This is because we are something which was never done before. God had dealt with Israel as a nation and had all of the Gentiles go through Israel in order to earn salvation. He was dealing with people in this manner until we get to the Apostle Paul. This is where God starts dealing with man through grace and we are seen as being a new creature once we have put our trust in the gospel message for today.
These statements of being perfect and peculiar are all based on the position we have in Christ. As a result of this position there are some things which we need to be trying to do:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The goal for us is to be conformed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. This means we are to be doing the things according to the doctrine given to us by the Apostle Paul and this will lead to us being closer and closer to this image. The starting point for this is found here:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
As the members of the Body of Christ, we are to be having a transformation of the mind as it is being renewed. This renewing occurs as we take in the doctrine through our study of the Word of God rightly divided. The information which is contained in the Word is communicated to us by the Spirit, which speaks to the spirit of the man to teach the information contained in the Word.
We have to watch to make sure we are not being fully controlled by the things of this world. Everything that is set up by this world is designed to pull and keep us away from the things of the Word of God. It is the responsibility of the believer to make sure we are presenting ourselves in the manner which God does intend for us to be.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Even though there is a position which we have, Paul refers to this in the passage as being apprehended, we are to be working on attaining this position from the practical sense. This is the work which we are to be doing. Paul does bring works into the equation for us when he speaks about the things which we should be doing:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
With this passage, so many people try to focus on the fact that our salvation is without works. This is correct and is a very important fact. However, God does intend for us to be doing works in order to have the practical sanctification which is intended. This is why it is said we should walk in them. This occurs when we allow the Lord Jesus Christ to live through us (Galatians 2:20). It is why we are told to walk circumspectly (Ephesians 5:14-15) in order to be pleasing to God.
The Apostle Paul lays out the pattern for us. He tells us to follow him in a certain manner, which is as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). He also gives us an example that would be important for us to follow with this as well. The saints at Thessalonica were doing something which helped them attain this:
1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.