For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him...(Colossians 1:19-22)
The English word, “reconciled”, is from the Latin “reconcilio”, from the Greek “calo”, meaning to call. The literal sense is to call back into union.
A lesson in Greek:
- Apokatallasso: fully reunited (reconciled)
- Katallasso: mutually changed (“changed down”)
- Allasso: made different
- Allos: else (AS “elles”, meaning “other”)
Putting it all together, reconciled means:
Mutually changed and fully reunited.
Reconciliation is closely related to making peace. God made peace through a change on His part: the blood of his cross. Reconciliation changed God into a man, able to communicate with, and die for, all mankind. Paul describes all mankind as naturally alienated from, and hostile to, God. But reconciliation changed us to a people regarded by God as holy, blameless and above reproach.
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands---remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:11-16)
Christ accomplished reconciliation by abolishing the law of commandments. He made peace by creating in himself one new man in the place of two.
Reconciliation killed hostility.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:16-20)
Reconciliation with Christ allows us to be ministers of reconciliation to others. We are entrusted with the message of reconciliation. We are ambassadors for Christ.
"Ministers" is from the Greek word diakonia, meaning “one who attends as a servant", from a word meaning a waiter. The word implies one who runs on errands, a “go-fer”.
English uses it in the words "deacon" and "deaconness". "Entrusted" is from the Greek word tithemi, meaning placed in a passive or horizontal posture. A more literal translation would be set or placed.
"Ambassadors" is from the Greek word presbeuo, meaning senior, or older one. We can see this word in the English word, "presbyterian", a form of church government. As deacons and elders, believers are entrusted by God with the ministry of reconciliation. This “entrustment” is an act of God, where God sets this ministry within each believer.
Wherever we are, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves as believers in Christ, we must realize that God has placed us there to reconcile others to Himself. Paul describes the message of reconciliation as, “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Every believer in Christ is “set” by God with “diakonia” and as a “presbeuo”, literally meaning a senior server. These two Greek words are directly connected to the English words deacon and elder, the two offices of leadership and service described by the Bible:
Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 3:8-13
Deacons: diakonos, an attendant, a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess).
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17)
Elders: presbuteros, older, a senior; specially an Israelite Sanhedrist (also figurative member of the celestial council) or Christian "presbyter".
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled...Colossians 1:21
Paul described us as “alienated and hostile in mind”. Alienated in the Greek means estranged, a non-participant. It is from two words meaning off-another, not one's own, different (else). Hostile in the Greek means hateful, exciting great dislike or disgust. Although this verse focuses on the hostility of man against God, there are many references to God's hate towards wicked man. One example of God's hate:
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. (Psalms 5)
Notice the irony of hostility of the mind, expressed physically in evil deeds:
- Evil deeds begin in the mind
- Evil deeds express an inward, hidden hostility toward God
- God sees, and hates, the secret hostility of wicked people
- Without reconciliation, we are separated from God, doomed to condemnation
Recognizing His greatness pulls the longing of my heart towards God, yearning for Him to unite, to make my heart one with His heart, to become reconciled with Him. With a whole heart, a reconciled heart, I will brightly express His greatness forever! For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. (Psalms 86:10-12)