Week 4: Christ-Centered Peace
Colossians 1:20–23 (ESV)
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 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, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
There is a saying that has lodged itself in our culture which says,“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Now, this is certainly not the type of quote that you’ve come to expect in a pastor’s note. As a matter of fact, it becomes rather startling to pause and think upon the true implications of its application. One such implication is that a person may not know that they are an enemy of another. Isn’t that an awful thought? How unsettling would it be to find that someone you perceived to be in good standing with was actually an enemy?
Sadly, the text above reminds us that we were once enemies of God. Now, it is important to be abundantly clear. God is not at all a “keep your friends close and enemies closer” kind of God. But indeed WE are. The passage says that we were once alienated, hostile in mind, and engaged in doing evil deeds. The word hostile means enemy. For some people, they live in open and aggressive opposition to God. Others, however, shroud their enmity with God and act like God is their friend. They come to church, sing songs, put on a front, and abuse their pseudo-relationship with God to their own advantage and self-protection. For as much as we can tell, this is a good description of the false teachers that Paul is addressing in his letter to the church of Colossae. They were pretending to be friends of God but were also spreading lies and false teachings that were robbing people of peace.
In response, Paul reminds them of how they were once enemies but now they are TRUE friends of God. This week, we will learn how we went from having conflict to having Christ-centered peace with with God. If we were to re-write the above quote to fit this week’s passage, perhaps we’d say, “Jesus died for His enemies so that they could be His close friends forever.” When we understand this, we can begin to understand and experience true peace. Please take some time to re-read the passage and consider the implication of being reconciled and at peace with God.
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I am praying for you!