How Can the Cross Reconcile Us?
Meditations on the Cross

Gary Combs ·
March 18, 2024 · cross, jesus · Colossians 1:19-22 · Notes


Have you ever experienced a break in a relationship? A broken relationship is often one of the most painful things we ever experience. And reconciliation? Well, that might be one of the most difficult things to accomplish.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he explained that it was trusting in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross that reconciled them to God. We can trust in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross to reconcile us to God.


Man, what a great time of worship to prepare our hearts to hear God's word today. My wife, Robin, was on the keyboard today, so you got a "twofer" today. You didn't just get a preacher; you got a piano player, too.

We're thankful to the worship team for the singing and the worship that they brought to us, to prepare us.  We're thankful to you, too, as a church that you've been faithful these eight years. Can you believe it? It'll be nine years in September since we launched our Rocky Mount campus. The church is 32 years old.

My wife and I started with seven people in my living room in 1992 and the church has grown. We changed the name to Eastgate some years ago because we really couldn't be Wilson Community Church in Rocky Mount, could we? That's how we started Wilson Community Church, but we changed it to Eastgate because we have a desire to plant churches, more campuses in eastern North Carolina. The soil, east of I 95, is some of the most difficult to plant churches in, but we found one of the best ways to plant new churches is to team up together and collaborate.

That's our vision together.  We're thankful for you for your faithfulness in Rocky Mount. We're continuing our series today;  this is the series that we've entitled, "Meditations On The Cross."  We're in part two today. Today, we want to talk about how the cross can reconcile us.

How is the cross God's reconciliation unto us? That's our question that we want to deal with today. Now, before I begin, I want to make sure that there are no hard feelings in the house this morning. Okay. I was looking around to see.

I don't see any red. Is anybody wearing red today? So is there no NC state people here? Okay, but you didn't wear red today.

You're just not going to brag, you're not going to rub it in. Okay, you're keeping it on the "DL (down low)." I appreciate that. Maybe the rest of you are in mourning.

I do see some blue here and I hope you're okay. If there's any need for reconciliation afterwards, I'll be in the back corner and we'd be glad to try to do that. The truth is, reconciliation is hard.  If you've been alive for any length of time, you've had a broken relationship.  You've had a friendship that fell apart. Maybe, you've had a marriage that didn't work out. Maybe, you're in a situation right now where even one of your children might be alienated from you. Maybe, it is an uncle, aunt or family member.

It's a painful thing, isn't it, not to be reconciled to someone that you were close to? That's really what we're talking about today, that Jesus Christ, through His sacrifice on the cross, has become God's reconciliation to us. It was a needed reconciliation. Now, I'm sure you've heard of the famous 19th century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She wrote many great poems.

What you might not know about her is she had a broken relationship with her dad. It was reported that he was somewhat tyrannical and ruled over her. When she met Robert Browning, her father refused to give his blessing to the marriage. She loved Robert, so they went away and got married on their own in 1846 and moved away to Italy.  It was said that she wrote many, many letters.

In fact, she wrote at least once a week to her father and mother, asking for forgiveness. Over a ten year period, she wrote letter after letter after letter. After ten years, her father had passed away. Her mother sent her a box. She was excited when she got the box because she thought, this is the first time I've heard from my parents in ten years.

She opens up the box, and there inside the box was every letter she had ever written, unopened. Every letter. If only they would have opened maybe one or two letters, maybe they would have been reconciled. But they didn't open not one letter. You know, God has written us a letter.

Right here it is. There's 66 little letters in here, in this box we call the Bible. There are  39 in the old and 27 in the new. Have you ever opened the box?

Here's His love letter of reconciliation in the centerpiece of the Bibleon every page. If you'll look closely, if you'll read it with eyes of faith, you'll find Jesus there. At the centerpiece of the story is the cross. He's written us this letter in the apostle Paul's letter to the church at Colossae. That's where we'll be today.

In Colossians chapter one, we see that Paul talks about the importance of the cross. He explains to the church at Colossae that it was their trusting in the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross that reconciled them to God. I believe today, we can understand that it's when we trust in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross that this,  too,  is our reconciliation. In fact, it's our only reconciliation. And as we look, we'll see three reasons that trusting in Christ's sacrificial death is our reconciliation to God.

Let's look at the text. Colossians 1:19-22 (ESV) 19 "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 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. This is God's word."  This is God's Word.  Amen.

Amen. We're looking for three reasons that Christ's sacrificial death on the cross reconciles us. Here's the first reason.

1.  Because He took our separation and offers His Sonship.

It's because He took our separation and offers His Sonship. He took our separation from the Father, and He offers His Sonship, His relationship to the Father.

Let's look at just the first two verses, verses 19 and 20. You'll notice that there are a lot of "he," "him," "his" and "himself" here. One of the things, when you're studying the scripture, is to run down those pronouns and to decide who is who. As we begin here, for in "him" in verse 19, we're speaking of Jesus. The "him," the pronoun here,  refers to Jesus.

For in Jesus all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Jesus to reconcile to God the Father. The "himself," I'm convinced, refers to God the Father. Verse 19, "...all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of Jesus' cross. This is the cross of Christ. You see how important it is to go through and identify those pronouns, so you know who you're talking about. We're talking about Jesus, and we're talking about how His cross, how specifically His blood, which was shed on the cross, is what reconciles us to the Father, putting our faith in that reality.

Let's look at His credentials. It says, "for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell." How much of God is Jesus? It says, "all the fullness." All the fullness.

This is not talking about the idea of filling up a cup. It has more the idea of totality. Whatever God is, Christ is. That's really what "all the fullness" means. Whatever God is, Jesus is.

Now, this is a paradox. It's difficult to understand. He's 100% human, yet 100% God. This is what the scripture teaches us. Whatever God is, that's what Christ is.

He's the only one qualified who has the credentials to make us right with the Father, because He is God's reconciliation. Why? Because He's the only one right with the Father. We need a mediator.

We need a mediator. We need a "go between" that could reach out a hand between heaven and earth and take hold of our hand and make us right with the Father. He's God, He is very God. Dr. Barnes said, “That in him there should be such dignity, authority, power, and moral excellence as to be fitted to the work of creating the world, redeeming his people, and supplying everything needful for their salvation.”

He's God. Whatever God is, Jesus is. He's God of very God. This is His qualification.

This is why he can do something about our separation. Now, you might be saying, 'Well, when was I separated from God?' You were born that way. You were born that way. From the time of Adam and Eve's sin, every little baby boy and every little baby girl has been born separated from God.

Only Jesus can make us right with the Father. This is the reality. It's that longing that we have inside of us. It's what the philosopher and great French mathematician, Pascal, talked about. He talked about this "hole" that's inside of our soul. He says, "There's a God shaped vacuum in the soul of every man that can only be filled by the person of Jesus Christ."

We're all born with this "hole" in our soul. We try to put "stuff" in that hole.  We try to put other relationships in that hole. Maybe, you're a young woman and you think a man will fill that spiritual void, or you're a young man and you think a woman will fill that spiritual void. You think materialism or owning more will fill that spiritual void.

We try all kinds of things to fill that spiritual void, but the hunger remains. It's because we were made by God and for God; we're built for Him. We have a longing. In Ecclesiastes 3:15, Solomon was meditating on this. He was talking about how God has put eternity in our hearts and that there's a desire for something that lasts.

I don't know if you've ever tried to go back home again. If you're getting older and you try to go back home again. If I go back to my mother's house, someone else lives in it. Now the house looks the same, pretty much, on the outside. They took the fence down, which bothers me.

I drive by and I say, "Where'd the fence go?" They cut down the big maple tree that I was accustomed to climbing. "Where'd the big tree go?" I can't just pull up in the driveway, knock on the door and see my mother come running to hug me, because my mother's in heaven now. You know that you can't go home again.

There is this longing that points to our true home. We're just pilgrims passing through. He's the God of very God. Notice, that God is pleased to dwell in Him. This speaks of God's pleasure.

It reminds me of how in Matthew, chapter three, when Jesus was being baptized by John the Baptist, that the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove and a voice was heard from heaven where the Father said, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased."

Now, He's not pleased with us apart from Jesus. You can't please the Father. You can't be good enough. You can't do enough. Isaiah said, "our righteousness is as filthy rags."

There's no "scale" in heaven, that our good works are on one side and our bad works are on the other. Put that thought away. That's not the way God will judge us. He will ask you, 'What did you do with Jesus?'

God was pleased with Jesus. God offered Him. Jesus has His pleasure. If you want God to be pleased with you, you must trust in Christ Jesus. He says, in verse 19, "God was pleased to dwell and verse 20, "and through him."

Through who? Through Jesus, to reconcile. The word,  "reconcile,"  has the idea of to restore a broken relationship, to make that which was apart one again. Maybe you've had someone that you tried to reconcile with;  you forgave them and they forgave you, but you both agreed, 'Let's not hang out together anymore. We're not mad at each other anymore, but I really don't want to hang out with you.'

This is  not really reconciliation. It might be real forgiveness and it might be for the best in this world, because human reconciliation always falls short of that which God wants. What God wants is,  He wants to not only say that you were in rebellion against Him and you'd become enemies, but because of Jesus, if you'll believe in Him, He will adopt you into His family.

This is the kind of reconciliation the world does not understand. Not only do I forgive you, but because of Jesus and His payment on the cross, I want to adopt you, to call you My children. What we have here is this imagery;  Paul clearly has  a Jewish audience and they  would have picked it up quickly. This language is very sacrificial in nature. 20 "and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

We talked about this last week, that some people just don't like that part of the story. Some people don't like the bloody part of the story. We talked about a young woman last week who left Christianity, she said, because it was just too bloody for her. She needed something more uplifting and more encouraging, because there's something about the blood of the cross which shows us the depth of our sin. We want a cleaner religion, one that is not so messy. But the truth is, if you think about who we are in Christ,  as He adopts us into His family, we're all a mess. In fact, I heard in the announcements that we have a membership class coming up next month.

If you're thinking about joining a perfect church, this is not it. And besides, if you try to join a perfect church, you know the story, right? Don't join it, you'll just mess it up because none of us are perfect. We need the blood of Jesus.

This bloody talk reminds us of the lamb. Now, when was Jesus crucified? We call it Passion Week, which comes from the idea of Pascal or from Passover. It points to the fact that he's the lamb of God, doesn't it?

He says, "...whether on earth or in heaven..." Some have said, what does this mean? That he's reconciled both everything on earth and in heaven. If you read commentator's notes  on this, they'll have different views. What needed to be reconciled in heaven?

Like what's in heaven that needs to be reconciled? Someone said, well, one third of the angels fell, and so they've been kicked out, but two thirds are still up there. So maybe His grace and His sacrifice confirmed by grace that they now will never fall. The other two thirds, they haven't fallen, but it confirms that they'll never fall. That's what several commentators have said.

Someone else said, 'Well, perhaps it points to all the saints of old, prior to Jesus. They've already moved into what is called in Luke,  "Abraham's bosom"  or heaven. They've already passed away.' Maybe he's paying for them, kind of like whenever it doesn't really work anymore because of technology. When we first got married and Robin, you probably remember this, we would get paid on a Friday.  Maybe,  the money hadn't hit the bank yet,  but we  could go and write a check for groceries and not worry about it until Monday, because there was a delay, right?

We could write  that check and it worked most of the time, except when it didn't work. It worked most of the time. The check would "float;" you could write a check and then you could put a deposit three days later and cover it. Well, you can't do that anymore.

If you give somebody a check today, first of all, they will ask, "What's that? I can't use that."  But, even if it is accepted, then the check goes in directly and it goes out of your bank. You can't "float a check"anymore.

The blood of all of those lambs and bulls that were sacrificed in the Old Testament had no value. It was all like checks written on a future deposit and that deposit was made by Jesus. This is why John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus coming to be baptized, said, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."  He's the lamb of God. He's the only lamb of God.

He's the only one qualified, because all the fullness of God is in Him. He's the only one qualified to adopt us to Sonship. Galatians 4:4-6 (NIV) 4 "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

Now, ladies, you might be offended that you've been adopted as sons. You might be thinking, Oh, well.  Don't some of the modern translations say "children?" They certainly do, because of their concern for you.

But, it's better to be adopted as a son, if you consider what was being implied here. You get full inheritance rights. You see, in the first century, women didn't have the same inheritance rights as sons.  Daughters didn't have the same rights as sons, but Paul is clearly saying, that  because of Jesus, it doesn't matter if you're male or female. You're all one in Christ Jesus.

You get whatever Christ has, because He's the firstborn from among the dead. He's the one who reconciles us. Through Him,  you're adopted with the rights as sons.That's why I chose carefully the translation that would get that part clear so that you would understand that.

You are daughters;  you are children of God and you get the inheritance of sons. Not only that, but Jesus is the only mediator. 1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV) "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

There's only one mediator. Why? Because all of  the fullness of God dwells in Him. Jesus is the only one qualified. He is the lamb of God.

We consider, as we have said before, that the weekend of Easter, the weekend that begins with Palm Sunday's triumphal entry, goes through that week and ends with Easter Resurrection Sunday. That is  Passover week. That's the week where they would be following what was given to them, instruction wise,  from the law concerning Passover. If you read about in Exodus, chapter twelve, there's a description of the Passover lamb. Here are some details:

First of all, the lamb must be without blemish. It must be male. You shall not break any of its bones. You must be careful with the blood; you need to take the blood and drain it. This was at that time whenever the first Passover took place in Egypt, to take it and paint it on the doorpost in the lentil of the front door to your house.

This was the instruction that God gave Moses to give to the people: He said, "I will pass over you and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt at Passover." So is the blood of Jesus, shed on the door of your heart. You see, it's the blood of the cross that reconciles. It's not any action that you take.

There's no effort, because He has taken the entire effort upon Himself. As Paul says in1 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV) "…For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." Jesus is our Passover lamb. He is the one who makes us right with God. He's the one without blemish, without sin.

He is the one who cried out from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  Many look at that from a place of doubt, a place of agnosticism. They say that  He was just caught up in this political mess and now He's feeling the rejection of failure. This is not true;  far from it. Here's what happened at that very moment in time:  the Son of God, who had never for one moment for eternity past been separated from his Father, took my separation.

He took your separation. In that very moment, when He said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" because He who knew no sin became sin, that I might become His righteousness. He took my separation. Have you ever thought about that?

He was separated from God so that I could be adopted as a son. This is the word that we see here. This is why He cries out. He cries out like the champion, the finisher. He says, "It is finished."

He's accomplished it; that's why He came. It says that after He cried out, He surrendered His spirit. He surrendered His spirit to the Lord. The Jews were concerned because it was the day of preparation.

Now,  the day of preparation is the Friday before Sabbath. This particular Saturday, this particular Sabbath, was called the "High Sabbath." Every Sabbath is high, but this one's called the "High Sabbath" because it was Passover Sabbath. It's the highest Sabbath of all Sabbaths, right. It's Friday, and Sabbath doesn't start the next morning.

Do you all know when Sabbath starts for the Jew? It starts on Friday at 6:00 p.m. That's when it starts and it ends Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Did you know that?

Sabbath runs from twilight to twilight. That's when it runs, so they have to get everything prepared. They have to prepare the Passover meal. Everything that  they're going to do must be finished on Friday. If they have family coming over, they have to get it all ready by twilight, on Friday. Friday is preparation day.

The other thing is, it's a curse to hang on a tree. These criminals can't hang on their crosses. They wanted Jesus crucified, but they wanted Him off of the cross. They go to Pilate.

He is probably thinking, You Jews are driving me crazy. I didn't want to crucify Him. Now you want Him off of  the cross. They want His legs broken so that He dies and they  can get Him off of the cross before twilight. They don't want Him hanging on the cross on high Sabbath.  So, Pilate agrees to have this done.

Pilate sends the Roman soldiers up there to break His legs. They break the other two thieve's legs. Do you understand what that accomplished? The only way that you could breathe on the cross would, because of the way your body is pressured outward like this, is to pull yourself up. Otherwise, you would drown in your own fluid. The only way Jesus could breathe would be to take hold of those spikes and to press up with His feet that were held together by one spike and pull Himself up to catch a breath.

This is why,  when the soldiers came to Him, they were astounded that He had already passed. Jesus said in the scripture in John 10:18,  "No one takes my life from me. I give my life of my own free will. I have the authority to give my life, and I have the authority to take my life back again."

He surrendered His spirit and they were astounded. They thought, It looks like he's dead. So one of them put a spear into His side to verify His death.

What came out? A mixture of water and blood came out. Medical doctors have looked into this and they say it looks like what would happen when you have a congestive heart failure,  where fluid is built up in the lungs and this is from shock,  from the beating He took and hanging on the cross. He couldn't breathe, so fluid built up and so he passed. They didn't break His legs.

How coincidental is that? The lamb without blemish, a male lamb without blemish, not one bone shall be broken. John writes in his gospel,John 19:36 (ESV) "For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”  Make no mistake, He's the only one who could have accomplished our reconciliation and to adopt us into His family as sons of God.

This is the first reason why the cross can reconcile us and only the cross of Christ. Here's the second. I got really excited on the first one, so I have to go faster. Now, does Jonathan do this here in Rocky Mount? Does he get really excited on the first point?

Then,  he has to look at the clock and say, "Oh, boy, I have a second and third point. I have three points." Here's the second reason:

2. Because He took our death and offers His eternal life.

Because He took our death and offers His eternal life. We're at verses 21 and 22 now. Let's notice the "you" pronouns. We've gone from "he" and "himself" to "you."

Who is "you?"  It's you and me, that's who.

He's talking to the Colossians, but through the Colossians, He's talking to us. Verse 21, "And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,"  He's describing that we are sinners apart from this reconciliation, that that's who we are apart from Christ. He's describing who you are and who I am, apart from Jesus. Apart from Jesus, we are all alienated.

The word, "alienated,"  means to be estranged, shut out, completely cut off, completely alienated from God.  "Hostile in mind" means to have a mind that is in opposition to what God wants.

I don't know how many have raised children. Many people will say, 'Well, that child's just innocent.'  Just let them start talking; as soon as they can talk, they say something to you like, "No," or they say, "I do it myself."

I think that was the first complete sentence that our first born said to us, "I do it myself." Which is the attitude of a mind that's in opposition to authority. We're born with it. No one has to teach that to us.

We're all born with this rebellious kind of attitude.  The Bible has this little three letter word to describe this, called "sin." When we think of sin, we think of murder, or we think of some of the other Ten Commandments. A lot of us don't agree with all the Ten Commandments, but some of the Ten Commandments. We think, Well, I've never done that one, so I'm as good as everybody else, but that's not what he's talking about.

Paul says that it's hostility of mind. This is the attitude of sin that we're born with. We're born with an attitude of rebellion, of opposition. Then he says, "doing evil deeds,"  which is the activity of sin. Which comes first?  Well, the attitude always precedes the action.

The attitude precedes. 'I want to do it my way. I want my way."  I don't know if Burger King still offers that, 'Have it your way.'

That's the attitude that we want; we want to have it our way. I want to have it my way. Certainly, we live in a generation today that has taken that to the limit. We want it our way.

"I do it myself." We want to do it our way. You  once were alienated, you were against God and cut off from God. You were hostile in attitude and hostile in your mind. You were in opposition against God.You were doing "evil deeds."

Verse 22 says, "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." Who is "he?" It's Jesus. Now, we're back to that. We've been talking about "you" and "me." "He is now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death." We're not talking about His blood now. We're talking about His body.

At the end of the service, we're going to offer you an opportunity to take the Lord's Supper. I want you to think about what we're studying together as go to partake of the Lord's Supper. The body and the blood. That's where your DNA is.

His blood was pure and His blood was right with God. When the blood is applied to my heart, I'm right with God. Now,  I'm adopted, but I owed a debt that I couldn't pay. Well I could, but that would leave me separated from God forever.

It's my death that I owe. It's your death that you owe because "the wages of sin is death." So, He took my death in His body. Do you see it in verse 22? "he (Jesus)  has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death,"

He took my death. He took our death and offers His eternal life. This is the holy exchange. He took my separation and He offers His Sonship. He took my death and He offers His eternal life.

Romans 3:23 (ESV),  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." That includes everybody in this room. Romans 6:23 (ESV), "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  What's the result of sin?

The result of sin is death. That's the debt I owe God. That's the debt I owe because of my sin, but Jesus said, 'let Me pay that debt.'  So in His body, make no mistake, He paid the debt. The Muslims get this completely wrong because they misunderstand the mercy, love and righteousness of God.

They seem to understand the holiness and the judgmental nature of God,  but they completely miss the part about His love and His mercy. When they look at the cross,  they say, 'That wasn't really Jesus, that was an imposter because God wouldn't have allowed the prophet Isa al-Masih (Jesus the Messiah,) Isa ibn maryam (Jesus, son of Mary) to die on a cross. So,  they dispute the cross. They love Jesus, by the way. If you talk to a Muslim, they believe in the virgin birth.

They believe in so many stories. They actually believe that He's coming again.  He's the only figure in the Quran that performs miracles. Muhammad doesn't perform any miracles. They have a high view of Isa al-Masih (Jesus) but they can't deal with the cross. But, it's only the cross that reconciles because His blood gives us the right of Sonship and His body dies.

His body takes my death and your death. It says in Romans 6:10 (ESV), "For the death he died he died to sin, once for all…"  He died for you and me.

Perhaps, if you've heard me talk for any length of time, or maybe you've heard Pastor Jonathan tell this story: There is a young man, whose father is a judge. The young man gets a speeding ticket and he decides to go to court to see if his father will let him off so that he doesn't have to pay it. Also, so that his insurance won't go up, right, which is actually his father's insurance anyway. He goes to court and he's sitting there.The judge asks, 'How do you plea?"

The police officer comes up and he says, "Well, I got him. He was doing 70 in a 55."  The young man says,
I can't lie, dad. I am guilty."

The judge (the father) says, "Guilty as plead. Pay the bailiff whatever you are charged."   The young man  gets up and he walks up to the bailiff. He pulls out his empty pockets and he says, "But, dad..." The judge steps out, pulls up his black robes, pulls his wallet out and pays the price. This is the picture of what the Father has done through Jesus. We couldn't pay it.

We couldn't pay it. Think about it.  Have you ever overdrawn your checking account? Have you ever done that? I have been talking about checks a lot for some reason today. Have you ever overdrawn your checking account?

If you overdraw your account, you get one of those letters in the mail that says, "NSF" non sufficient funds. On top of that, there is a $35 service charge.  You might have said, "But I only wrote a check for $5." Well, now you owe $40. That doesn't seem fair; life's not fair sometimes.

Don't  try to argue with the bank about this. They will tell you,  "No, we need $40."  Forty dollars  to get you back to what, zero? Now you have nothing; now, you have zero in your account.

This is what the death of Christ and His body accomplished; it got us back to "even."  He paid the debt. He took our death. He got us back to even.

He got us back to that place. I think about that.  I think, Well, that wouldn't be enough for the wages. He took my death. I need a deposit because, well, the reason I got in trouble is that  I didn't have any money and I had to borrow the money from you to get me back to even.

Well, could you help a brother out here? Could you give me a deposit to get started? That leads us to the third reason:

3. Because He took our sin and offers His righteousness.

It's because He took our sin and offers His righteousness. We're at the final part of verse 22.

Now, we've been unpacking these verses very carefully together. We're at the final part. What we have here in the Greek is called a purpose clause:  "in order that." Verse 22, " order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him."

"In order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him."  The "him"  here is the Father. Jesus did all of this so that He could bring all of us before the Father and say, 'Here they are. Here are the children that You bought. Here are the children that You wanted, Father, that You sent me to go get them. I've brought them. I've lost none of them.'

Jesus presents them. This present language is this holy language that's also the Old Testament language. It is kind of the way that Aaron was presented before Moses, who ordained him to be the high priest.  Moses took the blood of the lamb and he put some on Aaron's right thumb some on his right big toe and some on his right earlobe. All of this might seem strange to us, but it's all a picture of what was necessary in order to present him to God,  so that he could go into the Holy of Holies and be right with the Father. Jesus took our sin. It says that He's presenting us as holy and blameless and above reproach before him.

How many saints do we have in the house? If you believe in Jesus, how many saints are here? Some of you are still thinking about it, okay? You don't have to wait for anybody to vote on you being a saint. You don't have to wait until you're dead and somebody to say, 'Well, that was a real saint.'

The minute you receive Jesus, you're holy,  because you receive His holiness into your account. He makes a deposit into your account before God, and you're counted holy in that moment. "Blameless" means unblameable.  "Above reproach" in the Greek are greek words that begin with the alpha. The alpha negates whatever follows, like atheos, atheist, agnostic, no knowledge, no God.

If somebody tries to blame you, no, you're not blamed. There is no reproach because of Jesus.  His account, which is His righteousness, has been accounted unto you so that you are wholly blameless and above reproach before the Father. It says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." He took our sin so that we might receive His righteousness, deposited into our account.

It's not about being good. It's about putting your faith in the cross of Jesus, His bloodshed, His body broken and crucified. Not only that, three days later He rose again. He defeats sin, death and the grave on our behalf.

This past week in my community group, I asked a question of our group, "When you talk to people about Jesus, do you ever get to the story of the cross? When you're talking to a loved one or a friend about Jesus, do you ever get to the point where you talk to them about what Jesus did for them on the cross?" We were discussing this question.  One of our members said to me that she's tried to do that from time to time. She named a couple of her friends that she was praying for, one in particular.

She said, that every time she would get to the part of Jesus' crucifixion, her friend would get really uncomfortable. I have several friends who will say this to me, 'I don't like being called a sinner. I'm a good person.'

'I think Jesus is wonderful. I love the stories about Jesus, but this whole thing about the cross I just don't see. She said, 'What do you do about that when you're talking to someone and they don't feel like they are a bad person.

They feel like there's a lot of people worse than them.  I told her, 'Perhaps we should just tell him what Jesus told some people who thought they were good enough.' He said, in Matthew 5:21-22, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit murder.’ But I say whoever calls his brother ‘Raca” will be liable to the hell of fire." The word, "Raca," means empty head, stupid, ignorant or dummy, to put it into English.

Some of the young people here are going to talk to their parents later and say, 'Pastor Gary said some bad stuff.' But, if you say that to a brother, "empty head," you've committed murder in your heart. You have  just changed the rules, Jesus. I understood this whole "thou shalt not kill"  thing, but now You're saying that  if I hate my brother and call him "empty head,"  I've committed murder?

That's what Jesus said. He also said, in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Can you imagine the people in the crowd? They all just dropped their stones and walked away.

He that is without sin, throw the first stone. Let's all drop our stones. He concludes this. He's in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapter five. He concludes it with this: Matthew 5:48, "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  Mic drop. No one is perfect. Only one. Only one is without blemish.

Only one accomplished, because He is God of very God. Only one did that what was necessary so that in place of our separation, we could be adopted as His sons, as His children. In place of our death, we could receive His eternal life and live forever in place of our sin.

He deposits His righteousness to our account, so that when the Father looks at us, He calls us holy, blameless and  above reproach. It's all because of Him. I take no glory in any learning. I have no glory in whatever God has taught me through the years other than this one name.

All glory to Jesus. All glory to Jesus on the cross, Who died for me and is risen again unto life. As the prophet  Isaiah said in Isaiah 53:6 (ESV) "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Have you trusted Jesus today? Are you someone here today and you've never fully understood what it means to trust Jesus and His bloodshed on the cross, His body broken and crucified in our place? I'm going to pray for you in just a moment to receive the Lord.

Maybe you're here and you have trusted Him, but you've been beating yourself up, thinking that somehow there was something for you to complete. You've been "checking boxes." You are  a believer, but you feel shame because of...  I want you to preach the gospel to yourself afresh today.

Hear the gospel afresh. He's the one who makes us holy, blameless and above reproach. Apply Jesus to your heart afresh and know the freedom of being right with the Father. Let me pray and then you respond.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your word. Thank You for this word from the book of Colossians. I pray, first, for that person that might be in my hearing today and you've never received Jesus as your  Lord and Savior. Would you do it right now in your seat. Prayer is just talking to God.

Let me pray for you. As I pray, repeat with me, right where you are. "Dear Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. I need a Savior. I believe in You, Jesus.

I believe that You died on the cross for me and for my sin. I believe that You were raised from the grave on the third day.

I believe that You've ascended to the Father and You're at His right hand right now. Would You come and live in me by Your spirit? Forgive me of my sin and adopt me into your family. Give me eternal life. Make me right with the Father.

Oh Lord Jesus, I'm trusting You for that because You've done what's necessary. I believe in You." If you're praying that prayer of faith, believing, He will save you. He will make you right with the Father. He will reconcile you to the Father.

Others are here and you've believed, but somehow along the way, you've stumbled back into legalism or religiosity, just thinking, I still need to be good enough. I need to check the boxes. I'm still dealing with shame from the past.

Take it to the cross. Nail it to the cross. Leave it there right now. Whatever's causing you to wait, Lord, we lift it up. We lift up those burdens, and maybe there's an unreconciled relationship in your life today because we've been reconciled.

He calls us to a ministry of reconciliation right now. Lord, I'm just praying for believers that Holy Spirit, You would  give us reconciliation with that person. We're separated from forgiveness for that person, that we would forgive others as the Father has forgiven us through Christ Jesus. Lord, we pray it all now in Jesus' name and for His sake.

All of God's people said, Amen.